PASSHE Stakeholder Groups with an Interest in the West Chester Proposal
Last week we identified seven PASSHE stakeholder groups having an interest in whether West Chester University should be permitted to secede from PASSHE to become a State-Related University. They are:
1) The Commonwealth of Pennsylvania - In the person of both its taxpayers and its elected officials having the duty and power to vote on State Appropriation to PASSHE. Over the last sixty-five years, the State share of PASSHE’s annual revenue fell from about 90% to 25%, thereby making the Commonwealth PASSHE’s Minority Financial Stakeholder today.
2) The PASSHE students, parents and private donors, primarily alumni, are PASSHE’s Majority Financial Stakeholders, now providing about 75% of PASSHE’s annual revenue.
3) Pennsylvania’s four current State-Related Universities.
4) The PASSHE Board of Governors (20 members).
5) The PASSHE Councils of Trustees (14 x 11 = 154 members).
6) PASSHE employees in the Office of the Chancellor.
7) PASSHE employees across the 14 PASSHE Universities.
Winners Under a Successful West Chester Proposal
· The West Chester University Council of Trustees - The few members on the West Chester University Council of Trustees expecting to be elected to the Board of Trustees of a State-Related West Chester University might see themselves as winners. But most West Chester trustees, whose seats on the Council depend largely on their political support of elected officials, would see themselves as losers.
· West Chester University Employees - A small percentage of West Chester University employees—for example the president and a few other high level managers expecting to become part of the management team of a State-Related West Chester University—would see themselves as winners if the proposal succeeded. But if it failed, those same managers would have huge concerns about possible repercussions if their support for the proposal were to be seen as disloyalty to PASSHE.
Some individual West Chester faculty members might also see themselves as winners, provided that they found the cachet associated with faculty life at a private or state-related university sufficiently attractive. But for the approximately 90% of all PASSHE employees—faculty and staff—who are unionized, their unions, their union leadership and a majority of their faculty and staff membership would be totally opposed to the West Chester Proposal at all fourteen of the PASSHE Universities.
Recall that the West Chester Proposal called for West Chester University to secede from the various 14-university labor contracts to become unionized as a separate entity! This would be an obvious loser for all of the employee unions within PASSHE since it would break apart the 14-university bargaining units, thereby reducing the clout and leverage that comes with larger bargaining units. Opposition to the West Chester Proposal by PASSHE’s employee unions would be fierce and total.
· West Chester Foundation Board Members - The members of the Board of Directors of the West Chester University Foundation would mostly see themselves as winners under the West Chester Proposal because they would be among the most likely candidates for seats on the Board of Directors of a State-Related West Chester University.
· West Chester Alumni Association Board of Directors - Similarly, Alumni Association Board members at West Chester might also see themselves as winners under a successful West Chester Proposal.
Recall that we previously cited West Chester’s Majority Financial Stakeholders—students, parents and private donors, primarily alumni—as winners under a successful West Chester proposal. The Foundation Board members and Alumni Association Board members could specifically benefit.
Losers Under a Successful West Chester Proposal
· The PASSHE Board of Governors - Virtually all members of the Board of Governors would see themselves as losers if the West Chester Proposal were to succeed. Accordingly, they would be strongly motivated to work with their political allies to help defeat any such proposal.
· Thirteen of the Fourteen PASSHE University Councils of Trustees - Virtually every member of the Councils of Trustees at the thirteen PASSHE Universities, “left behind’ by a successful West Chester secession from PASSHE and progression to State-Related status, would see themselves as losers.
· Thirteen of the Fourteen Foundation Boards and Alumni Association Boards - Virtually all members of the Foundation and Alumni Association boards at the thirteen universities left behind by the West Chester Proposal would see themselves as losers and would work hard to see the proposal defeated.
· PASSHE employees in the Office of the Chancellor - Virtually every PASSHE employee in the Office of the Chancellor (OOC) would see themselves as losers if West Chester or any other individual PASSHE University were to be permitted to secede from PASSHE to become State-Related. Employees in the OOC would be concerned about a loss of power, and possibly even their jobs, if one or more PASSHE Universities were permitted to secede from PASSHE.
· PASSHE Employees at the Thirteen PASSHE Universities Left Behind - Virtually all PASSHE employees at the thirteen PASSHE Universities left behind by the West Chester Proposal would see themselves as losers if it succeeded. In addition, the unions, union leadership and the vast majority of unionized employees at all 14 PASSHE universities would see themselves as losers if the Proposal succeeded.
Predictably, the many groups of “losers” under the West Chester proposal fought hard to prevent its passage, and lobbied their legislative delegations to help defeat it. Not surprisingly, they preferred the status quo over the proposed change. The rather small number of winners under the Proposal, along with their correspondingly small number of supportive legislators, virtually assured legislative defeat of the West Chester Proposal with no chance of getting it to the Governor’s desk.
To be continued.
Next time: Lessons Learned and the Path to Victory.