Chancellor’s resignation another stumbling block for negotiations

Published by adviser, Author: The Rocket Staff, Date: February 3, 2013

This past December we learned that PASSHE Chancellor Dr. John C. Cavanaugh resigned from his position to take another job in Washington D.C.
Cavanaugh will be leaving PASSHE at the end of February. That means the ongoing PASSHE/APSCUF negotiations have a month before it hits yet another stumbling block, and as faculty are in the midst of a second year of not having a contract, it’s the last thing the negotiations need.
Cavanaugh leaving may not be an uncommon move — people in high positions take new jobs often. It also might be a great opportunity for him professionally.
But the timing of the move certainly comes at a very difficult time for the state system.
PASSHE and APSCUF need to be working towards creating more unity, and this move puts them a step in the wrong direction.
Vice Chancellor Dr. Peter H. Garland will serve as the acting Chancellor when Cavanaugh departs.
While we have no reason to believe Garland will not fill in fine in the position, it is still a change at arguably the most critical time in the APSCUF and PASSHE debates.
And these debates are becoming more and more tense every week.
The looming possibility of a strike is in the back of students’ minds, particularly seniors looking to graduate at the end of the semester.
With that on their minds, the last thing students want to see at the moment is that the leader of the state system has decided to leave the negotiating table at this point.
It’s worrisome.
It is hard to have faith an agreement is on the horizon when this is happening, even if the acting Chancellor is able to step right in so that the negotiations don’t miss a beat.
A faculty strike is obviously the worse thing that can happen for the students, and the fact that President Norton has been visiting dorms to inform students about a possible strike doesn’t appear to be a good sign.
PASSHE and APSCUF need to prevent a strike. While, as students, we understand what is at stake for both sides in the negotiations, we just cannot get beyond how detrimental a strike would be to us, the students.
For this reason, we feel it is vital that both sides use the Chancellor’s resignation as a wake-up call to get an agreement made as soon as possible. Further delaying it will only make it worse and will only increase the likelihood of a strike.
This issue should be resolved by the time Cavanaugh leaves at the end of February. It is too costly to continue on the path towards any type of strike, and the situation in PASSHE does not seem to be helping things out.
Dr. Cavanaugh has earned a nice new job, let’s hope a strike doesn’t prevent SRU seniors looking to graduate this May from doing the same.


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