A contingent from Mansfield University was among the student-led teams from all 14 Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education universities that canvassed the State Capitol on Thursday, Feb. 22, visiting the offices of legislators to discuss the important role the universities play in each of the campus communities, as well as in their regions and across the Commonwealth.
The Mansfield University students were joined by faculty and staff, along with President Scott Barton and Council of Trustees Chairperson Bobbi J. Kilmer, a 1984 Mansfield graduate.
The group also participated in the #Prepared4PA rally in the Capitol Rotunda to officially kick off the State System’s annual advocacy effort.
“Investment in the fourteen State System universities is an investment in the success of every Pennsylvanian,” Interim Chancellor Karen M. Whitney told the crowd.
Whitney continued, “And we are working hard to make sure we deliver a real return on that investment, now and into the future. Our future – your future, the future of our students – depends on our longstanding partnership with the Commonwealth, and the continued investment in our universities.”
The event in the Rotunda followed the State System’s separate appearances before the state House and Senate appropriations committees.
The State System is seeking a 2018-19 state appropriation of $526.2 million, an increase of $73 million over the current year’s funding level. The increased funding is needed primarily to meet increases in both employee salaries and benefits that are part of various labor agreements and higher pension contributions mandated by the state.
The State System’s annual appropriation is included as part of the state budget. Gov. Wolf has recommended a $15 million increase for the System next year. The new budget needs to be approved by June 30, to take effect July 1.
To prepare for the future, the State System is undertaking a system redesign process to ensure it is more student-focused and less bureaucratic. The System Redesign is being guided by three strategic priorities centered on student success, university strengths and transformed governance.