Friday, December 2, 2011

Harrisburg University community disappointed by town hall meeting

Harrisburg University had their very first "Town Hall" meeting on November 30. There was about 125 in attendance, mostly students, a parent or two and a few faculty members as well. Let me say right off the bat that the SGA has been getting some flak for the format and the selection of questions. I can only offer my humble opinion that we should thank the SGA for their efforts, not chastise them. They were up against people that have authority over them and they did the best they could. I know many of you are frustrated with the way things went and I know a lot of you simply walked out. But don't feel like you lost the battle, because you didn't. You needed to give the University the opportunity to make things right and answer some question. The fact that they spent your time propagandizing instead of honestly engaging in conversation should tell you something about the strength of their position. People that are being open and honest don't need to be selective about questions nor do they need to see them ahead of time.

Here is my take on some of the topics discussed:

"You're getting a great deal on tuition! The price of tuition at Harrisburg University is far below the average cost of tuition at a four year private institution in Pennsylvania!" ....Perhaps a more reasonable way to think about this is "Even though Harrisburg University has the worst performance of any private four year institution in Pennsylvania, it would still have a pretty reasonable tuition if the administrators weren't such assholes."

I can't comment on Harrisburg University directly, but let me say that generally, academic institutions like Harrisburg University have a business plan which calculates tuition costs in advance. This is normal and responsible. In most cases, these institution know YEARS in advance what the tuition will be. There is no honest reason to delay the announcement of a tuition increase since the tuition increase is preplanned. As a general rule with new institutions, the tuition is not enough to meet operating cost, therefor the annual price increase is just a way to get the cost of tuition to what the institution thinks students will pay. The idea that the trustees are carefully scrutinizing every dollar to establish tuition increases is a fallacy.

False Figures and Numbers
I think I've been hitting this issue ad nauseum. We can dicker over the meaning of "total enrollment" but that is Darr's game, and just a distraction. When we say "administration is lying about numbers, we mean stuff like this:
"HU President Mel Schiavelli said the university's ever-expanding student body, now in excess of 800, is clamoring for more places to buy groceries and other services such as dry cleaning." - Central Penn Business Journal, Aug 2011. 

Is that "an accounting method" or is that just a plain old lie? (And "clamoring" for "dry cleaning"?! Seriously, how out of touch with reality are you Schiavelli?)

Everything  Else
Pretty much every other important issue was ignored, avoided or blamed on the faculty. Important issues like financial exigency, why Harrisburg University is firing science, why there is no equipment in the labs, why there isn't any experiential learning and misrepresentation by the admissions team were not addressed with any depth (if at all). Why is that?

Now what?
So now you are sure what you are up against. It looks like the students will not get support from the trustees, so there is no hope of correcting the situation within the organization.


You can fight back. Contact local politicians, file complaints with the Pennsylvania Department of Education, Middle States Commission of Higher Education and the Pennsylvania Attorney General.

1 comment:

  1. Mel,Eric,and Bob that was some meeting. Once again you proved what absolute corrupt greedy bastards you truly are. There's nothing like having all the answers to the test beforehand. Hmmm sounds a lot like cheating but then again it would be difficult to keep all of your lies straight without having it in front of you.