The president of the union that represents faculty members at Pennsylvania's state-owned universities wants to put the brakes on any planned layoffs until the incoming chancellor can study the finances at the affected campuses.
File that under "There's no harm in asking." Granting the request, though, would be harmful.
The 14 campuses in the State System of Higher Education are largely autonomous institutions, and their own leadership is in the best position to evaluate their staffing needs. Sadly, cuts in the number of faculty members are necessary on some campuses because of the triple whammy of a decline in the number of young people in Pennsylvania, damaging cuts in state funding and the nation's slow economic recovery. Only one of those factors -- population -- was something that schools could have anticipated.
Demographics, economics and changes in what students wish to study mean the campuses can't afford to operate without some cutbacks. That means termination notices for 22 faculty members at Clarion, 42 at Edinboro, 29 at Mansfield, with more possible at other campuses.
Frank Brogan takes over as chancellor on Tuesday, certainly at a difficult time for the state system. His first order of business should not be second-guessing the tough decisions of his campus presidents.