Letter: Don't play politics with university students

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Penn State will lay off 1,100 employees if the state does not release its funding soon, university president Eric Barron said Friday.

ISSUE | PA. BUDGET STALEMATE

Don't play politics with university students

We, the student-body presidents of Pennsylvania's four state-related universities, have joined to voice the growing frustration and worries of 110,000 students.

Because of gridlock in Harrisburg, Penn State, Temple, Pitt, and Lincoln University face the prospect of receiving zero dollars in state allocations this year - a $600 million shortfall ("Threat of layoffs at Penn State," Saturday).

If action is not taken, tuition increases, staff layoffs, and program cuts will be needed.

For years, our student bodies have made tremendous progress with our administrators for increased investment in underserved areas, including mental-health services, entrepreneurship, and research opportunities. With the lack of state funds, we will take a step backward.

Our universities' economic impact exceeds $25 billion. Our students are a driving force for innovation, business, and research in the commonwealth.

Our elected officials apparently think that blaming the other party is an acceptable alternative to compromising and passing a budget. But they are wrong. No single party is to blame. Higher education should transcend party lines.

|Emily McDonald, Penn State; Nasreen Harun, University of Pittsburgh; Ryan Rinaldi, Temple University; and Terrell Smith, Lincoln University, rav5117@psu.edu