ESU Hosts Virtual Open Forum with PASSHE Chancellor

Photo Credit/ Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education

Nick Stein

News Editor

The University hosted an online open forum via Zoom last Tuesday, which featured statements from Interim President Kenneth Long and PASSHE Chancellor Daniel Greenstein. 

After both statements, there was a brief Q&A with students and faculty members who were in attendance.

In his opening remarks, Chancellor Greenstein reflected on his late father’s demeanor in times of crisis. 

His father always had a strong belief in the constitution and in the republic, and would always tell him, “The republic will survive.”

Greenstein went on to urge that everyone at ESU have that same confidence in our state system of higher education and in our nation.

Greenstein also touched on issues surrounding the tenor of race relations, both in our state, and nationwide. 

He noted that with all of the panic and uncertainty regarding the coronavirus pandemic, we can easily lose sight of other significant issues that are plaguing our country.

“It is not lost to me that I can walk out onto the campus of ESU, raise my fist and declare that Black lives matter,” Greenstein stated. “And it is not lost on me that others can join me on the campus of ESU and debate that point.”

He said it gives him a sense of pride to know that institutions of public higher education can foster and manage those kinds of discussions.

Greenstein also mentioned that it was reassuring to see the opportunity gaps between white students and students of color steadily closing. 

He also praised the Diversity and Inclusion Committee for their work in laying the groundwork for these results to happen.

The Q&A was opened after the Chancellor’s remarks, and he took The Stroud Courier’s question first. 

The question asked if he was still concerned with making higher education more affordable and accessible to low income students. This was an issue he discussed at length in his state of the system address last year.

However, due to the financial strain caused by the coronavirus pandemic, increases in cost of education seem inevitable. 

Currently the net average price of earning a four-year degree from a PASSHE school is more than $20,000.

Greenstein did not directly answer the question presented. In response, he displayed data for the forum viewers that showed that Pennsylvania state schools are still less expensive than four-year private universities in the state. 

However, four-year private universities in this state are among the highest in the nation.

Other forum participants asked questions regarding the data Greenstein had displayed, and whether it was something that should strike confidence in the ESU community. 

Several vague and indirect answers later, that line of questioning came to an end.

When it comes to four-year public institutions, Pennsylvania consistently ranks last or near last when it comes to the cost of higher education. Given the current financial state of the system, that will not likely change.

After the Q&A, President Long told the courier he believed that this event was informational and beneficial for students. He felt that Greenstein’s intentions were pure and sincere, and was grateful for the event.

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