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The Sentinel

An Eye on the Penn State Administration

Bill Mahon, PSU’s ‘Baghdad Bob’, Blames Everyone Else

Mr. Bill Mahon, Penn State University’s beloved “assistant vice president for university relations and director of public information” has penned a humorous Letter to the Editor in today’s issue of The Daily Collegian. In his lengthy diatribe, Mr. Mahon attacks USG Senator Angelo Pontillo merely for having heard that a possibility existed that tuition might soon increase “upwards of 7.5 to 13.5 percent.”

Mahon claims that “the only group talking about a 13.5 percent tuition increase for next year is USG.” Funny, considering all that USG Senator Pontillo said was that he “heard” tuition might increase as much as 7-13 percent. In other words, Mahon attacks USG as an organization because one member heard of an inflated statistic.

Regardless, though, Mahon really strikes out in his letter as he finishes by throwing out some misleading statistics himself. “If next year’s modest appropriation request is met by the state, Penn State projects a tuition increase of 3.8 percent at the commonwealth campuses and 4.8 percent at University Park.”

First off, next year’s appropriation request from the Pennsylvania legislature is in no way “modest”. Penn State is requesting an additional $20 million from taxpayer’s in the commonwealth – and that’s on top of the roughly $350 million that taxpayer’s were already giving to Penn State beforehand.

Penn State students can expect, in reality, a net tuition increase of probably some 5.5 percent or more, as the Pennsylvania legislature has a track record of rejecting Penn State’s audacious budget requests, usually slimming them down before approval. In other words, we shouldn’t expect that extra $20 million for next year.

Why? Because Harrisburg is tired of administrators at Penn State demanding more and more cash every year while they at the same refuse to open up their financial records and be transparent. There’s little external accountability at Penn State, which means there is even less internal accountability. Pennsylvania taxpayers should not be further burdened by the demands of an irresponsible administration in Old Main.

As students, we all want our tuition to decrease or at least stabilize, but we must wake up and realize that we are paying out the ass to go to this university because President Graham Spanier has a fetish for newer and bigger building projects and people like Dr. Vicky Triponey are creating more and more organizations staffed with full-time paid administrators in places like the Center for Student Engagement doing the work that students used to do themselves in organizations like USG.

At the end of the day, Mr. Bill Mahon should be ashamed of himself for so childishly repudiating a student like Mr. Pontillo for relaying what he had heard from others, especially considering that Pontillo’s low-ball estimate of a 7.5 percent increase in tuition may not be very far from reality depending on what the state legislature chooses to allot to Penn State’s budget for next year.

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Requested state appropriation for Educational and General funds: $276 million
Requested state appropriation for PA college of Technology: $15 Million
Requested state appropriation for ag and cooperative extention: $58 million

Describing a $350 million dollar appropriation request as “modest”: priceless

regardless… its a myth that there is some sort of direct correlation between state funding cuts and tuition increases. In modern times, theres around a 5-1 ra

part of that got cut off… it was supposed to read “5-1 ratio between state cuts and tuition increases. Which is to say, a ten percent cut in state funding is recouped entirely by a two percent increase in tuition”

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