Chancellor urges pressure to free funds

Tyler McNulty, News Editor

Last Thursday, Pitt Chancellor Patrick Gallagher sent an email to the Pitt community stating that the university still has not received funding from Pennsylvania’s government.

“State support for Pitt, which amounts to more than $150 million each year and is central to our 51-year partnership with the Commonwealth, enables us to provide an affordable Pitt education to thousands of state residents each year.

“Due to an ongoing disagreement over a revenue package to support the state’s approved spending plan, the appropriate bills funding Pitt, Penn State, Temple and Lincoln are at real risk of not being passed,” Gallagher said in the email.

In an op-ed published last Tuesday in the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette written by Gallagher and Penn State President Eric Barron, the two joked about the ongoing rivalry between the two universities, but that off of the football field, the two schools play on the same team.

“As institutions of public higher education, we educate tomorrow’s leaders and create knowledge through cutting-edge research. We also are proud community partners and proven drivers of economic gain,” the article reads.

The two went on to write about how more than 80,000 Pennsylvania students attend both universities each year, both employ more than 50,000 Pennsylvanians and both universities are able to offer in-state tuition rates to Pennsylvania residents.

“These statistics are part of a vast body of evidence that confirms Penn State and Pitt as powerful engines of opportunity and development.

“Yet, despite serving in such critical roles, state support for our institutions is in jeopardy — the direct consequence of a protracted budget impasse in Harrisburg,” the two write.

The op-ed went on to state the bills that allocate tax payer money to the four Pennsylvania state-related schools enable the universities to offer resident students a discount for tuition rates.

“Without House (of Representatives members’) approval of these funds, Pitt and Penn State face a combined deficit of at least $400 million,” the two write.

The email Gallagher sent out, it included a link to “With Pitt, PA Wins” website, which states that Pitt could potentially lose $150 million in state funding.

“Pitt is a powerful, proven economic engine for our state. Our annual economic contribution to the Commonwealth is $3.95 billion and, with Pitt, the state sees a $26 return on every $1 it invests.

“By not enacting funding for Pitt and our fellow state-related universities, Harrisburg is shortchanging Pennsylvania’s students, families and the future,” the website states.

Gallagher, in his email, encouraged Pitt supporters to contact their state representatives to ensure state funding for the university.