Driscoll addresses proposed PASSHE bill at open forum

Indiana University of Pennsylvania President Michael Driscoll addressed the ramifications if IUP left the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education at his monthly open forum Thursday morning.

Earlier this month, state Senators Tommy Tomlinson and Andrew Dinniman proposed a bill that would allow Pennsylvania state schools to leave PASSHE, according to the Association of Pennsylvania State College and University Faculties.

“If leaving the system makes a university rich and famous, then maybe life is better for the employees,” Driscoll said. “If it results in even more financial challenges, then life is probably worse for the employees. But again, that’s all speculations; it could be any of those. There are an awful lot of unknowns at this point.”

Upon taking advantage of this legislation, a university would transfer from being a state-owned university to a state-related university.

Driscoll said it is too soon in the passing of the legislation to decide whether or not IUP will decide to leave PASSHE or remain a state-owned entity.

Driscoll also discussed IUPatty’s weekend, a non-IUP sponsored St. Patrick’s Day celebration. In the future, local residents and Greek organizations will be encouraged not to host large gatherings at their houses during IUPatty’s and Homecoming weekends, Driscoll said.

“The goals are to develop and learn from experience – what was well done, what needs to be improved, what wasn’t thought of – and then to build plans moving forward,” Driscoll said.

He also said the Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency will be driving the process to minimize reckless events during these celebratory weekends.

The issue of smoking bans was brought up by an anonymous submission. Many smokers stand close to doorways at Sutton Hall, and the submission suggested that smokers should be required to stand 10 to 20 feet from doorways.

Driscoll explained that this issue is the responsibility of a committee that has not been active.

“We don’t necessarily have the ability to slap a sign up on the building or establish a different zone,” Driscoll said, “but we’re trying to get this committee back appointed by me so we can make this happen and deal with these questions.”