The just released $400,000 consultant report from the National Council for Higher Education Management Systems can be dismissed as a huge waste of money. The main findings were that leadership is inadequate, the board is too big and that there is too much focus on institutions and not students. The only truly useful comment was that union contracts are a problem, an unstated recognition that striking professors are not consistent with university education.

There are no substantive, specific recommendations for action steps except to say there should be no mergers of the universities.

For zero cost to the Chancellor and the system, we offered clear recommendations in a Policy Brief earlier this year. Reorganize program offerings to reduce expensive duplicative degree offerings among the 14 schools. Find a predominantly black university to take over Cheney or have its students transfer to other area schools. The cost to taxpayers to keep it open are simply prohibitive.

Ongoing declines in enrollment at many schools have already caused entrance requirements to be dropped or lowered to the point of being meaningless. Annual graduations from Pennsylvania high schools, the overwhelming source of most enrollees, are flat and forecast to drop in the years ahead.

PASSHE cannot continue with business as usual, raising tuition for kids who should not even be in college, and kowtowing to faculty unions. Both are anathema to maintaining quality and good order. And certainly not consistent with how an institution of higher learning should comport itself.