In response to our complaint about gross underfunding of the Johnstown campus (University Times, Feb. 18, 1999), Provost James Maher incorrectly asserts that the FY97 subvention provided to UPJ by the University was over $5.4 million. According to Pitt's own Planning and Budgeting Committee, the correct figure is $3.3 million. That number is explicitly identified, on page 70 of the Revenue and Cost Attribution Study, as the "Total Subvention." It is obtained by subtracting the college's $1.3 million cash surplus from $4.6 million in Pittsburgh costs that are attributed to UPJ through various accounting procedures.
In our previous letter, we incorrectly stated that UPJ educates 11 percent of all students at all Pitt campuses, including grad students. The correct number is 10 percent. Now, 10 percent of the FY97 Commonwealth allocation to the University's general operating fund was $13.4 million. The salient comparison therefore is between $3.3 million and $13.4 million. These numbers are not in the same ballpark. Unless education is just a small sideline at the University of Pittsburgh, how can UPJ be responsible for 10 percent of the students and receive only 2.5 percent of the state subsidy?
Of what possible relevance is Maher's long list of specific monies given to UPJ by the University? He might as well include every dollar we spend, because formally the University provides us with our entire budget. It would be equally relevant for us to enumerate every student's tuition and fees, collected in Johnstown, that go to Pittsburgh.
And what about our pretty campus? Pitt has precious little of its own money tied up here. The land on which the buildings stand was donated by a coal company. Initial construction was financed by federal loans and grants, and by millions of dollars donated locally. Dorms are paid for, long-term, by student rents. Most other facilities were built with state money allocated specifically for those projects, or were bestowed on UPJ by generous benefactors.
What UPJ desperately needs, and what the Oakland administrators seem determined to withhold, is consistent funding of operating costs at a level adequate to maintain quality undergraduate programs.
Allan Walstad, Kappa Delta Rho
UPJ Physics Department
David F. Ward
UPJ English Department
On behalf of the Committee to Save UPJ
via University Times