Flyers found on campus shed light on university’s financial state


Photo credit/ Photo Courtesy/ Jaye Cannon

This flyer was found outside of the Learning Commons, displaying information about budget cuts on campus.

Brigid Edmunds and Rachel Looker

Over the course of the past two days, flyers revealing information about the state of Marywood’s finances have been found placed around campus and placed in Marywood Faculty mailboxes.

The first flyer, called “Know the facts: Marywood’s Finance,” were discovered by The Wood Word staff in the Rotunda. Within minutes, those flyers were removed by Ann Boland-Chase, vice president for enrollment services. Later, flyers were also found in the first floor women’s bathroom in the Learning Commons.

A second flyer, titled “Know the facts: Budget cuts affect student learning,” were found around campus on Wednesday.

The first flyer included information about the amount of money Marywood has spent on recent renovations and purchases, some which The Wood Word has been able to verify.

The flyer included information about the purchase of South Campus for $500,000 including expected renovations of $25 million. The Wood Word reported on this on March 22, 2015, adding that according to Joe Garvey, it cost between $200,000 and $250,000 to maintain South Campus.

The flyer also stated that Marywood’s Standard & Poor’s bond rating has fallen twice since 2013. According to BondsOnline, Marywood’s bond rating fell from BBB to BBB- on Oct. 16, 2013, and again to BB+ on Jan. 16, 2015.

According to the flyer, a house was purchased for Sister Anne Munley, Ph.D, IHM, president of Marywood University, in 2010 for $310,000. According to the Lackawanna County Assessor’s Office website, Marywood purchased a property located at 2207 Adams Ave. on June 29, 2010 for $310,000. Although, the house number on the exterior of Sister Anne Munley’s residence say 2205.

The Wood Word is still working to verify other information included on the flyer, including the cost to renovations on the president’s house, listed on the flyer as $950,000.

Other information yet to be verified includes the cost of the Learning Commons statues and fountains, PNC Bank’s denial for Marywood’s request for a line of credit, the number of times department budgets have been cut, the total amount borrowed from the endowment for the Learning Commons, and the cost saved by last December’s cuts to faculty and staff retirement benefits.

The second flyer highlighted ways in which budget cuts are affecting student learning, like vacancies in various academic departments.

Dr. Kerri Tobin, assistant professor in education, verified that there are positions in the education department that have not been filled.

Both flyers contained a quote from the American Association of University Professors (AAUP) “Statement on Government of Colleges and Universities” as well as a quote from Cathy Trower, a governance expert and president of Trower & Trower, which read: “Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions.”

Dr. Brooke Cannon, president of the Marywood chapter of the AAUP said that the chapter was not involved in the making or distribution of the flyers.

“Speaking for the chapter, we’re pleased to see members of the community speaking up about issues,” Cannon said.

Dr. Laurie McMillan, associate professor of English, was seen distributing Wednesday’s flyers in the Learning Commons.

McMillan declined to comment on any involvement with the distribution of flyers on Tuesday, September 1, but said she did place flyers “in public places” around campus on Wednesday.

When asked if she was the only one involved, McMillan said that “there are more people involved than anyone would imagine.”

McMillan is a tenured associate professor as well as a member of the Marywood chapter of the AAUP, although she does not hold any executive officer position.

“I am in a position where I can speak up in ways that some people would like to, but are unable to,” McMillan said.

McMillan said she posted the flyers in an effort to bring awareness to how there has been poor decision making, which is negatively impacting student life.

“I believe that the poor decisions are a result of not remembering that students are at the center of our mission,” McMillan said.

She also explained that faculty have taken other steps to address decision making issues through Faculty Senate before the resorting to the flyers.

“There were many attempts to improve shared governance to keep student education at the center of our priorities and those attempts were met with resistance,” said McMillan. “But, we are at a critical point so we’re doing the best that we can to educate whether or not the campus leaders are as transparent as they profess to be.”

In a statement to The Wood Word, Dr. Alan Levine, vice president for academic affairs, said, “Sister Anne is aware of the document that was anonymously distributed on campus. Fortunately, we have structures in place in which administrators, staff, faculty and students can have constructive dialogue in a non-public manner. Any concerns regarding the document can be addressed in this context.”

Sister Anne Munley declined to comment and directed all questions to Juneann Greco, public relations director for the university. Greco referred to the statement given by Levine and declined further comment.

The flyers, shared by The Wood Word on its Facebook page, have been shared throughout the community by both students and faculty.

Adjunct professor Tom Borthwick shared the first flyer on Facebook and said, “I’m an adjunct at Marywood and I love my alma mater. It’s been wonderful to teach there. It has been clear, however, that something is going on up there and I’m glad attention is being paid.”

Students who have seen the flyers have expressed disappointment in the university’s spending.

“It made me angry to see the money wasted,” said Sophomore Speech Pathology Major Caytie Castells.

Sophomore Nutrition Major Katharine Tebbetts said she is concerned about certain departments being understaffed.

“It stresses me and other students out that Campus Safety and other departments are being cut or there’s vacancies,” she said.

McMillan added that she believes it is important for people to speak up about their concerns.

“I think we all have a voice, and I hope that [students, alumni, parents] use their voices,” McMillan said.

Anne Zukowski and Paul Capoccia contributed to this report.