Joe Waltz: LHU, staff make our community stronger

During my nearly 5 decades of living in Clinton County I’ve had the opportunity to meet and interact with many people associated with Lock Haven University and, of course, this would include faculty members. The repercussions that would come with losing 47 faculty and a total of 100 staff positions at LHU would impact not just the university, but also the social and economic health of our community.

First, I worry for the 47 people who would lose their livelihoods and health care during a global pandemic. Kids will be pulled out of our elementary schools, small businesses will lose employees, businesses will lose the revenue of 47 families who may have to leave our area. We will lose friends and neighbors who currently make our community a better place to live.

I worry for the students who have the benefit of close contact with their teachers. With a current class ratio of 14 students to every 1 teacher, LHU students are getting personalized mentorships and professional development from their teachers. By cutting faculty along with whole programs and majors, those class sizes will balloon, pulling support from students who choose Lock Haven for these reasons. Foundational courses teach effective communication and critical thinking, along with other skills that are important to lifelong learning and civic engagement.

As the first person in my family to go to college, I know how hard the decision to choose a college can be. Students and faculty look at the opportunities beyond the school and how they can become a part of the community. We need to come together and find ways to secure funding for our state schools. They are vital to supporting our communities economically and socially, and they make our towns stronger for all of us.

– Joe Waltz