Pa. College Faculty Cry Foul Over Shale Group’s Scholarships

Three faculty members at the Community College of Philadelphia have called on their institution to turn down financing from the Marcellus Shale Coalition for a new energy-training center that will provide $15,000 in student scholarships, The Philadelphia Inquirer has reported.

Saying in a written statement that they wanted “no part of an environmentally destructive industry,” the faculty members, who include the chair of the institution’s architecture, design, and construction department, called on the college not to accept money or collaborate with the gas industry to provide “career, certificate, and academic programs in the energy field.” The industry has expanded in Pennsylvania recently thanks to the controversial practice of hydraulic fracturing, or “fracking,” to remove gas from rock.

Stephen M. Curtis, the college’s president, said there would be no new building and no new curriculum, according to StateImpact Pennsylvania. Instead, he said, the effort intended to tailor the college’s existing programs toward gas-industry jobs in the region. He added that the college “would never dream” of pursuing a credit-based program without input from faculty members.

Elsewhere in Pennsylvania, the shale coalition last month called off a study on the economic impacts of fracking after Pennsylvania State University faculty members declined to participate.

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