Share This Page

The Cal U deal: Stained credibility

| Sunday, Feb. 3, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

It doesn't require a degree in fine arts or even business to see that the stained-glass window “deal” at California University of Pennsylvania was a transparency mess from the get-go.

With no more than a handshake, former university professor Leslie Parkinson said she was commissioned by ex-university President Angelo Armenti Jr. to create eight stained-glass windows. For $160,000. But the deal fell through after Mr. Armenti was fired last year.

A university spokeswoman said Armenti, who filed a lawsuit against the State System of Higher Education, “acted wholly without authority and without funding.” But Armenti said Cal U's mission statement and state law governing Pennsylvania's state-run universities gave him the authority.

Deal or no deal, the university has offered Ms. Parkinson $17,000 for each of four finished windows.

If all of this sounds extraordinarily loosey-goosey, go to the head of the class.

Armenti said he planned to pay Parkinson with private money, presumably through the Foundation for California University of Pennsylvania. That would be the same foundation that received student housing fees, according to a state audit. And that would be the same audit that revealed exorbitant spending, most notably on a $59 million convocation center.

The stained-glass window scandal only raises additional concerns over how business is transacted in all of Pennsylvania's halls of higher education.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.