In 2014, Colleen Bradley was fired from her job as the Director of Budget and Financial Planning at West Chester University after she exposed how WCU and Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education universities more broadly were purposely misrepresenting their budgets to legislators, faculty, students, and the public. People outside small groups of administrators were told “the sky is falling!,” “we have a budget crisis!,” “things are desperate!” Their spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations told a story of doom. That story was used as justification to fire faculty, shut down programs, and increase students’ tuition and fees.
For insiders, however, the books told a different story. Several universities were quite healthy financially. When Colleen Bradley started her job at West Chester in 2012, for example, she found that the university had a budget surplus of $18.1 million. PASSHE officials told her that she could not report that. Instead, she had to report deficits. After two years of trying to change things internally, Bradley exposed the whole scheme and was fired for doing so.
Last week, Raging Chicken released the first of our exclusive interviews with Colleen Bradley and her legal team. Her First Amendment whistleblower case may now be heading to the Supreme Court. This is a case to pay attention to.
In our first interview, she tells her story of discovering the fraud and deciding to speak out after she had exhausted all other options: