PCC is in a crisis, a big enough crisis where it leads our administration to cancel 57 classes and not rehire 45 retired professors a week before the spring semester starts. But this should not come to us as a surprise.
For years now officials have been playing with fire, and spending when they shouldn’t have and borrowing where they shouldn’t. The school must sadly make these cuts to continue its service of higher education but those students affected should not be left unsatisfied, nor the teachers.
In a President’s budget message dated January 11, 2011, President Mark Rocha warned that hard times were coming. He asked managers and supervisors to, “review operations to plan how to deliver our services to students in the most cost-effective way possible.” In this message he pretty much warned that the dark days were among us.
That dark day came on February 13th when Rocha announced that 57 courses that had already been planned and scheduled for spring would be cut. Among the list of class that were cut were; five intro to Psychology classes, six art classes, and seven ESL classes. The news didn’t end there; 45 teachers contracts were not renewed for the semester.
Because of the abrupt mid year trigger cuts,a slew of students, teachers and community members of Pasadena gathered together Feb. 22 to protest against the class section and teacher cuts that were announced by Rocha.
The protestors articulated the losses the students have suffered. According to a PCCFA Statement on the educational crisis at PCC, about 3,000 students lost the opportunity continue toward their goals or degrees; some could possibly lose their full time status leading them to lose Pell Grants and other financial aid; and some students can face losing their international student-visa status.
These conclusions are cold and hard to hear and should be one of the first things to be addressed when coming up with a solution to the budget problems. What will happen to those affected? Will the school provide a priority registration in the future? The answers are slowly reaching the surface.
One thing to consider is that though PCC is hitting the wall financially, our campus is one of the lucky ones. Other community colleges have had to cut their winter and summer sessions due to lack of funds.
As a past student at Glendale Community College, I can say that getting a class there is nearly impossible if one doesn’t have an early registration date. Many arts programs there have been shortened to a limb if not already cut.
PCC students are lucky to still have winter and summer sessions although we might have seen the last of them for a while. Many other colleges have also been hit with class and teacher cuts recently, there are a great number of student activities and services that PCC still has that other schools simply have had to cut.
Take advantage while you still have the opportunity. If you think this is going to be the only shock, consider that the school might have to cut $5 million more from next years budget.
If you feel the necessity to be involved, then the time is now. Rocha announced that there will be a budget meeting held in the Circadian every Friday at noon. This is all in attempts to make the budget as transparent to the public as possible. ” We should be proud of ourselves for holding out as long as we have,” said Rocha in a special budget message sent out February 13th. ” If we adapt, we can survive and grow and get better in the service of our students.”