College budget bled dry - Cut positions and more made public in all-campus meeting
Cam Keeble - Copy Editor +
Daniel DeMay -
Editor in Chief
Administrators will make large cuts to several academic areas if the state's budget comes out as predicted, Daryl Campbell, vice president for administrative services, said in an all-campus meeting April 6.
A total of 17 full-time faculty positions – in everything from advising to psychology – will be cut, along with six administrative exempt and classified staff positions.
Following an introduction and rundown of future goals from President Lee Lambert, Campbell was tasked with delivering the slide-show of mostly disheartening details to the students and faculty about which positions would be cut.
Among the list of impacted faculty positions were several positions, however, that were slated to be cut but had been restored – in large part, Campbell said, due to "department and community input that was strong and consistent about (those) positions in particular... That was instrumental in helping us understand how to prioritize any restorations that we would be able to make." Restored jobs included Mathematics, English as a Second Language, and Biology faculty positions.
After all the data was delivered, including the 23 total layoffs, Lee opened up the floor for questions. Perhaps the most tense moment during the meeting was when a student, Isaiah Earhart, commented on cuts to the ASL program. "As for keeping the college available to all students," Earhart said, "does that exclude deaf students or students that want to learn ASL?" Vice President of Academic Affairs John Backes responded to this question.
"We don't intend to stop offering ASL," Backes said, "We won't be offering as many sections." Later, Earhart was even more direct with his discontent: "It's a very regrettable day," Earhart said, "but I'm asking you (Lambert) if you will please step down."
"Let me address your point this way," Lambert said. "The legislature created this college through the Board of Trustees. The Board of Trustees has one employee, and that's me. And certainly you can take your concerns to them. It's through them that I serve the citizens of the state of Wash. Whats I do know is that if we asked to take $3.5 million, and we don't make that adjustment, then we're not going to have a college."
He said there were restrictions he faces in where the college can legally cut, and where it can cut without losing accreditation, which he said would essentially mean losing everything, and said, "I've tried to protect more of what's in that classroom … maybe at the expense of the administrators at this college, they've worked a lot of hours so that we stay in compliance so that you, and all the other students, have a place to come."
Lambert's response (to the call for his resignation) was met with applause from a vast majority of those in attendance, History instructor Terry Taylor asked about the $1.2 million in the Board of Trustee's reserves: "Since the chair of our board is fond of quoting Charles Dickens, I thought I'd take a try at it as well: Please sir, may we have some more of the board's reserve fund?"
Lambert said that reserves are "one time money," and unless there is replacement revenue the next year, "we have to be very careful on how we approach the reserve question … and the board's reserves … that's something that they have to grapple with. I know that they've looked at that in the past … and have indicated that when it could potentially help us bring more resources to the campus, that's something they have an interest in."
Despite being held at the far end of campus, in Nursing Building room 2803 as opposed to the traditional location in the PUB main dining room, all seats were filled at the event, and overflow attendees filled each of the entryways as well.
Cam Keeble - Copy Editor + Daniel DeMay - Editor in Chief