Provost Says Consolidating Departments--No Way!
Speculation was example of 'open mindedness' approach to budget crunch
February 27, 2004 2:31 PM
Despite the presence of rumors SF State Provost John Gemello may have generated himself by suggesting the possibility of consolidating academic departments during a Feb. 13 meeting with department chairs, he now denies such a possibility exists.
At a meeting of the academic senate on Tuesday, Feb. 24, Gemello was adamant there are no plans to consolidate departments at SF State. He said speculation over consolidation was purely based on rumors, and he had no idea where the rumors got started, according to Joel Kassiola, dean of the college of behavioral sciences.
SF State spokeswoman Christina Holmes, the interim director of public affairs, completely denied consolidation has ever been mentioned. “It literally didn’t come up,” Holmes said. “It’s never been proposed, and there are no basis to the rumors.”
Gemello, however, admitted that at the Feb. 13 meeting he did mention the possibility of department consolidation, but only to offer up an example of what might be necessary during the upcoming budget crunch for the 2004-05 school year.
SF State will be saddled with a budget deficit of somewhere between $11 million to $14 million, according to Jim Edwards, chair of the Academic Senate.
“What I said was that in this bad budget situation, we need to keep an open mind,” Gemello said. “Possibly combining departments was just an example of the kind of open mindedness we will need to have.”
According to Gemello’s example, two academic departments could be consolidated into one, under one department head and with one staff.
Acting Dean of Faculty Affairs Marilyn Verhey refused to comment on how department consolidation could possibly affect job security for faculty members.
Robert Cherny, chair of the CSU Academic Senate and an SF State history professor, said a decision such as consolidation falls directly into the hands of each individual university. “The chances are very unlikely the chancellor’s office would ever get involved in that,” he said.
Cherny added some schools were already moving in that direction, and said Cal State Dominguez Hills has already consolidated some of its academic departments.
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