Faculty Seeks Straight Answers at Budget Town Hall Meeting
March 4, 2004 9:39 AM
Faculty and administrators butted heads over the ongoing budget struggle at the first of two town hall meetings at McKenna Theatre March 3.
While the administration called the gathering to acquaint students and staff with the issues concerning the budget and to hear suggestions on how SF State can cut a remaining $2.9 million shortfall, much of the faculty was looking for clear answers concerning their future at the university.
“I don’t know why we’re laughing,” SF State President Robert Corrigan said. “There are very few institutions that have had to deal with such a huge deficit.”
According to John Gemello, provost and vice president of academic affairs, a preliminary plan was drafted to encourage discussion.
That plan proposed a 17 percent cut in faculty while cuts in student enrollment remained at 5 percent, but college deans who Gemello did not name were unable to work with these drastic reductions.
Corrigan said the university could not keep making broad cuts across the board, and to make sure that SF State does not become mediocre, everyone would have to decide where to make, “a few cuts that are deep, narrow and focused.”
Lecturers and other non-tenured faculty and staff were worried that they would be the first to go once the new budget is decided.
When the focus of the meeting shifted from the stage to the audience for comment, some of the audience spoke out against the ambiguity of their future. One audience member called the cuts, “shocking and demoralizing,” and another said to Corrigan, “you don’t know me because I’m a lecturer.”
“Academic freedom: we don’t realize how important it is until we lose it,” Academic Senate Chair Jim Edwards said.
According to Edwards, SF State is in the middle of an emergency situation and tough choices have to be made.
But the presenters at McKenna Theatre remained optimistic that a compromise could be worked out with equal input from the faculty and administration.
While it is not known yet if students approved referendums suggesting fee increases or if the increases then will be allowed, the prospect that these hikes can pay for the remaining budget hole provided hope.
More than 7,000 students exercised their democratic rights on the first day of the referendum, and according to Provost John Gemello, it was the highest number of students to ever participate in something like this.
The administration was also pleased that Proposition 55 would help renovate the library, and Gemello suggested that SF State might have the funds to build a new Creative Arts building.
“I’m not announcing that now, but without 55 that wouldn’t have a chance,” Gemello said.
POST A COMMENT
|BACK TO TOP|| |
Copyright © 2008 [X]press | Journalism Department - San Francisco State University