10 year fund decrease still an issue
September 9, 2009 6:33 PM
Over the last 10 years, the California State University's budget has continuously decreased. But for the first time ever, it's putting a financial strain on students' wallets, and faculty and staff are seeing the cuts in their paychecks.
Johnetta Richards, associate professor of Africana studies, has been a faculty member at SF State since 1988 and said she has seen a lot of positive changes, such as more diverse programs offered to students over the last few years. However, Richards explained that during her career on campus, she has never witnessed as difficult a time as right now.
"The budget cuts that have taken place this semester are absolutely horrific for students, faculty and the school as a whole," Richards said.
Richards also said the budget cuts are a damper because they affect faculty morale.
In fall of 1999, SF State's budget was $190.4 million for the entire campus, compared to $295.1 million during the 2008-2009 school year, according to SF State's website.
Although the budget in 1999 may seem like a small amount, it was a lot of money to disburse in order to cover various campus needs such as student affairs.
According to Richards, the College of Ethnic Studies has expanded over the last 10 years, offering services to students such as the Cesar Chavez Institute, Vietnamese American Study Center, Arab and Muslim Ethnicity and Diasporas studies and many other ethnic programs.
Although she wasn't a student 10 years ago, 24-year-old Celestine White, senior and intercultural communications major, said that during her three years of attendance, one of the more positive effects she's seen is a more diverse campus.
"Each year I've seen more international studies students," White said.
However, 23-year-old Elaine Hicks, senior and psychology major, said that too many classes needed for graduation and grad school are being cut, which may result in her having to take classes at another university.
"The school should have all the funds for classes that meet everyone's graduation requirements," Hicks said.
Not only has the financial state of the school been an issue, but oversized classes and lack of help given to students have made it an uneasy learning environment for some.
White said that when she first began attending SF State, teachers were more passionate about making sure students were grasping all the information needed to excel in their future professions.
"Today, in the instructors' eyes, you either get it or you don't," White said. "I feel as if you can't learn everything you need to know if you have questions just in class," she said.
Richards said she believes that the CSU system is asking faculty to do much more with less money and hours. "It's demoralizing," she said.
"I'm not going to cut off my students' learning because of a 10 percent pay cut; I'm giving my students 100 percent," Richards said.
Richards said those who are serious about education still give quality assigned work to their students.
As Richards puts all her efforts into her classes, students like Hicks are putting all their energy into graduating.
"I'm looking forward to graduating this spring, because the longer I stay, the worst it's going to get," Hicks said.
Hicks said she senses that it is just a matter of time before SF State turns into a private school because tuition is going to keep increasing, and only students with elite lifestyles will be able to afford the costly fees.
As some students and faculty look into the future state of SF State, many feel that it is going to get worse before it gets any better.
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