I wrote a column on Friday that attempted to show how a $584 million cut to the Cal State universities will have an effect on people — from faculty to staff to every employee to of course, the students.
The idea is to show the people behind the budget numbers.
What the universities — and I focused on Cal State Fullerton where I am a part-time (adjunct) professor — are doing is taking furloughs. Each employee will have to take 2 days off a month. That amounts to 24 days for those on 12 month schedules, and 20 days for full-time faculty on 10-month schedules. Even part-timers, who teach one night a week, will have their pay docked by 10 percent. It is still unclear to me how I can furlough my time, unless I teach only 2 hours, 45 minutes on some nights?
In the article, I said some universities may be considering in the spring going dark on certain days, which would mean classes would not be offered those days. I mentioned Cal Poly Pomona, which was in the news that day. I received an e-mail from Cal Poly spokesman Tim Lynch, who said even in the spring, Cal Poly Pomona is not considering that move. Here’s what he wrote:
“Although we’ve had to make some tough calls at Cal Poly Pomona, we have not looked into canceling classes in the spring on furlough days.” So, good news for students.
At Cal State Fullerton, College of Communications Dean Rick Pullen said CSUF was not considering that option either. He said that would’ve taken too much re-scheduling. Also, he said from the communications department, they did not want to see radio and tv broadcasting labs usually held on Fridays cut. They are too important to learning.
Pullen is a great guy who comes from the teaching side of things. He said they are trying not to affect the classroom with cuts. Yet, he said some students have complained that they can’t get Communications 101 classes in the fall semester. As it turns out, the university eliminated several of the Comm. 101 sections due to previous mandatory budget cuts. It remains to be seen how many more classes will be cut (usually they just don’t employ part-time instructors, though they don’t call that layoffs!).
Instead, Pullen said the university will enact two furlough days this month, August 7 and August 28 (they both are Fridays). Classes will be held, but all other offices will be closed. Professors who instruct on those days will have to furlough themselves on another day, presumably one for which they do not have a scheduled class. Of course, professors use those days to meet with students, draw up lessons, grade papers, etc.
Pullen suggested some may actually reduce the workload in the classroom to comply with the furlough requirements. One suggestion was to give fewer papers or tests. Fewer assignments, less papers to grade.
It’s a sad day when the state’s inability to balance its budget means professors at our universities have to cut down on teaching. That’s just one casualty of this state boondoggle. It behooves all to find better, more reliable revenue streams to support our state universities, the backbone of our future work force.