RCC faculty faces tough decisions

By Yasmeen Salama / Asst. News Editor, Felix Pineda / Asst. News Editor

Department heads meet with Academic planning council (Edward Diaz / Asst. Photo Editor )

By Yasmeen Salama / Asst. News Editor, Felix Pineda / Asst. News Editor

In an emergency meeting on March 7, the Academic Planning Council announced the district’s intentions to cut 1125 units from the 2011-2012 academic year.

On March 31, the council held another meeting with the Riverside City College department leaders to discuss a proposal as to how these cuts would be made.

Shari Yates, head of the Early Childhood Development Department said that their first priority is preserving programs, matriculation and faculty, a point all the faculty members agreed on.

President of the California Teachers Association Dariush Haghighat spoke of a recent meeting at Moreno Valley College in which faculty members were very upset and restless over the amount of cutbacks there.

The faculty at RCC agreed in the meeting that they want to avoid such conflict.

Professor of Management and Business Administration Ron Pardee said that they want to “minimize the impact on students for the fall.”

A member of the faculty who asked to remain anonymous said, “I wish these cuts would remain as far away from the classroom as possible. When we say . . . we’re student-centered we need to walk the talk.”

Cutting 1125 units means Riverside City College would lose 375 three-unit sections in the four term period, making it more difficult for students to get the classes they need to graduate or transfer.

“It appears we’re on a road to a much smaller college,” Pardee said.

It is still uncertain how and to what extent RCC will downsize, but Shari Yates proposed a variety of possibilities at the meeting.

In the fall of 2010, many departments were required to make cuts through the 2010-2011 academic year, but in December Chancellor Gregory Grey called a halt to department cuts before they were completed.

Since the district has resumed making cuts, the council and department leaders voted that the departments that did not complete the cuts would make cuts first, amounting to 96 units.

They discussed proportional cuts to departments in accordance to size and importance, a matter of some debate at the meeting, which also passed.

Vice President of Academic Affairs Patrick Schwerdtfeger said that preserving the math, English and communications departments was of high priority.

These would represent some of the largest departments on campus.

Shari Yates also proposed that courses should not be decided on whether the staff is part-time or full-time, but by the nature of the course. Most of the council and department members agreed.

In future meetings they agreed to discuss exceptions for departments that cannot make cuts, such as the ones with no part-time employees left.

Members also agreed the process of determining which courses to cut should be a transparent open door process.

After learning of these cuts, students said they are concerned about transferring.

“It sucks, it’s going to take students longer to transfer,” said Sandra Tovares.

“It will definitely take longer to transfer,” said Benny Hernandez. “I could of transferred in the Spring if I got the class I needed.”