By Devon Everett
By Devon Everett
Waitlist. The very word that puts dread into a student’s heart.
A survey of California’s community colleges revealed that 47,000 students this fall were on waiting lists.
This reflects the State’s recent budget cuts that have prevented community colleges from providing additional classes.
Thousands of college students place themselves on waitlists, leaving their pursuits of higher education to chance; and every semester, thousands of students are left empty-handed.The system is crumbling before our eyes.
The Los Angeles Times had reported that California’s community college system, which happens to be the nation’s largest, has suffered roughly $809 million in state funding since 2008. They face another $338 million in cuts next year if Gov. Jerry Brown’s proposed tax measure gets rejected.
This is one of the many reasons we have to vote this Election Day. Believe it or not, your vote matters and your voice can be heard.
The colleges have been struggling with staffing issues as well.
The Los Angeles Times revealed that 70 percent of community colleges have reduced their hours for support services such as financial aid or counseling.They also have a total 87 percent drop in staffing. Now, to make matters worse, 82 percent of the schools, including RCC, are not planning to have a winter term.
All in all, the budget cuts have had a deep effect, deeper and more painful than getting a penicillin shot in the behind.
We have reached an impasse. Students need certain classes to graduate, but most of these classes are completely full.
Students have taken arbitrary classes just to increase their priority, just to be pushed to the back of the line.
Students are doing everything in their power to contest the situation, but our voices just aren’t being heard.
What are we to do?
Many students, like Keenan Johnson, have tried crashing classes, emailing professors, and even meeting with the head of a department, just to be met with the same fate. “If you weren’t here on the first day of school and your name is not on the waitlist, there’s nothing I can do for you.”
Johnson contributed to an article by The Press-Enterprise assessing the starkness of the situation.
“The experience (of trying to add into classes) has been like a crowded day at Disneyland,” Johnson stated to The Press-Enterprise. “They just let in as many people as can get in, and you can’t get on any rides.”
The situation isn’t getting any better.
With the economy in its current state of affairs, the demand for higher education isn’t getting smaller, but the constant budget cuts are creating a dilemma for college administrators.
“Adults going back to school with hopes of new careers along with caps on university enrollment place a greater demand than ever on colleges, which have fewer resources than ever,” Dan Troy, state vice chancellor for financial planning and fiscal services for
California Community Colleges, reported to The Press-Enterprise. “If they had the money, we could grow and do a lot of good for the state… and set up the state for economic recovery.
“However education, especially higher education, doesn’t have the constitutional protections or federal requirements for matching funds that many other state services have when the legislature and governor scramble to adopt a budget that at least seems to balance,” he continued. “I don’t think anyone is particularly happy to cut the colleges’ funding.”
At this fact, we need to take a stand. If we stand idly by and do nothing, the situation is only going to get worse.
But what can we, as students, possibly do? Consider writing to your congressman denoting the current state of affairs.
If the federal government is alerted of such a crisis enough they are likely to take action.
The biggest thing you can do is pay attention to politics and vote.
Democrat or Republican, what really matters are the smaller measures, and it’s the little things that make a big difference.