|January 31, 2002
Volume 32 Number 9
|A publication for the faculty, staff, administrators, and friends of California State University, Chico|
Clean or Not So Clean
At a recent Staff Council meeting, Bill Patton of Facilities Management and Services explained that the number of custodians cleaning the CSU, Chico campus had decreased from 98 custodians in 1970 to fewer than 60 today. During the same period, the student population has increased by almost 7,000 and the square footage to be cleaned has increased from 900 to more than 2,000. A more and more common story.
The University Budget Committee (UBC) is charged “... to meet regularly to review the relationship of the academic program and campus budget; to provide timely participation by faculty and students in budget processes; to propose broad strategies for adjusting academic program and budget to one another; and to review the effects of their implementation before adoption by the University” (EM 94/04). In consultation with President Esteban, the UBC has been augmented this year with an additional representative from each college and the Associated Students. Our next meeting is Jan. 31, 2002. I have the exciting task of chairing the UBC this year.
Despite the governor’s proposed budget that is very kind to education, the likelihood of budget cuts still looms for next year, and CSU, Chico will be planning for the possibility of 3 percent and 5 percent reductions in the budget. The chancellor has committed to a 4 percent increase in enrollments systemwide. Chico has agreed to increase enrollment from this year’s FTE target of 14,250 to14,345 next year. The governor’s budget makes a unique allocation of $1.1 million for conversion to and implementation of Year Round Operations at Chico (Of the six campuses not currently on YRO, only Chico received such funding from the governor’s budget). Neither the enrollment increase or conversion to YRO have been debated and approved by the Academic Senate.
Many CSU campuses have begun the task of establishing priorities in the event of budget cuts. My first priority is maintaining the quality and character of our institution. Consistent with quality and character is maintaining enrollments at a level consistent with available resources. Our enrollment policy should be stable and should match the number of students with the availability of courses, the number of quality professors available to teach those courses, the availability of classrooms and facilities, and the number of staff to provide the support and services needed. More professors and staff have retired than have been hired at Chico. Staffing levels in many areas are far below what they were 10 or 20 years ago. Recreation and open space on this campus has been dramatically reduced. A parking sticker is merely a hunting license. Daycare for students is less than 30 percent of that needed, and there is essentially no daycare for faculty and staff.
With more students we will need more faculty and staff to provide services to those students, especially those students who are angry because they cannot get the courses they need to complete their major or graduate. With fewer courses and more students, advising becomes more difficult and demands more time. With more students, we will need more recreation space, more parking, more classrooms, and more open space to maintain the quality and character of this institution. Our needs continue to increase as our budget decreases and we continue to serve more students.
In such times, the general first step is to decrease enrollments, freeze hiring, defer maintenance, purchase only “essential” equipment, cut library acquisitions, stop funding on nonessential activities, reduce travel and/or expense money, reduce release time for faculty, and reassign nonessential administrative positions. The second step generally involves more drastic measures, including layoffs, the elimination or merger of certain programs, caps on the number of units students can take, reduction of “nonessential” courses, restriction of the number of double majors and minors, and substantial increases in class sizes.
I hope that substantial budget cuts are not necessary and that the unfortunate process of choosing among the various budget cutting options is not required. It is very important that if budget cuts are required, the process be done openly, with timely financial information available and all constituencies present to provide input into the decision-making process. Faculty, students, and staff are entitled to know how increased enrollment will be served before such decisions are made. Faculty, students, and staff want their classrooms, restrooms, and offices clean, but it seems unlikely that we will get back to the number of custodians in the 1970s.
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