The recent course cancellations came as a shock to most of my classmates. I saw students scrambling to try and find courses to replace those that they had already registered for, while some students had to leave Central and enroll in other programs. Others students decided to take a quarter off. This didn’t just impact students, but several adjunct faculty members were either forced out to find employment elsewhere or had their courses reduced. Tenured faculty courses were canceled, some instructors had to move classes online and cover more basic materials. All the while, the waitlists piled up as students could no longer get into replacement classes.
Course cancellations and job loss seem to be just the tip of the iceberg. When you take a closer look, other cuts have been made across the campus. The janitorial services are understaffed, leaving just a few people to attempt to maintain large areas of the college. If you’ve noticed that there are bathrooms that go days without no soap and toilet paper isn’t being refilled that is because of the administration refusing to staff the building services team adequately. Again, the reason is because of budget cuts or lack of funding.
Those with disabilities seem to get hit the hardest on campus. There are not enough ASL interpreters on campus, and there is no longer a braille printer. The Disability Support Services office is in the most inconvenient location on campus for anyone with a mobility issue. Classrooms are not fully equipped with alarm systems that can alert all persons of a campus emergency – the speakers either don’t work or the flashing lights for the hearing impaired are not functional. I’ve sat through several drills where classrooms full of people had no idea what was going on because the announcement system was not working correctly; a campus safety issue that impacts everyone. But of course, there isn’t enough funding for these issues to be addressed.
So classes get cut, instructors aren’t getting salary increases, the facility is not being properly maintained, and yet there seems to be money in the budget for student groups to throw pizza parties and participate in the Unity Fair, and for the MAC to get some new furniture. While I agree that student life is an important factor on campus, the students here come for quality education at a reasonable cost. The priorities are completely out of order. I would rather have fewer student amenities than have several instructors rushing out of the classroom to make it to their second or third job on time.
It will be sad to lose some of the exceptionally knowledgable and influential instructors that have been a fixture here at SCC for years solely because they can no longer afford to work here.
While the administration provided explanations for the course cancellations, blaming everything on low enrollment, it seemed like a hollow excuse. If enrollment is down, then classes get cut – but what about the students and the faculty? What happens to everyone? And why isn’t the state stepping up to fund the school?
I participated in the ROC or We Walk event this past April 16th to show support for our faculty and staff. The state needs to step it up and adequately fund the school so that we can all continue to receive a quality education. I listened to the teachers speaking passionately about the plight of the school, how Seattle Central used to be a destination campus. SCC used to have an ASL interpreter program and even daycare for faculty and student use. The instructors that I spoke with seemed so happy with the turnout compared to the walkout a few years back that only had twelve people attend. In comparison, this year was a huge success. I don’t see it that way.
I wish the teachers would have required class attendance and physically walked out with students in tow at the start of every hour. This would have created a fantastic visual of us walking out together in solidarity. So many students took the opportunity to skip class rather than fighting for the funds our college so desperately needs. Everyone here should have shown up to support reinvestment in our college. OUR college. The apathy of the student body is deeply saddening. Where is the follow-up? Why aren’t we still fighting for change?
The threat of increased tuition has been raised as the only way to solve our budget issues. I for one would be willing to pay a small increase to ensure that we had adequately maintained and accessible facilities and that our instructors are being paid a living wage. I’m not willing to take a tuition increase to fund lunches and feel-good activities on campus. I’ve enjoyed my time here at Seattle Central for the last two years, but as my last quarter here comes to a close, I’m sad to admit that I’m happy I’m leaving before things here get worse. It will be sad to lose some of the exceptionally knowledgable and influential instructors that have been a fixture here at SCC for years solely because they can no longer afford to work here.