Tough times are back at Chico State
In an early-1990s déjà vu, Chico State University is facing orders to cut millions from its budget so the state can balance its own books.
So, from administrators’ travel expenses to the campus police’s escort program, the university’s leaders are deciding where it can afford to bleed.
At the May 2 meeting of the University Budget Committee, administrators, professors and students plodded through lists of where the money goes and what various campus spending areas would look like with less.
In addition to the 1.5 percent cut it already ordered, the state, facing a $22 billion deficit, is warning that CSUs will likely be asked to cut an additional 3-5 percent—up to $4.5 million for Chico State alone.
“We’re all hoping, of course, that the budget reduction might be less than 5 percent,” Vice Provost Scott McNall said.
Representatives of some campus areas—like Academic Affairs or Facilities Management and Services—submitted detailed lists of cut suggestions, while others just listed how much goes where now. The committee members were asked to rank each area’s expenditures in order of importance, and most seemed to be leaning toward taking President Manuel Esteban’s advice not to cut across-the-board.
Jimmy Reed, who will be A.S. president next year, took particular issue with the cuts suggested in the University Police Department. Taking away about 10 percent of the money for the bike patrol and escort service, he said, “is something that directly affects students. [It’s] just plain unreasonable.”
Paul Moore, vice president for university advancement and student affairs, warned: “Watch out for cuts that would damage programs in the long haul.”
“We have to realize that everything we do is a series of tradeoffs,” Esteban said. “The discussion ought to be: What are we giving up, and, given our priorities, given our mission, what is the most important?”
For example, if maintenance is cut, teachers can’t expect their classrooms to be as clean. If it’s postal services, their mail will come later.
Someone asked if any lessons were learned from the last round of big cuts in the early 1990s. “Yes,” Esteban said. “In the past, things were done in secrecy, and we didn’t want to do that anymore. … The last thing we want to do is create an environment of fear and frustration and so on.”
Planting peace: Student project is monument to hope
Ka Lee didn’t find bitterness or hopelessness in the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11. Instead, the Chico High School senior found an opportunity to foster peace in her world.
On Friday, May 3, Lee presented the culmination of her work in a Leadership through Service class to a crowd of fellow students, teachers, administrators and community members at a Peace Pole Dedication Ceremony.
A peace pole is a hand-made monument to peace that bears the message, “May peace prevail on Earth” in several different languages. There are more than 200,000 of these monuments throughout the world. “For a symbol like this,” Lee told the crowd, “it may have the strength today; but tomorrow, it may be tagged or sawed down. Yet that will not discourage me, because today I am representing what we all have been longing to see.”
Chico High’s principal, Roger Williams, applauded Lee’s vision. “Chico High’s commitment to peace is one child at a time,” he said.
Lee left the crowd with these words to consider: "We need to understand that to survive in this world, we should learn from each other, through both bad and good, with the help of neighbors to neighbors, country to country and overlooking ethnic backgrounds."