Heal the wounds

President Zingg should rehire laid-off lecturers

Mr. Peldo is a lecturer in the Philosophy Department at Chico State and also serves as co-lecturer representative to the California Faculty Association on campus.

This is a very painful time for the students and faculty of Chico State University, who are disproportionately affected by cuts in funding to instruction. Sadly, the current trend has been to cut teachers and classes—what I call “the meat” of education—first, instead of cutting noninstruction-related programs—what I call “the fat.” The responsible thing to do would be to cut the fat first.

Students have been hit particularly hard by these trends. Student fees have increased steadily, up 196 percent since 2002, making a college education less affordable and less accessible for many. Students have also been impacted by cuts to classes and faculty, including mandatory reductions in enrollment.

The current trends at Chico State have also had a devastating effect on the local economy. Last March, Chico State’s very own economist, Dr. Frederica Shockley, estimated that cuts would lead to a loss of more than 680 local jobs, $32,000,000 in disposable income, and a loss of $1,400,000 in property and sales taxes for the area.

Last year the CSU faculty voluntarily endured furloughs and a reduction of nearly 10 percent in take-home pay. Many long-time faculty members have been forced into early retirement, and others have had their workloads diminished, some to the point that they no longer qualify for benefits. Chico State has hemorrhaged well more than 100 teaching jobs in the last year alone.

Now layoff notices have been issued to nine lecturers at Chico State, due to a “lack of funds,” despite the fact that the governor proposed a slight restoration of funding for the CSU, and despite the fact that federal stimulus money was released for use in the upcoming term.

It is important to note that from 2000 to 2009, the number of students in the CSU increased by 25 percent, and the number of administrators and managers grew by 20 percent, but faculty grew by only 3 percent. In the last year, from 2009 to 2010, we have witnessed an 11 percent reduction in faculty at Chico State, but only a 1 percent reduction in administrators.

We all cherish our beloved institution. I hope and pray that the wounds we have experienced can be healed for the common good. The first step is to stanch the bleeding. Enough is enough. Please join me in urging Provost Sandra Flake and President Paul Zingg to find a way to rescind the layoff notices at Chico State.