UNCG Faculty and Students Protest Budget Cuts

"Today at 1pm, UNC-Greensboro students and faculty will walk out of their classrooms in protest of the proposed $12.8 million dollar budget cut for the fiscal year 2014-2015. These cuts come on the heels of a 6% budget reduction from the previous year and includes nearly $8 million dollars that the university must return to the state because of unmet enrollment projections.
A disproportionate 84% of the proposed cuts are set to come from Academic Affairs. This includes the loss of an estimated 390 course sections, $400,000 in graduate student support, and a compromise of UNCG's retention and graduation goals.

"It is increasingly evident that those who administer this university are out of touch with the needs of both the students they are meant to serve as well as the faculty that they employ”, said Emma Troxler a junior majoring in Women's and Gender Studies.  “They know the main reason students drop out of school is because they can no longer afford it.  At the same time they have continued to raise student fees to pay for non-revenue generating amenities.  This kind of behavior is incredibly counter-intuitive.”

 Sophomore Dhruv Pathak worries these changes in the university make it increasingly inaccessible for people like him. “It simply makes no sense. I came to UNCG because of its course offerings, because it was close to home, and because it was affordable. Now I can’t find the classes I need, and the ones I get into, I have to be early enough to find a seat. It's not fair, and now we have to pay more for even less, my family is under too much stress, I am under too much stress, and I never know if I will be able to come back the following semester.”

Both faculty and students blame these decisions on misplaced priorities and a bloated administration. From 2010 to 2012, UNCG gained 75 administrators and lost 2 faculty positions. During this period, enrollment dropped 5.7%. A recent legislative report presented UNCG with the dubious honor of being one of the four least efficient universities in the state. Another point of debate has been the plans to construction a new $91 million recreation center paid by student fees ($435 of student fees a year per student) especially at a time when academics are increasingly “left to wither on the vine” as put by Elizabeth Keathley, a tenured professor in the School of Music, Theater, and Dance. She continues:

“The budget problem is primarily a result of the misallocation of resources away from the teaching mission and to administration and extracurricular amenities, which has in turn increased student fees and led to a decline in enrollment. Increasing our teaching loads cannot solve this problem, and in fact can exacerbate our budget woes because overburdened teachers cannot give the individual attention many of our students need in order to succeed. Lower educational quality along with higher fees leads to diminished enrollment, which leads to greater budget shortfalls. This is a downward spiral, and we should not participate in it.”

 In an open letter to her department, Professor of Interior Architecture, Hannah Mendoza writes:

 “I would give up my job for these principles and not just for myself but for all of you…If it is not already too late, it is not getting any earlier and I, for one, refuse to go quietly. I will not be an accessory. I will not dig my own grave and I will not participate in taking jobs away from others. I will not take one more step down the path to dismantling higher education...Each wound we accept does not help us to pull together through a difficult time, it creates the next platform for the destruction of our jobs, our profession, and higher education. If we do not speak up now, we betray our students and ourselves. If we do not act now, we not only give away the future, we are responsible for its dissolution.”"
From a UNC-G press release

1 comment:

Laura Tew said...

Too bad the UNCG administration can't turn this energy into a collaboration to solve the problems and address the challenges. Instead, this administration shuts out dialogue and marches on toward luxury apartments and rock walls.
The Chancellor agrees that the answer is in reallocation of funding and outsourcing of non-mission activities at lower cost. Tax payer money and student tuition are precious resources which are sufficient to protect class sections, faculty, and student needs. Outsource the rec center to a commercial partner; reallocate the burgeoning coffers of debt service funds either back to the students or toward academics.