CFA Humboldt is calling on campus administrators to Push Pause on budget cuts harmful to students and the Humboldt community.
There is no doubt that 2020 has been a challenging year for HSU, and its students, faculty, and staff. 2021 will be much of the same. But reducing course sections does not stem HSU’s declining student enrollment. In fact, offering fewer classes only hastens the backsliding.
HSU management is cutting classes across nearly all departments, some more than others. Many reductions are so deep they could lead to the demise of departments by further reducing enrollment and threatening their sustainability. HSU management is taking advantage of COVID-19 by pushing through unnecessary budget cuts and shifting HSU values.
“Especially given that HSU has been invited to engage in a self-study to eventually be designated as a polytechnic campus, now is not the time to make drastic cuts for future semesters,” said Loren Canon, CFA Humboldt Chapter President. “Instead, now is the time to value the entire campus community that includes faculty, staff, and students. The antithesis of valuing community is regarding faculty members as disposable. Together, we can see our way through this difficult time.”
The course cutting is premature and irresponsible, and has a detrimental impact on students. Fewer classes leads to longer timelines for graduation. Fewer classes make it harder for students to maintain full-time status for financial aid, and diminish the breadth and depth of students’ educational experience. Management’s plan is a dangerous downward spiral: fewer classes = fewer students = fewer classes = fewer students.
Additionally, faculty workload has severely increased, especially for department chairs. This leaves less time for student support when need for that aid skyrockets. Student learning conditions are faculty working conditions. During this public health pandemic, students have sought out faculty for assistance with technology, financial aid, and economic, emotional and mental strain from COVID-19’s health and financial hardships.
Lecturers, who are most affected by these cuts, help educate and train the region’s teachers, foresters, business owners, and artists. These faculty members did their part in helping HSU pivot to virtual instruction during the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, but are now facing potential job loss as well as losing health insurance.
As one of the largest employers in the community, HSU can and should do whatever it takes to maintain a full, steady, stable workforce to help the area’s economy survive COVID-19’s shutdowns.
HSU lecturers, tenure-line faculty, counselors, librarians, and coaches urge management to reverse course and save its departments and programs. CFA members demand management find other, less harmful solutions to budget gaps, including tapping federal stimulus money and the CSU’s $1.7 billion in reserves. Management must prioritize the jobs of those with the most direct impact on student success. Do not kick workers and their families off healthcare during a pandemic. Do not accelerate Humboldt’s economic downturn, nor impede its economic recovery.
HSU can, and must, do better. Our students, our faculty, and the community deserve it.