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School’s out for summer: admin cuts summer courses

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School’s out for summer: admin cuts summer courses

The Oak Leaf staff

The Oak Leaf staff

The Oak Leaf staff

Kevin Johnson and Brandon McCapes

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Students planning to complete coursework over the summer may need to change their academic plans.

Santa Rosa Junior College will cut most in-person classes for Summer 2018, a move that sparked harsh faculty blowback during an already tense negotiation process between the college and faculty union.

Senior Vice President Mary Kay Rudolph announced the cuts in an email to faculty and staff at 4:18 p.m. on Thursday, the end of the academic week.

All English and social sciences classes will be cut, unless offered online and only a handful of classes from the STEM, health science and math departments will be offered.

The move comes at a time when the district is looking for ways to address the 2017-18 budget deficit. The reduction in the summer curriculum is expected to save the college $2 million, according to Rudolph.

She said that cutting summer classes is preferable to making large cuts to “mainstream program offerings” in the fall and spring semesters.

Administrators will analyze fall classes to terminate classes that have low enrollment. Certificate programs and majors that are no longer of “significant interest” to students will be removed from the curriculum.

“We need to focus on how to deliver excellent education under new and different circumstances in a fiscally sustainable manner,” Rudolph said.

On March 27, SRJC President Frank Chong addressed the 2017-18 budget crisis, and proposed a plan to “right size” the college by reducing the number of classes offered at a time of declining enrollment.

Faculty members questioned the timing of the announcement and suggested the administration has political motives.

In response to Rudolph’s email, Dianne Davis, an SRJC disability specialist, said the move is short-sighted and students will bear the consequences.

“The timing is so clear,” Davis said. “Impasse continues, inaccurate budget information is disseminated. This is a total nuclear option directed at getting the faculty in line.

Davis’s email criticized Chong for mismanaging the college and said the decision retaliates against faculty by hurting students.

“Frank, I hope you had a nice time at your latest political and photo op gig today while Mary Kay got the gig of sending out the bombshell,” Davis said. “I will look forward to seeing your picture in [The Press Democrat] again out and about in the community while the district goes under. It will be interesting to see how this ridiculous idea gets spun in the press. Way to throw the students under the bus to get back at the misbehaving faculty.”

Mathematics instructor Debbie Albers criticized the lack of shared governance in determining summer course cuts.

“If the decision to cancel most of the summer offerings for Summer 20‘18 has been an ongoing process, then I would like to hear about how shared governance came into play,” Albers wrote.

Amy Merkel, a counselor and transfer center director, said it was “extremely disturbing and unthoughtful” to be told of the summer schedule changes one workday before students begin to register for summer and fall classes.

Laura Aspinall, an SRJC disability specialist questioned the timing of the move after the mediation process between the district and faculty union recently ceased.

“Priority registration starts on Monday and DRD faculty have spent the last few weeks literally seeing hundreds of students in preparation for summer and fall registration,” Aspinall wrote.

Dr. J. Davis Mannino, a psychologist in the department of behavioral sciences, said the loss of income for faculty members will be difficult.

“This is an incredible hardship to me, and many other faculty, who count on summer wages to account for lost wages when our ten month contract ends,” Mannino said. 

The cuts may impact students who have already developed education plans that include summer courses. Even courses with high enrollment rates like MATH 15 will not be offered.


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About the Writer
Brandon McCapes, Co-Editor-in-Chief

Brandon McCapes was asleep the night of the North Bay fires. He certainly didn’t start them. He was asleep, not pulling a “Nightcrawler.”



9 Responses to “School’s out for summer: admin cuts summer courses”

  1. peter jeno on March 29th, 2018 11:31 pm

    What a horrible thing to pull on the students, and faculty. Penalizing the students for someone else’s bad decisions.
    But I wouldn’t want to affect VP’s retirement package. 😐

  2. Yvonne Carson on March 30th, 2018 3:01 am

    You are killing the S.R.J.C!!

  3. Robin Payne on March 30th, 2018 5:03 am

    Dr. Chong, I hope you know that cutting summer courses utterly destroys many students’ flow of classes to transfer to four year colleges. Is canceling summer school really the best course of action to make up for the deficit in the budget? The ones getting punished the most by this decision, hands down, is the students; and as an institution that is STUDENT CENTERED, why are you screwing us?

  4. Kim Norts on March 30th, 2018 8:12 am

    Cut bloated admin saleries to start. When that’s done it may be all that’s the only action needed.

  5. Jennifer Looper on March 30th, 2018 8:31 am

    This is all so very disheartening and flat-out cruel to both the students and the faculty. I thought that SRJC was better than this! First the devastating fires in October that left so many students and faculty members without homes, and now this? Really?
    So much for #SRJCStrong, #SRJCFuerte.

    I am only a part-time adjuct instructor and I don’t have much (if any) say in the matter, but quite frankly, I am disgusted. Not just a stab in the bac, but a twist of the knife.

    As an adjunct instructor for the CESGT Program, this may very well be the last semester I choose to teach here…assuming there will even be any CESGT classes to teach in the Fall.

  6. Yong Lee on March 30th, 2018 10:10 am

    An email was sent from SRJC President Frank Chong to SRJC students about 30 minutes ago.

    “To that end, I will be adopting a suggestion offered by several faculty members to put summer registration on pause for a minimum of one week. This will give us some breathing room to come together and plan the budget reductions in a collective manner…”

    While this is not a guarantee, it seems the summer class schedule may be changed? We’ll have to see.

  7. Tom Stone on March 30th, 2018 3:41 pm

    It’s important for the newer members of the lower classes to learn their place.
    And this is an excellent example of how it should be done, raises all around for the Administration!

  8. Duane Dude on March 30th, 2018 3:54 pm

    This canceling of classes seems short-sighted and counterproductive to helping students move forward towards future graduations, transfers or certificates. Please do a good job of reporting upon this issue and the other “behind the scenes” issues of very high administrative costs and large bureaucracies at the college. Thank you.

  9. Conor on April 4th, 2018 10:29 pm

    This is how schools especially in California work. Remember a few years ago when arts and high schools had budget cuts? This is how it works. I went to the Jc for 2 years and then transferred and never took a summer class. I did all my schooling during the fall and spring semester and did it in 2 years. I transferred and finished up at a 4 year college in 2 years. It’s doable. It wasn’t easy since I was working close to full time also and attending school full time. But it works. Just get used to how it is and grind away to get through it. This generation thinks they are entitled to things that they aren’t.

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School’s out for summer: admin cuts summer courses