Photo by Conner Ross.
Photo by Conner Ross.

Classroom Unit I was filled to more than half of its capacity as students, administrators and faculty addressed concerns about the ongoing budget crisis and program cuts at the Student Union Assembly (SUA)’s town hall meeting last Wednesday. 

Speakers included Sheldon Kamienieki, dean of social sciences; Felicia McGinty, executive vice chancellor of student affairs; David Kliger, executive vice chancellor and campus provost; and Bill Ladusaw, dean of undergraduate education.  

Each administrator fielded questions from the crowd as SUA internal vice chair Tiffany Loftin facilitated the event. 

Dean Kamienieki responded to questions primarily pertaining to cuts in his division.   

“We haven’t made any decisions yet,” he said with regard to  the proposed cuts to the community studies department.

However, an inquiry about terminating two Latin American and Latino studies (LALS) lecturers, Susanne Jonas and Guillermo Delgado, prompted an explanation about the propriety of faculty members at UCSC. 

“It’s an option,” Kamienieki said. “We haven’t made any final decisions.” 

Kamienieki proceeded to suggest that the lecturers had not taken advantage of the opportunity to get job security during their two-decade-long careers here.  

“If these lecturers are really valued, they should have been hired by the department as ladder-ranked faculty,” he said.

But according to community studies field director Mike Rotkin, a collegue of Jonas’, she has attempted to get hired as a ladder-ranked faculty on several occasions — but her request has always been denied.  

Kamienieki was quick to assure that the cuts do not reflect the value of a department or faculty member. 

“I don’t want you or anyone here to think I don’t appreciate the contributions these two individuals have made to the program,” he said. 

One member of the crowd questioned the inequity of student fee hikes and program cuts juxtaposed with six-figure salaries for administrators. 

Vice chancellor McGinty dismissed the comment as immaterial. 

“I make what I should make based on a national comparison,” she said. “I have no guilt about the money I make.”

Executive vice chancellor Kliger suggested that the financial policy of the UC, as a whole, lacks integrity. He added that the impending fee hikes will not likely serve as a solution to the cuts, since the budget is distributed inequitably. 

“The rich campuses keep getting richer and the poor campuses keep getting poorer,” Kliger said. “Right now it’s very unlikely, unless the budget situation turns around, that we’ll be growing at all.”