Summer Classes Slashed at City

Student Pedro Alforque, 19, talks to trustees Thursday, Oct. 22.

The City College of San Francisco Board of Trustees voted 6-0 last week to adopt a budget that includes the slashing of 85 percent of their summer courses—a first for the college.

The move is prompting teachers, students and counselors to wonder just how much more the school can continue cutting without compromising quality education. The cuts will also mean some reduction in hours for part-time staff, student employees, and counselors.

“It’s important for the trustees to know the cuts are going to hurt the weakest, the most vulnerable population,” said teacher Carmen Roman Nurray.

City College has already cut 800 classes for the 2009-10 academic year, has implemented hiring and wage freezes and has cut counseling hours to help close a nearly $20 million budget gap.

Don Q. Griffin, chancellor for the college, said the elimination of the summer program would save the school an estimated $4 million for the 2010-11 academic school year. The alternative to the summer cuts was to spread the cuts through the spring and fall of next school year, Griffin told a packed room Thursday.

But with the elimination of the summer program, so are the hours for personnel, including counseling, staff and part-time teachers. hand-made protests

“They’re going to take away my job,” said Pedro Alforque, 19, a political science and English student at City College. “That’s how I pay for classes. And I need those classes to transfer within two years.”

Alforque, who is a senator in the Associated Student Council at the Ocean campus, told the board that slashing the courses will only make it harder for students to transfer to a four-year university in two years.

Second year student Laurel O’Brien, 25, said it has taken her nearly three years to transfer to San Francisco State University.

“I only have one more class before I transfer,” the environmental studies student said during the college’s garage sale event to raise money to reinstate spring classes. “With cuts happening all over, students from other schools are coming to our school trying to take classes here. It’s not fair.”

Hand-made signs that read, “No layoffs” and “Save Student Services” lay in the hallway leading to the auditorium where the board of trustees met last week.

Zen Trenholm, 19, a political science student at City College, told trustees students must be given a bigger role in helping determine what services or programs are cut in order to save money.

Counselor Rosemary Brinson said first-generation and low-income students often don’t have the guidance to help them navigate through the requirements to transfer to a university or get a certificate.

“They’re going to lose them if we keep cutting counseling services. Who’s going to guide them?”

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