By Andy Damián-Correa
I started my dream of earning my associate’s degree at City College, as a Mexican immigrant, wanting to learn and develop new skills that will prepare me for my future career in journalism.
The Free City program made that dream almost possible, and I say almost, because the administration has to solve many challenges.
The biggest obstacle is the projection of a loss of $27 million in state funding. Suppose City College does not adjust how it spends next year. In that case, the $19 million initial deficit projection for the college will balloon to a $35 million deficit in 2020-21 budget, stated Senior Vice Chancellor Administrative and Student Affair, Diana Gonzales in a May 2020 statement.
The question is, how can the administration balance this deficit during the COVID-19 pandemic?
Class cuts, the layoffs of 60 adjunct English as a Second Language (ESL) instructors, drastic cuts to non-credit departments, and the closing of the vibrant Fort Mason campus have been made.
The City College Teachers Union, American Federation of Teachers, Local 2121 (AFT 2121) reported that the Administration informed Dr. Ramona Coates in the African American Studies (AFAM) department that since former chair Aliyah Dunn-Salahuddin was on leave, her position could not be filled.
AFAM Professor Tarikkhu Farrar retired in Spring 2019 and AFAM was left without any full-time faculty.
Limiting the press’s access to the administration will not help. Journalism students are here to hold this administration accountable, because City College represents the door to a better future and quality of life. I’m proud to enjoy great teachers in my field, but the safeguarding of information is wrong in a democracy for our college campus.
The new chancellor, Rajen Vurdien, Ph.D., has much to do and rebuild, because the priorities of the school are here and now, and those who do not allow development for a better education and benefits for students will have to leave.
To be clear, City College is not a bank where administrators draw high salaries and benefits while marginalized students suffer.
The $364,481 resignation settlement paid to former Chancellor Mark Rocha in March was a budgetary blow. A school already in financial hot water can’t afford to continue doling out cash to failed leaders.
Mr. Vurdien, Interim Chancellor, there is a lot of work to do.
The primary role of the College is to take care of student’s needs, provide quality education, and a variety of courses. Young people and local society demand a school that meets our needs for a better future.
The future is uncertain, and during this ongoing public health crisis, good intentions are not enough.