By The Guardsman Staff
Opinion Editor: email@example.com
While many of the programs that make up City College’s vital organs wait on life support for the $2.7 million Bridge Fund to come through, even departments who escaped the worst of it are experiencing painful and lasting damage. Journalism is no different.
Jessica Lifland taught Photojournalism (JOUR 37) for 15 years, but in the wake of November’s Midnight Massacre, she has joined the myriad of reeling part-time instructors whose classes were cut without warning.
“I was speechless and shocked because it came out of left field,” said Lifland. More than 100 part time faculty have lost their benefits or even their jobs and a spokesperson for the college’s administration admitted to the San Francisco Examiner that they anticipate that more faculty will be affected in the coming months.
The part time instructors are not the only ones who will suffer under these cuts. The long term strain on the surviving students and faculty will be staggering.
“Jessica has connections within the industry, so by taking her away, we don’t have that anymore. We have to seek it outside of class,” said Jennifer Yin, Culture Editor of The Guardsman.
Juan Gonzales, The Guardsman’s own faculty advisor and Department Chair, has taken up the mantle of the cut Photojournalism class. Reviving the course—while unquestionably a victory—will bring Gonzalez’s workload this semester to a whopping six courses, a significant increase from the already demanding four courses he taught in the Fall.
While Lifland expressed relief that the course will continue, and that under the circumstances this outcome is the best thing for students, she added, “this whole situation is really unfair for him because he has been put in an impossible position.”
In order to qualify for health benefits, part time instructors must teach at least half the number of the courses expected of full time faculty. For many part-timers, losing just one course can vastly affect their compensation and thus their quality of life.
“Teachers’ working conditions are students learning conditions,” Leslie Simon, a Women’s Studies professor, told The Guardsman’s own Tyler Breisacher at the recent Budget and Finance Committee vote last Wednesday.
This adage echoes across education funding battles throughout the country. “You have teachers that may be working two or three other jobs to make ends meet, that need more time to prepare their lessons, because they’re being taken care of on the front end,” said James Tracy, Political Director with AFT 2121.
The Chancellor’s office claims these cuts are part of a larger vision for City College’s future, and yet they have not shared their vision with the community who will have to live it out.“There was no plan B for Jessica,” Yin said. “Look at the counselors last semester, they got a pink slip in the mail, that’s it. That’s the type of transparency you want with your faculty? That’s horrible management.”
Lifland will continue to teach the Magazine Editing & Production (JOUR 29) course for now, much to our relief here at the Guardsman.
“I think she’s the reason there is a magazine class,” said Guardsman Sports Editor Meyer Gorelick, “If she wasn’t there, I don’t think we would be producing a school magazine.”
Instructors like Lifland and Gonzales are our champions, and whittling away at their support systems has affected many graduation schedules and certificate programs in the short term, but the ripple effects will be felt for years to come.
We urge the administration, give us back our champions and give us back our voice!