A betrayal of a promise that guided state

The financial crisis that has led the state to virtually abandon the master plan that guaranteed high-quality and affordable (originally free) education at all levels of higher education has had particularly harsh repercussions at Glendale Community College.

As a consequence of the crisis, we have been told that the mission of the college will inevitably change. Members of the college Faculty Guild have always considered that mission to provide the best possible education to students, with the belief that learning doesn’t stop here, but rather is a lifelong pursuit.

In response to warnings that our recent summer session was endangered, in late May the guild, including professors, counselors and librarians, reached an imperfect agreement to make more classes available to students. Against the wishes of some union members, the agreement called for a drastic pay cut for teaching summer classes. Counselors and librarians sustained in-kind cuts in pay and hours.

No one was really happy with the extent of the sacrifices made. But the result was that students filled 200 classes, a number that doubled an administration plan to offer no more than 100 classes.

In May, the Glendale News-Press quoted an anonymous professor who called the agreement leading to this outcome “a big sham,” adding that it was ratified in an “undemocratic fashion.” The fact is that there was no time to bring the vote to the entire membership, so the executive board made a tough decision that was far from ideal, but that ensured that twice as many students could take classes, and twice as many teachers would have summer jobs.

In an article that ran this summer, the News-Press also reported that Glendale Community College is third in the state for colleges of its size in the rate of [student] transfers [to four-year colleges], and that it surpasses nearby community colleges and even Santa Monica College — which promotes itself as being a leader in transfers.

These stories share a common thread. The full-time and part-time professors, counselors and librarians of Glendale Community College are universally dedicated to the success of students and to helping prepare those who choose the path of moving on to four-year colleges and universities with the foundation to do their very best at their next stop on their educational path.

Likewise, students in vocational programs are afforded the best possible training to prepare them for a challenging job market.

These are difficult times for faculty members and students. The state chancellor’s office predicts that tuitions may be increased to $46 per unit next year, and could rise even higher. Beyond that, many students may be turned away from the overcrowded and underfunded community colleges.

This is a betrayal of the promise of a free college education that guided this state throughout the last half of the 20th century — the legacy of Gov. Pat Brown, whose son is now challenged to keep that dream alive.

In the face of these difficulties, the union remains dedicated not only to fighting for the rights and benefits of its members, but to serving the students and to the college’s stellar reputation as a gateway to further education and fruitful careers.

Michael Moreau


Editor’s note: Moreau is a member of executive board for the Glendale Community College Faculty Guild.


Copyright © 2019, Glendale News-Press
EDITION: California | U.S. & World