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Student Frustration Mounts Over Two-Tier Funding

Santa Monica College students will ask the district to slash administrators' salaries to offset the budget cuts drastically limiting course offerings.

As California Community Colleges Chancellor Jack Scott looks into the legality of Santa Monica College's proposal, students continue to stage spirited protests, the Corsair reports.

On Thursday morning, campus police broke up an assembly on the steps of the Letters and Science Building, because the students were reportedly blocking a stairwell, according the student-run paper.

Michael Pronilover, a speaker for the Student Organizing Committee, told the Corsair that campus police have been "harassing" the committee ever since it began holding public meetings two weeks ago.

The police “make it harder for us to organize,” Pronilover said. “And we are organizing for something just.”

The college district's plan, which still needs fleshing out, is to create a nonprofit education foundation that would restore about 100 courses eliminated in the wake of reduced state funding.

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Students outraged by the proposal call it "privatization," because California residents would have to pay about $275 instead of the $36 they pay now thanks to state subsidies. They want the district's Board of Education to demand the restoration of state funds.

Additionally, the Student Organizing Committee has drafted an action plan that calls for the reduction of administrative and managerial salaries to 2007-2008 pre-bonus and pre-raise levels. They also want the district to look into a series of savings and revenue proposals developed by a District Planning and Advisory Committee.

Board members don't believe restored state funding is plausible. They say the alternative is that the college doesn't offer the classes at all.

“[We’re] looking to figure out how you can have classes here that will cost you less if you happen to be locked out of what the state will fund,” Trustee Louise Jaffe told the students earlier this month. “I don’t know what else we can do.”

Since 2008, Santa Monica College has cut its course offerings 15.4 percent, and officials warned Tuesday that the number could hit 23 percent if a November ballot initiative to raise taxes fails.

Joe March 31, 2012 at 10:17 PM
You can trade down from the diamond-level health care and pension plans to the gold level. Do that.
Mr. Beach Boy April 02, 2012 at 10:26 PM
Maybe if these students actually read for themselves what this two tier funding will do for them they'd be less gullible about protesting it. Did you know (probably not) that for each one of these classes, the college will be able to offer 3 to 4 more courses at the regular community college prices to all students. Another thing that these students don't realize is that SMC is one of 6 state colleges that is in a good enough position to offer fall and summer classes. As far as the police "harassing" these students, it's none existent. It is the same cry that all entitlement babies make when they are called out for not following campus rules. It is sad to see these students being used as pawns. They are so smart they havent figured it out yet. Just like lemmings, they will all jump off a cliff together for an item that is already decided and can't be changed.
Eddie Greenberg April 02, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Let them take Sandra Lyon and others with them. That has not been decided yet and it can be changed!
Mr. Beach Boy April 03, 2012 at 01:58 PM
why is the faculty not taking paycuts. I'd like to make 140k annually plus free benefits, paid sabatticals every six years and only required to teach 12 hours a week for and have 4 hours office time??? They are the only group other than administrators to get pay raises in the last 4 years. Classified has not. Again, these students are being used as pawns by 1 - 3 faculty members, mainly MECHA supporters. I feel sad when I see the kids who state they are so intelligent be brainwashed and controlled by a few activists, who could care less if these kids get into trouble. What's funny is the AS president in charge of this group comes from a family that is a member of the 1%. Talk about a hypocrite, controlling the "99%". Good job lemmings.
Harrison Wills April 22, 2012 at 12:45 AM
As the student body president I can assure you that we, the students demonstrated both our self-determination, democratic and constitutional rights to oppose contract education. As a student who actually sits in the shared governance committees, for example District and Planning Advisory Committee (D-PAC) it was the students who showed up and challenged this two-tier program. In fact, it was student leadership opposing this which than inspired some teachers to get active, not the other way around. So before you make such bold assumptions, try fact-checking yourself. Lastly, Mecha students continue to be one of the most progressive and politically active group of students on campus and there support has been incredible in this movement we actually stopped an illegal plan by the administration. In the end, the police were at the Board of Trustee meeting protecting the trustees as they voted on an illegal plan which would have changed the entire community college system in California. However, we, the students did not let that happen. And non-violent protest is not a passive phrase! The whole purpose of a protest is disrupting the status qua, business as usual policies. Last time I checked it was your generation that got our generation in over 15 trillion dollars worth of debt. So, yes oh wise one (sarcasm), please share with us your political knowledge and insight. How about you try respecting the concerns and voice of the students and stop making false assumptions.

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