UFF Rally to Stop UCF Cuts and Layoffs

UCF Moves To Eliminate Programs

Students and Faculty Speak Out

 

Link to Article: http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/students-faculty-speak-out-1.1786853
Compiled by Ashley Inguanta and Caitlin Bush
Published: Sunday, July 26, 2009

 

 

“We already have a terrible reputation that UCF means ‘U Can’t Finish,’ and this is going to exacerbate it.”
— Patrick Murphy, English professor
 
“What’s going to happen when they cut [radiological sciences] is that it’s going to fund a whole bunch of students to go to [community college]. Would you have someone with a four-year degree taking your X-rays or someone with nine months of school?”

— Mallory Panda, junior, radiological sciences
 
“ … And they vote incorrectly and close vital programs and important programs. You’ll be there to witness, as all good believers in truth do; you will be able to testify what happened today and who voted how and remember.”
                                               — Dawn Trouard, English Professor
 
“The damage is being done right now, and the correct thing to do is just exactly what people are doing, which is to call attention to it, to bring it up to them, to say, ‘This is not OK, this is not right, this is not right for students, this is not right for the curriculum … you didn’t involve faculty in doing this.’” 

— Thomas Auxter, statewide president of United Faculty of Florida and philosophy professor at the University of Florida

 


 

See original article by Ariana Vives and Video by Melissa Chadbourne:
http://www.centralfloridafuture.com/trustees-vote-yes-to-eliminate-programs-1.1786842
Published: Sunday, July 26, 2009

 

The Board of Trustees voted Thursday to eliminate four academic programs and suspend a fifth in response to statewide budget cuts. The University of Central Florida will eliminate cardiopulmonary sciences and radiologic sciences in the College of Health and Public Affairs, engineering technology in the College of Engineering and computer science, and management information systems in the College of Business Administration.
Actuarial sciences in the College of Sciences will be suspended.

Student Government Association President Brian Peterson and board member Ida Cook cast the only dissenting votes. In a speech to her fellow board members, Cook fought tears and said she was not satisfied with how the board handled the situation.

“It is not right to treat the university faculty… with the abrupt information the same day that the announcement was made to the general community that their programs were going to be terminated, and that those students weren’t going to be finished with their degrees,” Cook said.

Cook requested to postpone the decision until more information became available to the school and the community, but the motion was shot down.

“Any college office [or] administration that promotes people and gives exorbitant pay raises at the same time that we are cutting very valuable programs to Central Florida should be taken to the barn,” Cook said.
Provost Terry Hickey presented the board with graphs to illustrate the impact of the state budget cuts on UCF during the next few years.  Once the federal stimulus money runs out in 2011, UCF will face a $17 million deficit.  Assuming no further state cuts, UCF will not see gains until 2013-14.

“Keep in mind that any further cuts to our budget will just make our situation even more difficult,” Hickey said.
Cuts to academic and administrative budgets will save the university roughly $8 million, according to Hickey, reducing the $17-million deficit to $9 million.  The program cuts alone will save the university $4.6 million, according to a UCF News & Information fact sheet.

“As we move forward, it’s my fervent desire to not allow this economic crisis to damage the core strengths that have made us one of the most successful young universities in the nation,” President John C. Hitt said.  “And I welcome the earnest assistance of everyone who shares that goal.”

The programs will be phased out within the next two years.  According to the UCF News & Information fact sheet, affected faculty and staff will remain until at least the end of spring 2010, while affected students will receive help from UCF in order to “ensure a path to degree completions.”

Before the meeting, the UCF chapter of the United Faculty of Florida rallied once again outside the Student Union.
From 11:45 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. the UFF protested the program cuts, the lack of information provided to the professors and students in the affected programs beforehand and the board’s apparent refusal to consider alternatives.

“Earlier in the year, we asked the administration and the Board of Trustees to have a public forum where they could provide their perspective… and allow stakeholders to ask questions,” finance professor Stanley Smith said. “The chief negotiator of the Board of Trustees smiled and responded, ‘That’s not something we would be interested in.’ That kind of set the tone for the rest of this situation.”

Claudia Schippert, an associate professor of philosophy and UFF member, said she felt the board has not done its job in working with faculty and students to discuss other ways of reducing the deficit.

“The way that the provost and president have represented this is incredibly paternalistic,” Schippert said.  “They have not shown that they are capable of engaging an open and honest dialogue.”
Although Brian Zollman, a senior engineering technology major, isn't affected directly by the cut, he has friends who will have to find an alternative major.

"I have a few friends who are struggling with the aerospace engineering program and were going to switch to engineering technology's space science this fall," Zollman said in an e-mail interview. "But with the deletions, they will no longer have the ability to do so. It’s possible they'll have to change their major away from engineering entirely, instead of being able to still graduate with a degree in ET from the College of Engineering and Computer Science."

Zollman said during his time in the program, the courses have been getting harder to get into due to lectures changing to online classes and some classes running only once a year. He said he felt the program wasn't getting the recognition it deserved.


"Now, with the program cut, engineering technology will never get recognition for the opportunities it gave students such as myself to study and pursue careers in the ET specializations," Zollman said. But while the BOT's decision cannot be contested, Zollman said he still has hope for the university.


"In the future I hope UCF comes to realize their mistake and reinstitutes the engineering technology degrees so more students can pursue a degree in a subject they are passionate about, instead of settling for something they've only chosen because the coursework is easy," Zollman said.


Sophomore actuarial sciences major Evalyne Orandi expressed her disappointment. 
“I understand it was a hard decision, but still, I don’t think they considered how this will affect the students as much as they considered how this will affect the budget,” Orandi said. Orandi will seek academic counseling to figure out if she can complete her degree in the next two years.


“One of the faculty members from the actuarial sciences department actually told me it’s not impossible to finish … but it’s going to be hard,” Orandi said.

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