By Jesus Hernandez
Editor in Chief
In front of an audience of around 100 people, President Eloy Oakley held a forum to further explain the discontinuance process Friday, March 1.
The process that has been going on for more than a year resulted in 11 programs cut, 19 faculty reductions and six classified staff being let go. The affected staff includes a studio lab assistant, a photo lab technician, an instructional tool-room maintenance mechanic and vocational instructor technicians in auto mechanics, welding and diesel mechanics.
Despite programs being cut, Oakley stressed that the Board of Trustees and the teachers union are working together at being able to offer as many courses as they can which would still prepare LBCC students to enter the workforce despite the programs no longer existing as of Fall 2013. The only courses not being offered in the future will be auto body, aviation maintenance and interior design.
The cuts not only affect the staff, but according to the Board, they will be affecting 1,661 students who represent 6.1 percent of the total student population.
The reductions to management positions are 5.25 full-time equivalent positions and seven classified management lay-offs, but 31 new classified positions will be created. The total savings the school will see is projected to be $2.4 million from the discontinuances and $.8 million from the staff reorganizing. “This will go a long way in closing the deficit,” said Oakley.
Vice President of Administrative Services Ann-Marie Gabel, Vice President of Human Resources Rose DelGaudio, Vice President of Student Services Greg Peterson, Executive Vice President of College Advancement and Economic Development Lou Anne Bynum and Vice President of Academic Affairs Gaither Lowenstein and President Oakley were all addressed in the Q and A portion of the forum.
Tammy Lespron, program assistant of EOPS, said, “I remember a time when you said you would go in the trenches and fight for us, but you didn’t. You put down your weapon and gave up.” Lespron later insinuated that the Board was not acting in the best interest of the students, to which Oakley responded, “The one question that gets me a little hot is the question that we are bending our students because that is simply not true.”
Lowenstein, who spoke briefly earlier in the meeting, was asked since his reputation precedes him and at previous colleges he’s been brought in to do a lot of the program cuts and then leave, when he was planning to leave LBCC. “I don’t have a response to that,” answered Lowenstein with hesitation as to whether or not he should leave his comment a “no comment.”