Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Welcome Back Humboldt State

From the Times-Standard:

Discord abounds at HSU

A line of a couple dozen protesters donning black ribbons greeted California State University Chancellor Charles Reed when he arrived at the annual event Tuesday morning. Huge red signs detailing more than 70 classes canceled due to budget cuts overlooked the plaza in front of the Van Duzer Theater.

And those entering the theater for the convocation, the official start to the new school year, were met by a sign reading “no confidence means no confidence,” a not-so-subtle reminder that many faculty and staff at HSU remain displeased with Richmond and his administration.

”We will be happy to make that vote again and again and again,” said Saeed Mortazavi, chair of HSU's school of business and chair of the school's Academic Senate, of the General Faculty Association's 128-4 vote in favor of a declaration of no confidence in Richmond back in May. “We are here because of an absolute failure of shared governance here at HSU.”

Describing the budget cuts as “dismal,” “embarrassing” and “counter-productive,” Reed said the reductions were unavoidable after state lawmakers had depended on accounting tricks and borrowing to balance its skewed budgets for the last decade.

”I've got to send a message to the Legislature that, if you can't fund us, we can't educate, and I hope that people get mad as hell and do something about it,” Reed said.

Facing $12.2 million in budget cuts, Richmond said HSU made up $6 million of that through the mandatory furloughs, and is currently trying to figure how to bridge the remaining gap and how to prepare for the further cuts that will surely come next year. That presents a unique opportunity for the university to change the way it does business, Snyder said.

”The president and I are ready to make these changes -- I hope others are as well,” he said.

Outside, protesting faculty members stood with signs reading, “Rollin Richmond earned his no confidence votes,” “Failure to Communicate, Failure to Collaborate,” and, “He didn't cause this budget crisis, he just made it worse.”