class of 2011

June 18, 2011

class of 2011

The final post?

December 6, 2010

For more than a year now I have been updating this blog as part of a supplement to my journalistic endeavors at Cal Poly Pomona.

I originally intended it to be an extension of  Thepolypost.com but since that never materialized, it has been my own personal project since last winter.

During this time there has been great upheaval at the CSU level and it doesn’t appear that it will stop anytime soon. The debate over the school’s possible conversion of its calendar from quarters to semesters rages on (in a recent poll released by the ad hoc committee studying the issue students were overwhelmingly against conversion to semesters) and the CSU board of trustees has raised fees yet again for the upcoming academic year. In short, it is not a great time to be a student in the state of California.

My career as a staff writer at the Poly Post has been concluded, but I hope that the editors and staff will continue to cover the campus, and make strides towards being the watchdogs that they are supposed to be.

I have recently accepted a position as a contracted freelancer for the Glendora hyper-local news website, so I don’t think I will have any more time to update this blog on a regular basis, though I may post some Cal Poly related news from time to time during winter and spring.

If you live in the Glendora area and have enjoyed the brand of investigative reporting on this blog then I urge you to read or follow glendora.patch.com for news and information that impacts your community.

If you go to Cal Poly Pomona as a student, I urge you to seek out news about your school, the CSU system and the community in general, good luck on finals

Reinhart has life-long love for soccer

December 2, 2010

originally printed on the Poly Post

On a Friday night in early October 2009, Tyler Reinhart, then a junior playing for the Cal Poly Pomona men’s soccer team, scored a school-record four goals and eight points as the Broncos shocked then-defending NCAA Div. II National Champion Cal State Dominguez Hills, 4-2, at Kellogg Field.

It would be one of the most memorable moments in the Fresno native’s playing career, as it was Cal Poly Pomona’s first win against the Toros since the 2005 season and is still remembered as a pivotal win for then first-year head coach Lance Thompson, who succeeded Paul Caligiuri.

“I was fortunate enough to score all four goals in that game,” Reinhart said. “Personally, that was one of my favorite highlights.”

In the 2009 season, Reinhart earned CCAA Player of the Week Honors twice as well as NSCAA Men’s NCAA Div. II All-West Region Second Team and All-CCAA Second Team Honors.

He also earned All-CCAA Honorable Mention during the 2008 season.

All of these accolades were capped off by multiple-score matches throughout his career.

Upon the completion of the 2010 season, Reinhart finished his Bronco career with 49 points, consisting of 17 goals and 15 assists. He also had 171 shots.

The 5-foot-9-inch senior forward from Clovis West High School said he has been playing soccer since he was 5 years old. He played many different sports when he was growing up but liked soccer the best.

The action and the fast pace is what attracted him to the sport. Reinhart has played club soccer since seventh grade, traveling across the United States and was recruited by Caligiuri.

“I really wanted to play in [the] Southern California area,” Reinhart said. “It was a good area for soccer, so I ended up coming here. It’s a good school.”

Even though Reinhart has played his last game in a Bronco jersey, he said he is confident the program will continue to succeed because this year, the team has few departing seniors.

“Just to see the program grown in the direction it has, coming from not winning very many games, not being able to compete in conference games, to know where for teams we’re a tough game in their schedule for them to have, that’s really cool,” Reinhart said.

Despite narrowly missing postseason play this season, Reinhart’s contributions helped the Broncos to a 10-7-1 record overall and an 8-7-1 CCAA record.

Reinhart attributed the team’s ability to incorporate new players into their existing roster as part of this season’s success.

“I think we came together,” Reinhart said. “We had a lot of new faces this year. The CCAA is probably one of the toughest conferences in all of Div. II soccer, and we lost some games that we should have won, and we won some big games as well.”

One game stands out in Reinhart’s mind as the most memorable and that was when the Broncos upset then-No. 1 Cal State Los Angeles, 2-0, at home early in the 2010 season.

This was the first time in four years the Broncos swept the Golden Eagles.

“I would say [that was] one of the big games this year, at home during ‘Pack the Stands Night,’” Reinhart said. “They were ranked first in the nation at the time and to be able to give them their first loss of the season was really cool.”

As for the future, Reinhart wants to put his studies as a kinesiology student to practical use.

“I really like just learning about the body and how it works, especially in the athletic setting, since I’ve been around that all my life,” Reinhart said. “I would really like to do something with that.”

Reinhart earned the respect of his teammates and coaches while at Cal Poly Pomona.

“Tyler always worked his butt off and always gave it 110 percent on the field,” said junior forward Luis Gonzalez. “It’s been a pleasure to have played with him, especially teaming up to score goals and win games for our team. He’s definitely going to be missed along with the other seniors.”

Seasoned photographer discusses future of photojournalism

November 30, 2010

by Ariel Carmona Jr

originally posted at thepolypost.com

Glenn Rand, author, photographer, contributing editor for Rangefinder magazine and professor at Brooks Institute spoke at a panel entitled “Film War: The Evolution of Digital Photography” where he dealt with topics ranging from the debate over film and digital photography to the technical aspects of new imaging technologies.

The panel also touched upon the history of photography and the future of the medium. It focused on the rapidly advancing technological innovations transforming imaging techniques.

Rand said despite the advances in software like Adobe Photoshop, the storytelling aspects of the medium remain at the core and are of fundamental importance.

“Photography since its very inception has not been about the validity of anything, it’s about telling a story that’s not necessarily true,” said Rand, while referencing the research of Neil Postman.

“Postman felt there were several factors in the battle between technologies and once the battle starts, it is very ferocious and it’s not going to end in a tie,” said Rand.

Rand utilized images of Michelangelo, Alex Gardner, Leonardo Da Vinci, and others to emphasize both the artistic nature of photography and to recap its colorful history.

One message Rand emphasized in his lecture was the artistic nature of the medium, a creative quality he said he did not feel was enhanced by emerging technologies, at least not to the point of replacing human design.

Rand said he saw the digital revolution as an evolution, the next stage in the art of photographic imaging.

“Photography is not about how the image is made, but about communication of ideas,” said Rand. “The next wave of change will start before the present weave is ashore. We have to look ahead to the horizon to see what might be coming.”

Richard Kallan, chair of Cal Poly Pomona’s Communication department agreed with Rand’s discussion about tools and gave an example of the personal computer as a tool not being used effectively to achieve verbal perfection.

“There are very few people whose writing has improved because of the computer,” said Kallan, adding good writers were proficient at grammar and structuring sentences prior to the adoption of computers on a large scale.

“Artists control their medium, artisans are controlled by their medium,” said Rand.

Elyse Coumans, a fifth-year communication student said, even though she has yet to take a photography class at Cal Poly Pomona, she attended the event because she wanted to get a broad understanding about what is available in the communication field.

Coumans said she was not surprised when Rand said he preferred to use one basic digital camera with a single lens.

“I think every piece of work is determined by the person who’s taking the photograph,” said Coumans.

CSU Chancellor’s office willing to fund conversion to semester at Cal Poly Pomona

November 22, 2010

The war between proponents of converting from a quarter based academic calendar to a 15 week semester based system at Cal Poly is heating up, but at least one member of the ad-hoc committee investigating the issue hinted last week that the CSU Chancellor’s office may be spearheading the local push toward conversion.

I had been wondering about the timing of the proposed switch, why is it so important to spend the resources now, given our financial state, to study the issue? I may have found the answer while attending a townhall meeting on the subject last Tuesday while researching information to contribute to  this article.

Notice that Michael Cholbi, co-chair of the Ad Hoc Committee, said the California State University Chancellor’s office may fund the calendar conversion if they choose to switch to a semester-based calendar.

Cholbi reiterated these statements at the final town hall meeting Thursday Nov. 18 in response to a question posed by Paiva Hoikkala, a lecturer in Cal Poly’s History Department.

Hoikkala said from a learner’s perspective, she prefers semesters because the quarter system is too short, but she had reservations over the conversion process.

“It appears that the process is driven by the chancellor’s office,” she said. She went on to express concern over funding the process, one that Cholbi estimates, if approved by Cal Poly’s Academic Senate and President Michael Ortiz, would take three to four years to implement.

Ann Morgan, ad-hoc committee member said President Ortiz heard from the chancellor that there was a possibility of funding and that’s when the Academic Senate decided it was worth studying.

‘“Perhaps the chancellor wants it but I don’t think anybody on the committee feels he actually originated this particular effort,”  said Morgan.

Cholbi also said he didn’t see the chancellor’s office’s interest as the driving force behind the conversion to semester push, but historical precedence says otherwise.

According to the pros-and-cons website set up by the ad hoc committee, in December 1999 the Senate held a two day retreat to consider the issue of how to achieve year round operations as requested by the Chancellor’s Office. The necessity for YRO was the projected increase of approximately 300,000 students seeking admission to the CSU over the next 10 years, called Tidal Wave II.

As part of the retreat agenda, the group considered having the campus convert from the quarter system to a trimester system of 14 weeks of classes and one week of exams, or a 15-week term. A survey was constructed and was distributed to the faculty soliciting their input on the issue. The results of the survey were distributed to the faculty.

Subsequently the Legislature and the Governor requested that the CSU have a common calendar and allocated $12 million for campuses willing to convert. The money was specifically targeted for calendar related issues and could not be used for other purposes. Documents from 1999 indicate that the Chancellor’s Office was going to set aside about $ 5 million per campus but that Cal Poly Pomona would need an extra $2.6 million

“I think that one of the things that has given it some momentum, in fact some willingness on the part of say the provost to back the existence of the ad hoc committee is the sense that there is at least some willingness on the part of the chancellor’s office to back this if we were to decide to convert,” said Cholbi.

“The chancellor’s office does have its own discretionary budget, these are monies that are not allocated to the campuses, as such, they back various initiatives that the CSU chancellor believes are worth backing, it will of course be ultimately the determination of the CSU chancellor whether this is among those initiatives,” said Cholbi.

Cholbi added conversion might benefit the entire CSU system.

“Certainly one of the hypothesis that should be entertained here is that even though conversion to a semester calendar probably would not amount to any cost savings for us [Cal Poly] it may have system wide savings, even if there are not campus wide savings,” he said.

Questions forwarded via e-mail to CSU spokesperson Erik Fallis regarding the Chancellor’s willingness to fund conversion were not answered.

However, when I asked ad-hoc committee members last Tuesday whether feedback has been mostly in favor or against the conversion, they indicated most seemed to be leaning towards quarters.

All of the students speaking at Thursday’s meeting spoke in favor of retaining the quarter system, citing Cal Poly’s accreditation, the ease of transitioning from semester to quarter upon transferring, and the difficulty of students adjusting to semesters as reasons why they favor the quarter system.

The responses on this Cal Poly Pomona facebook page indicate that students are overwhelmingly in favor of retaining quarters.

Shelley Bruce, Associated Students Incorporated Secretary of External Affairs said she had concerns over whether the response from students would be taken into consideration.

“We’ve had some students from the sciences who’ve spoken and expressed their concerns but I know we’re a very large campus with diverse majors and in your deliberations and in your research processes, are you taking into account how this might affect different type of disciplines,” Bruce asked Cholbi at Thursday’s meeting.

“You’re having the town hall meetings and you’re having the online survey, but I still think that sometimes participation is low and then students are upset when the decision is made.  Do you feel the student’s response has been large enough to take into consideration at this point, and really how much do students really have a say in the decision making process?” asked Bruce.

Cholbi said Cal Poly is not a democracy, the feedback is supposed to inform the ad hoc committee’s decision, but ultimately, the final decision would be made by the president.

Cholbi called the committee a link in the decision making chain. He said the shared governance process was designed to include students and faculty, but Ortiz still has the final say.

“My hope is all the feedback will ultimately matter,” Cholbi said.

He also indicated the any funds to implement conversion would go to providing advising to students who have questions about converting their calendar from quarter to semester.

In response to questions about funding from Hoikkala and others, Cholbi said people would not endorse conversion if it would be funded from Cal Poly’s general operating fund. He estimated the cost of conversion would be approximately 5 to 8 million and the CPP budget is 180-200 million.

Hoikkala said the 4-4 law being proposed would overload faculty and would cut back on the amount of time faculty could dedicate to research. She also said it appears there won’t be a lot of support to convert classes.

Cholbi called the 4-4 course load proposal “the most contentious issue” amidst faculty regarding the conversion debate.

“There is a wide array of opinion,” he said about that aspect of the discussion.

Silvia Cheng, a fourth year history student said the administration should consider the effects conversion would have on people applying to the school. “They should really take into consideration the thousands of people it will affect.”

She cited as an example seminars with 21 students where the student to teacher ratio is already high. She also expressed concern over faculty not having enough time to conduct research in their disciplines. “Conversion would be a benefit for the administration, but most students/professors are against it.”

The question remains,  if Cal Poly is indeed not a democracy as Cholbi indicates, then are students’ and faculty opinions really crucial in the process? If the decision is ultimately up to Ortiz, at the possible behest of the chancellor, then is the shared governance process a valid one, or just a ploy to make it appear the campus community is truly involved?

I leave it up to you dear readers, to decide.

Marquez a dedicated student athlete

November 19, 2010

originally published in the Poly Post

As Cal Poly Pomona’s men’s cross-country team prepares for the conclusion of its season, the Broncos can be thankful for an injury sustained by senior Jose Marquez years ago.

“I was actually a soccer player and I hurt my knee back in my junior year in high school,” Marquez said. “I joined the cross country team, and I then tried out for the track team, and started getting really good at it. I just stuck with it because that was the only sport that I could do with a messed-up knee.”

At 6-feet-3-inches, the fourth-year political science student, originally from Mexico, appears to tower over some of his peers while running on the track and has enjoyed a good career as a Bronco.

However, the lanky, modest runner said he thinks this year’s team, fresh from its second-place finish at the CCAA Championships in South El Monte on Nov. 6, might be better than last year’s.

“It’s very different from last year,” Marquez said. “Now, we’re very tight and that’s a good thing about this team.”

In the 8-kilometer men’s championship race, the Broncos’ top finisher was freshman Ryan Carrell, who posted a 24:58.0 mark and finished fifth overall, while senior Matt Prentice (25:03.9) and Marquez (25:21.1) finished ninth and 13th, respectively.

Marquez has known a few of his teammates since their junior college years, which might attribute to some of the team’s success and chemistry.

Prentice and senior Jose Lara were his teammates during his San Bernardino Valley College days, while senior Stephen Kent ran at rival College of the Canyons.

Marquez said it takes dedication and commitment to excel in cross-country competitions and he carefully balances academics with sports, as do the rest of his teammates. He admitted though it’s not an easy task.

“I don’t think people understand how difficult it is to manage time, especially running,” Marquez said. “I only take off Sundays and I think every guy in the team runs every single day, at least 10 miles.”

The hard work has paid off thus far for Marquez and his teammates. This year, Carrell, Prentice, Kent and Marquez all made the men’s All-CCAA First Team.

“To come and perform like the coaches expect you to do it, that takes a lot of mental effort,” Marquez said.

Though he considers running to be his life, Marquez has struggled with the difficulty of trying to remain in school because he is not a U.S. citizen, and as an AB540 student, he said he did not always find it an easy thing to deal with at his previous schools.

That all changed, however, when he transferred to Cal Poly Pomona, where he said the atmosphere is more open to issues close to his heart like immigration.

Marquez’ membership in groups like Movimiento Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlán and Students for Quality Education help him to connect with students who may be experiencing the same circumstances as his.

Prentice said he enjoys having Marquez as a team member because he can trust him to bring everything he has on race, when it matters most.

“Its refreshing knowing that someone is on the team that wants to work as hard as me,” Prentice said. “I always know that I don’t have to worry about him in a race because he’s going to take care of business.”

Kent admires Marquez’ work ethic and drive to succeed on the course.

“He’s a very good competitor,” Kent said. “He trains really hard all the time. He shows up to practice, he pushes us to be better in practice and motivates real well for the races.”

While the men’s cross-country team would like to leave a lasting legacy behind, Marquez said the seniors are working hard to achieve their common goal.

“We all have the mentality that it’s our last year so we might as well make it work,” Marquez said. “It’s our last chance to make it to nationals. This is the end of the road for us as athletes. We’ll keep running forever, but as far as wearing our Cal Poly jerseys, this is it. So, we all came motivated during the summer. We all worked hard. We want it bad this year.”

Marquez plans to pursue a career in International Studies. He is considering going to graduate school, after which he hopes to return to his native Mexico.

Tennis program still in limbo, even after restoration of state funding

November 9, 2010

Well, almost an entire year has passed since I blogged about the tennis team program cuts at Cal Poly Pomona and a possible freedom of expression violation at the rally for Cal Poly’s basketball team last Spring.

At the time, I never got to find out which college official gave the word to prevent the guys and girls from the tennis team from wearing their “Save Cal Poly Tennis” T-shirts during the rally, but while doing research for this article last week, that mystery might have been solved, although I speculated the word came from Cal Poly Pomona Athletics Director Brian Swanson all along.

While calls and e-mails to Swanson’s office and to Cal Poly Pomona  Assistant A.D. Tracee Passeggi to comment on the article were not returned last week, I have more than one source on record saying that the order preventing the athletes from standing in the front row where photos were being taken at the rally, and the subsequent order for them and for members of the basketball team not to wear the shirts came from Swanson himself.

To be fair, I think the fact I didn’t hear from Swanson’s office was not due to a deliberate attempt to stonewall, but rather because a lot of administrators including Cal Poly President Michael Ortiz were away last week in North Carolina, attending the Duke exhibition game.

Nevertheless, when I asked Swanson if he gave the order last spring, he said he could not confirm or deny doing so. Former members of the team were very candid in their assessment of the administration’s handling of the cuts to the program and are wondering if restoration will come anytime soon.

Here are some excerpts from my interview with Jennifer Chow, former member of the women’s tennis team:

“I understood what was happening last year and the reasoning behind cutting the program, but at the end of the day my biggest thing is as a university administrator, your job is ultimately to support your students and to give them opportunities whether it’s through classes, extracurricular activities, whatever.”

Chow, who still holds a high position on the Broncos Athletics Association, went on to say she thinks the timing of the news was not only suspect, but it interfered with the team’s progress.

“When we heard the news it was the middle of our season, the end of finals week, before spring break. I’ve analyzed it a million times over, that move was calculated, you can’t tell me that the news breaking out then wasn’t perfect timing for the school. When they told us, we still had the biggest matches in our conferences coming up and we were in good position to win conference and make the post-season. For us to have that bomb dropped on us, it was more pressure than we’d ever imagined.”

As for the basketball rally T-shirt incident, Jackie Trendt, also formerly on the team had this to say:

“We were standing in front but they didn’t want us to be in the pictures. They told us if we wanted to wear the shirts, we had to stand behind everybody. Brian said he didn’t want us to take the attention away from the basketball players, I understand where he was coming from, but our intention was not to take away from the basketball players at all, we were there supporting them too.”

Trendt said she felt the administration had little interest in saving the program.

“At that time, I felt like they didn’t really care at all, like they didn’t care, or even wanted to save the program, that’s really how I felt.”

“We just thought if we wore our shirts, it would get our message out because we knew so many people would be there,” said Trendt.

Evidently, Cal Poly Pomona’s Athletic Director felt differently.

Salvador (Chico) Romero, a member of the defunct men’s tennis team agreed with Trendt. He said their intention was never to detract from the celebration, but to seek help from people present at the event.

“We were frustrated because we could not express what we wanted, what we felt,” he said.

Happy anniversary dear blog

October 27, 2010

Well time does sure fly. Earlier today I registered for what is scheduled to be my final quarter at Cal Poly Pomona, if all goes as planned.

It feels like yesterday that I transferred in from Mt.SAC and looked around in awe of building 1 and the vastness of my new school, ready to tackle come what may.

Exactly a year ago I also created this blog. Originally it was supposed to serve as a repository for my Poly Post articles, and whatever other creative writing work I did, and as a place where I could comment on the trials and tribulations of a student reporter, but as I became more and more aware of issues on campus and throughout the CSU, it shifted focus to reporting and blogging about the ongoing issues facing students at our home school.

I hope that I have been diligent enough and done a good enough job of writing about some of the vital issues which faced our campus and our school system this past year. You can check the archives and judge for yourselves. Even though there are no more furloughs at CPP, they are still around at the state level and I am sure that the budgetary woes plaguing our campus are not 100 percent over, as much as I would like them to be.

I hope I get more time to write and comment about more relevant issues. Right now, with classes it isn’t as easy, but I still hope to post regularly.

Thus begins year two. Stick around.

controversial propositions on the ballot

October 26, 2010

originally published in the Poly Post

California’s registered voters will once again take to the ballot boxes on Nov. 2 to decide the fate of a number of crucial propositions.

To help voters make more informed decisions at the ballot box, here is a summary of what voting “yes” or “no” on a few controversial measures may mean for the state’s future: Proposition 25, a state Constitutional amendment initiative, and Proposition 19, the marijuana initiative.

A recent University of Southern California/Los Angeles Times poll revealed a majority of likely voters in California oppose the ballot initiative, while interviews conducted with students by the Post indicates the opposite might be true at Cal Poly Pomona.

PROPOSITION 25

If passed, Proposition 25 would lower the vote needed to pass the state budget from the two-thirds to a majority vote. State lawmakers would permanently lose salary as well as living and travel expenses for every day the budget was late.

According to the voter’s guide, every year state lawmakers have to pass a budget laying out how state money will be spent. It takes a two-thirds majority vote by the State Senate and State Assembly to pass the budget.

The Governor can veto all or part of the budget. In such a case, it takes a two-thirds vote in each house for lawmakers to override a veto and undo changes by the Governor.

Given lawmakers have seldom passed a budget on time in the past 30 years, when a budget is not in place on July 1, paychecks for state officeholders are delayed and then paid in full once a budget eventually is passed.

The California Teachers Association is one organization supporting Proposition 25.

CTA Spokesperson Frank Wells said Proposition 25 would benefit K-12 and higher education.

“We have a late state budget every year.” Wells said, speaking in favor of Proposition 25. “It affects schools because they can’t plan ahead. We are one of only three states that requires a two-thirds majority vote,”

Wells said the Proposition will penalize lawmakers.

“It’s really ridiculous that they can’t meet their constitutional deadline. It all boils down to politics, and it really does wreak havoc with the schools because they have to err on the side of not having enough money,” said Wells.

Wells said Proposition 25 will make it too easy for one political party to control state spending.

“We have a majority of the Democrats in the legislature right now, but this can be addressed by things like better campaigning,” said Wells. “It’s done that way in other states.”

Wells said that complex propositions have a tendency to confuse prospective voters.

“They are kind of technical and that tends to make people’s eyes glaze over,” said Wells.

According to no25yes26.com, a coalition of taxpayers, small businesses and environmental experts, Proposition 25 would be harmful to local businesses who are already struggling to stay in business. The Pomona Chamber of Commerce is listed on the website opposing Proposition 25.

At press time, Frank Garcia, executive director of the Pomona Chamber’s board of director referred questions regarding Proposition 25 to Adriana Robledo, vice president of government affairs.

Robledo said the Chamber’s legislative committee makes recommendations on the propositions and the board then votes to approve those recommendations.

PROPOSITION 19

If Proposition 19 passes, it would allow anyone age 21 or older to grow or possess small quantities of marijuana for personal use. State and local governments could then regulate and tax the production and sale of the drug.

According to the voter information guide, supporters feel California is wasting money tracking down and jailing people whose only crime is using marijuana. Supporters believe we should regulate and tax marijuana like alcohol, and use the money on vital services, especially given the economic shortfalls the state has currently experienced.

Alicia Santos, a third-year theater student said she would probably vote in favor of legalizing the drug.

“Most of the people I know who do smoke pot are really responsible They smoke pot because it’s a good way to relax, they don’t see it as a drug, and it’s not a gateway drug either,” said Santos, “It’s like smoking a cigarette, and if smoking a cigarette is a gateway drug, then God knows what else.”

Santos said with so many people growing the drug, she worried it might be hard for the government to control it, but she believes the positives outweigh the potential drawbacks.

“They could put funding back into schools or more medical research or green technology,” she said. “There’s so many things they could do with that tax money, the problem is how are they going to control all the suppliers so that they can tax it and how do we know that it’s not going to be another corrupt bureaucracy where people are getting kick backs for growing.”

Dana Robertson, a third-year civil engineering student disagreed.

“I think there’s always going to be budget problems and just finding a new thing to tax isn’t going to solve it,” said Robertson. “I would rather not have something like that legal in the state of California.”

“The number of underage drinkers is like a phenomenal number and I think the same thing might happen with marijuana, I think a lot more people would use it,” he said.

Furloughs suspended for now

October 21, 2010

originally published in the Poly Post

Employee and faculty furloughs are a thing of the past at Cal Poly Pomona, but administrators and university officials caution against painting too rosy a budgetary picture despite an increase in state and federal funding.

“The budget situation does not look as dark as it did a year ago,” said Tim Lynch, senior media communications coordinator for Cal Poly Pomona, “It’s because the university took several steps including furloughs and cost containment measures like eliminating the state supported summer school.”

At Thursday’s Pizza With the Presidents, President Michael Ortiz expressed his own appreciation of the absence of furloughs.

“Hooray to the absence of furloughs,” said Ortiz. “Everyone was affected by that.”

Erik Fallis, public media relations specialist for the California State University Office of the Chancellor, said the CSU received $106 million in federal funding for this year’s budget and $199 million in restoration funding from the state; $60.6 million of which is allocated for enrollment growth.

“The reason we had furloughs was because of the dramatic decrease in state support to the CSU system over the last couple of years,” said Fallis.

He said the CSU system saved approximately $250 to $300 million as a result of furloughs and other cost saving actions such as reducing enrollment and budget cuts throughout all the campuses.

“This year there are no furloughs because we were better able to plan for the budget, as opposed to last year.”

However, Fallis explained the increase in funding does not necessarily translate into a reduction of tuition fees.

“When the fees were raised by 5 percent in June, the Board of Trustees [said] that they would look at the fee policy after the state budget was passed. Revisions of policies regarding tuition fess have to be voted on by the board,” said Fallis.

Since there was no budget in place in June, the budget the staff at the Chancellor’s office recently received differs from previous proposals, primarily because of the inclusion of federal funds from the American Recovery and Restoration Act.

Fallis said the absence of furloughs and additional funding would not necessarily lead to job security for part time and adjunct faculty. Rather, it would depend on the institutional need for more lecturers.

“Last year there were lecture contracts that reduced the number of lectures that were offered. If we are increasing funding this year, that’s likely to have the opposite effect,” Fallis said.

University Provost and vice president of academic affairs Marten denBoer said last year’s furloughs helped offset the need to let additional lecturers go. He said the university is looking into investing in additional course sections as part of the graduation initiative.

David Speak, chair of Cal Poly’s Political Science Department, said it was good that furloughs were not planned for this academic year.

 

“They did save a substantial amount of change. The problem is when you saved that money, it’s still an administrative decision where the money goes,” said Speak.

Speak said he voted for the furloughs because he thought it was best for everyone at the time, even though a lot of faculty were let go.

Administrators did not make it clear whether an increase in funding would lead to increases in operational expenses, student assistants and/or equipment.

“All departments are engaged in serious cost-containment efforts,” said Lynch.

Even though Cal Poly Pomona still faces fiscal obligations including energy costs not covered by the general fund increases, Lynch said via e-mail the university is moving forward with several green initiatives to offset some costs of power.

“Every department on campus is working aggressively to pare costs, which will help address future challenges. What those future challenges are remain unknown,” said Lynch, ” As President Ortiz mentioned, the election next month offers voters two clear contrasts about the future direction of governance in the state.”

Jonathan Maya, a third-year graphic design student said he didn’t like the furloughs.

“Last year it was more than just budget cuts: We were paying more for tuition and not getting as much out of it because we had fewer lectures,” said Maya.

Jasmine Lowe, a third-year English student said she thinks getting rid of the furloughs is academically good for everybody.

“We have more study time and there’s more time in the classrooms and professors get to cover more material,” she said.

Lowe said she worries about the future of higher education and would like to see more class sections offered this year.

“For some reason I still could not get into English 105. There are just not enough sections and I always miss out. It’s awful.”


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