In the wake of several rounds of budget cuts, UCSC students have grown familiar with crashing classes.
We know about suspended majors and pink-slipped professors, and we are used to fighting tooth and nail for the very last space in every class. And we have been fortunate enough to have the support of our professors and lecturers through this struggle.
But the psychology department has gone above and beyond expectations in its recent decision to offer additional senior seminars, which will be taught by department faculty who will not receive immediate compensation — all so students can graduate on time.
Psychology majors felt the impact of budget cuts in the weeks after enrollment for spring quarter began, more so than most other students. On the day permission codes for enrollment in psychology senior seminars were handed out, 200 students lined the halls of the department offices, some since 6 a.m. that morning, all hoping to receive one of the estimated 70 spots available.
After around 100 frustrated students were turned away, the department scrambled to find a solution, ultimately asking faculty members to teach additional classes. In an e-mail to psychology students, department chair Avril Thorne said the department hoped to compensate the volunteering educators “somewhere down the line.”
It is easy to become complacent, to lose heart and accept the continued attacks on our education. The faculty members who have stepped up and prioritized their students over their wallets have provided the support we need to continue pushing back against budget cuts that threaten our majors. The psychology students who will now graduate on time are undoubtedly grateful, and the rest of us applaud and thank these faculty members for their actions. But ultimately, they shouldn’t have to do it. Our lecturers and professors shouldn’t have to work for free. Ensuring that all students get the best education they can should be the university and the state’s first priority.
Thorne asks students to contact their legislators and demand that Gov. Jerry Brown’s measure that would extend current tax rates to prevent deeper cuts to state spending be put on the ballot. We must hold the university accountable as well. It should have been our administrators who communicated with students about the problem and found a solution.
In the end, this will be just another temporary solution to a growing problem, and we must hold the university accountable. Educating students is the UC’s job, and we must make sure they do it.