Calif. college paper saved from budget cuts for now

CALIFORNIA — The student newspaper at the College ofSequoias was spared from budget cuts last semester that eliminated roughly 80classes at the college. But if enrollment does not increase next year in theclasses that publish The Campus, school officials say that could mean theend of the 70-year-old campus newspaper. In May, thecollege’s board of trustees voted unanimously to recommend that the schooladministration eliminate four of the five journalism classes offered at thetwo-year college in Visalia, including the classes that produce TheCampus. But the administration decided afterward to cut only aphotojournalism class that four students enrolled in last semester. DaleNorton, dean of academic services, said the remaining classes were granted aone-year reprieve to give adviser Judy House an opportunity to increaseenrollment to 15 to 20 students. Less than 10 students were enrolled in the twoclasses that publish The Campus last semester. Norton saidif the newspaper classes continue to have low enrollment next year, the collegecould be forced to cancel them. But he added that they will be offered this fallregardless of the enrollment. The school will have to revisit thesituation at the end of the school year because of the continued state budgetconcerns. The estimated $2.2 billion education budget deficit inCalifornia has forced the college to cut back tremendously, Norton said. Earlierthis spring, the board of trustees passed a resolution eliminating 85 full-timepositions. That number was reduced to five in May, and Norton said two of thoseteachers have been rehired. Several adjunct faculty also were fired and thecollege cut 80 courses from its fall schedule, he added. “Fromwhat I have heard, next year’s budget in California is going to be evenworse than the one we are facing this year,” Norton said. “Next yearwe are going to have to look at every single program and service we provide andmake a decision on what we can continue to offer.”John Zumwalt,president of the board, said the school would save about $80,000 for eachfaculty member that was fired. “It is not a good way to have afirst-class institution, but it is a way to survive,” he said. “Andin California that is what you have to do.”House submitted aproposal to the administration last semester with goals to help the journalismprogram survive, including recruitment strategies and possible curriculumchanges that could combine some of the journalism classes to increaseenrollment. The Campus is produced in two courses, one open for thenewspaper editorial board and the other for the entire staff. “Thereality is that we are looking for increased numbers than what we have seen inthe past,” Norton said. House maintains that the newspaper classesare not meant to be large lecture courses. She said the editorial board coursein the past was comprised of the newspaper’s editors, but next year shesaid she will open the class to other students in hopes that it will increaseenrollment. House said she hopes the journalism program now willattract more students because of a partnership recently formed with three localnewspapers, the Visalia Times-Delta, the Tulare Advance Registerand the Hanford Sentinel. House said the Sentinel, which printsThe Campus, offered to increase the student newspaper’spress run from 2,000 to 5,000 at no extra charge. The Sentinel also willpublish a portion of The Campus in the community paper once a month, sheadded. “The program was good to begin with,” she said.“The changes we are going to make will only make itbetter.”Amy Pack, publisher of the Visalia Times-Delta andthe Tulare Advance-Register, said the newspapers will provide mentoringprograms to students studying both journalism and marketing. Pack saidthe newspapers may assist The Campus financially in the future.“The newspaper is an important part of campus life,” Packsaid. “We wanted to do what we could to see that preserved, protected andenhanced.”Suzanne Yada, the incoming editor in chief of TheCampus, said she felt a tremendous amount of pressure to help keep the paperat the college. “I feel we have to overwork our staff to provethat we are essential,” she said. “On one hand I am scared to deathabout next year, but on the other hand I am particularly honored because this isa great time to be a student journalist. With the budget crisis, our readers arelooking to the newspaper for the facts.”

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