Posted at 3:30 p.m. Sept. 28, 2016

"Students and stakeholders perspectives need to come first, encouraging commitment to the plan through transparency and inclusiveness, disciplined decision making through evidence-based understanding and a humanistic approach that preserves the dignity and confidentiality of individuals impacted adversely by decisions made.”

Dr. Joe Schaffer

LCCC president

Students must have better understanding of planning

People most affected by budget issues seem to be least informed

If you came back to LCCC this fall and found out your degree program was to be discontinued, what would you do?

Would you be willing to start a different program? Or transfer somewhere else to finish what you were doing? Or rush through the program you’re in before it goes away? What happens when a non-traditional student needs two classes to finish a degree but the course section needed is no longer available?

Students suffer when academic programs are cut. But it’s an option that is on the table for LCCC as it struggles to cut $2.5 million from the 2017 budget and $4.5 million in 2018. These cuts are necessitated by a state economy that is no longer generating the revenue needed to keep LCCC at its current funding levels.

The cuts are coming, and no amount of complaining is going to change that. The cuts are going to hurt someone, somewhere, along the line. Are you going to sit by silently while that happens, or will you speak up for your favorite teacher, adviser or staff member who has been there for you?

And more importantly, if students are speaking up, is the administration listening?

President Dr. Joe Schaffer has launched the CORE Initiative, which is the process that will determine how the cuts are made. The CORE Initiative is governed by these four guidelines: “Students and stakeholders perspectives need to come first, encouraging commitment to the plan through transparency and inclusiveness, disciplined decision making through evidence-based understanding and a humanistic approach that preserves the dignity and confidentiality of individuals impacted adversely by decisions made.”

We applaud the idea that student perspectives need to come first. But isn’t the best way to ensure that students perspectives are represented would be to have more students engaged in the CORE process?

Students are welcome to share ideas on how to save money and make money with both committees, and both committees are making efforts to reach out to students for ideas. But they better act quickly, since the committees’ recommendations are due by mid-October.

CORE also heavily emphasizes transparency and honesty while dealing with the current budget situation, but things didn’t get off to a great start this summer.

The agenda for the July 20 Board of Trustees meeting that was sent via email did not include a notice that the board would discuss guiding principles for the budget crisis during a special dinner meeting prior to the regular meeting. The official agenda that was posted on LCCC’s website did include the notice. Wingspan had announced plans to broadcast the board meeting that night, but upon seeing the agenda Co-editor Jacob Hamel started the broadcast early. The board members’ discussion from that meeting can be viewed at Wingspan Online.

Executive assistant to the president Vicki Boering said “The email is just a quick look” and “Things are always in process. The

website is the final word,” concerning the discrepancies between the two documents. It’s not Boering’s job to alert the media and the public of every little change to meeting agendas. But in this case, more effort by the administration to ensure that this important discussion was had in the open would be appreciated.

The process of cutting millions of dollars from LCCC’s budget is not going to be pretty. But the administration should give students a bigger voice in the process while ensuring they adhere to the principles of the CORE initiative. So far, no losses to faculty or staff have been incurred, but they are not ruled out in the CORE Initiative.

When good people lose their job it isn’t just the institution that suffers. People have to find new careers and often times have to move somewhere new. As LCCC students and members of the Cheyenne community, we should do our best to keep the good people around even if it means going out on a limb to do it.


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