In last Thursday’s front-page article, (“Division Bundles Staff Under Budget Tension,” Daily Nexus, April 22) Dean Marshall lays out some revealing numbers about budget cuts to the Division of Humanities and Fine Arts. Of the 1.3 million that has been cut from the HFA budget since 2006, over 1 million dollars came from cutting lecturers and graduate student instructors. These numbers reflect the priorities of the UC administration.
It’s clear that lecturers are among the easiest employees to get rid of. For most lecturers, it’s just a matter of not renewing the annual or quarterly contracts on which they are hired. It’s also telling that so much of a budget deficit can be absorbed by layoffs of lecturers and TAs. The majority of student credit hours are taught by lecturers and TAs paid from temporary funds. Now, when all these temporary funds have supposedly dried up, we see the larger UC administration using the ensuing panic to forward policies that have reduced access, affordability and quality.
Lecturers and TAs teach almost all writing program courses, most first and second year language courses, and many lower division introductory courses, as well as some upper division and seminar courses. Lecturers are hired and rehired based on the high quality of their teaching.
Students should be asking Dean Marshall, Executive Vice Chancellor Lucas, and Chancellor Yang why 85 percent of the cuts over the last three years have come directly from people hired to teach. Students need to understand that each cut lecturer and TA position equals classes that won’t be taught, mentoring that will not happen and an ever-diminishing quality of students’ UC education.