Mass Comm Students Prove Their ‘Street Smarts’ to Save Classes

El Vaquero Editor in Chief

The whole state of California has this huge deficit,” said Steve White, vice president of instructional services, “so the solution so far from Sacramento is to cut spending…. This year’s solution was to cut education.”

Indeed, in the midst of the state budget crisis, the California Legislature has decided to put education, especially at community colleges, first in line for the chopping block.

But one class of students, along with faculty and staff throughout GCC, devised a plan to make sure Sacramento knows that this community college is not giving up.

On March 13, Mike Eberts, associate professor of mass communications, and 52 students from his mass communications 101 classes attended a TV show taping for “Street Smarts,” a teenage game show.

In being part of the audience, the students raised $816 for the GCC “Save a Class” fund, which was started by White and Larry Serot, vice president of administrative services (in conjunction with the Glendale College Foundation) in an attempt to save classes that have been canceled as a result of the budget cuts.

“One of the things I like about ‘Save a Class,’ ” said Eberts, “is that it cuts through the helplessness that teachers, students and others feel in regard to the state budget crisis.”

“‘Save a Class’ suggests we can do something … it sure beats just sitting around and worrying about how many classes will be cut and whether the Legislature will come to our rescue.”

According to White, about 160 class sections were cut from the spring 2003 schedule, with about a total of 350 class sections estimated to be cut for the upcoming summer 2003, fall 2003, winter 2004 and spring 2004 schedules.

The state has slashed the college’s funding by more than 50 percent, according to White, and while administrators have tried to put classes at the end of the chopping block, classes have had to be cut anyway.

“The chances of getting shut out of classes in the coming semesters are high,” White said.

But with students and faculty trying their best to find ways to raise money, there seems to be hope for the future.

Student Chris Mavian, who attended the “Street Smarts” taping, presented the check to White at a presentation in front of one of Ebert’s mass communications 101 classes on April 30.

“This money equals about a quarter of the cost to open a class,” said White at the presentation, adding that fund-raising efforts are on the right track.

According to White, “Save the Classes” fund organizers are hoping to raise between $20,000 and $30,000 by next fall. That would ensure the opening of about 20 more classes.

Other efforts by faculty and clubs on campus to raise money for the fund include the recent basketball tournament organized by the athletic department throughout April.

“By showing [the state] what college students and faculty are doing to raise money, it should help put some pressure on them about the issue,” White said.