The talk around campus is the speculation of looming budget cuts of some departments and programs. The forensics team is one of the programs that could be heavily affected.
One of the cuts that would possibly take place would be in travel for tournaments.
Jean Perry, language arts division chair and director of forensics, said, “the speech and debate team is funded from a number of sources and always has been. The ASGCC (the Associated Student Body) is providing about $7,400, which goes for entry fees and travel this year. The administration has provided about $3,400 for travel and supplies.
Additionally, the administration pays for salaries for the coaching.”
However the amount of money given to this program has decreased from what it was just a few years back. Perry adds, “the travel and supply funding from both the administration and the ASGCC is down this year by about $15,000 from last year, and down $10,000 from 2005-2006. This is particularly difficult since the size of the squad has quadrupled.”
Budget cuts mean less away-from-campus tournaments for the forensics team. Some of these tournament destinations include: Texas, Florida and Northern California. So far this year, the team has performed quite well, finishing first in some events.
“Slashing our budget would be devastating to our squad, said Ira Heffler, coach of the forensics team and speech professor. “It would limit the number of students we could take to a competition and it would limit the number of competitions we could attend.”
“The away tournaments which the speech and debate team attends are not frivolous tournaments attended for the sake of going away,” said Perry. “They are the tournaments for which students have qualified, in much the same way student athletes qualify for their state and national games. These are our equivalent of bowl games.”
While attending these tournaments, students are able to win scholarships. “Students vie to qualify for the state and national tournaments as a reward. These tournaments are the measure of their success at the local level and are often where four-year schools determine which students will be offered scholarships,” said Perry.
The forensics program is a valuable learning tool to the many that participate. Students gain a familiarity in communication, critical thinking, research, listening, current events and most importantly teamwork.
Forensics vice president and team member Tiffany Brian said, “my major is Poli Sci. I am currently enrolled in Poli Sci 101 and I am noticing how much more information from debates, like current events and knowledge of congressional and federal policy, carry over from one subject to another. I’m studying for my Poli Sci exams without even realizing it.”
The speculated budget cuts would be devastating to the Forensics team, which has in three years become a major force at the local, state and national levels.