State senators visit Cal Poly Pomona

By Andre Karimloo

The future of higher education in relation to California’s
budget woes were discussed as the California Senate Budget and
Fiscal Review Committee met at Cal Poly Pomona on Friday.

Eight of the 16 members of the committee, all of whom are part
of the California Senate, met in Ursa Major to discuss possible
solutions to the remaining $13.6 billion deficit California faces.

Three panels were created to discuss the effect Governor Jerry
Brown’s proposed all-cuts budget will have on the panel’s
respective field.

One such panel focused on higher education and was made up by
Chancellor Timothy White of UC Riverside, President Michael Ortiz
of Cal Poly Pomona and President Gloria Macias Harrison of Crafton
Hills College.

Members of the committee initially expressed concern for higher
education if the budget deficit is not settled by the deadline set
for July 1.

“We are on the verge of dismantling one of the finest higher
educational systems the world has ever known,” said Sen. Alan
Lowenthal. “We have cut tremendously, any more will do severe
damage.”

The state has already cut $500 million from the California State
University system alone. If the all-cuts budget is approved,
another $550 million will be taken.

This amounts to a $55 million cut to Cal Poly Pomona, 43 percent
of the school’s $129 million operating budget.

Ortiz put the effects of the possible cuts to Cal Poly Pomona in
perspective for the committee by using the three colleges with the
highest enrollment as examples.

“If we eliminated those three colleges, we would still not be
able to survive an all-cuts budget,” said Ortiz. “That would mean
we have thousands of students that would go uneducated, and as you
can see, we just couldn’t make it work.”

He also used the division of Student Affairs, Administrative
Affairs, Instructional and Information Technology and University
Advancement to show the possible damage the budget cut could
do.

“If you take all four divisions, wipe them out, it wouldn’t be
enough to address the impact of an all-cuts budget,” said
Ortiz.

Ortiz also said campus’s all across the CSU system would be
forced to cut back on the amount of students the school would be
able to educate.

“Collectively, a much smaller CSU would be forced to turn away
tens of thousands of students who would be among the academic and
economic elite,” said Ortiz. “All others need not apply.”

White said that any more cuts to the education system would
diminish the role of California in the world.

“An all-cuts budget is not an option, it is an unmitigated
disaster,” said White. “If we continue down this path to dismantle
the greatest university in the world, we will be a diminished state
and we will not recover in our lifetime, or our children’s.”

White said that across all University of California campuses,
there is an average of four inventions per day. If the state were
to cut from university research departments, the affect on the
state as a whole would be catastrophic.

“We need to invest in the workforce ” not less ” but more,” said
White.

The first panel that spoke to the committee was made up by local
law enforcement representatives from the Inland Empire. They
voiced concern over cuts to police forces and other sectors of
public safety.

The last panel consisted of people involved in K-12 education
from surrounding cities and counties. Concern over increase in
class size and dismissal of teachers was the focus of the
discussion.

The public commentary portion of the meeting was held to only
four people due to time constraints.

State senators visit Cal Poly Pomona

Aaron Bagamaspad / The Poly Post

State senators visit Cal Poly Pomona

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