Lily Lou, Staff Writer
April 10, 2015
“Guilford is treating (CCE students) like second- class citizens,” said CCE sophomore Jeffrey Ray at the event, “Help Save Your CCE Program,” organized by the CCE Student Government Association.
The event began after rumors of Guilford College ending its CCE program emerged.
“We have become targets to stop the bleeding on campus,” said Ray in The Buzz. “We are now painted with a red bullseye target to show our removal in order for the college to move forward with the $2 million deficit.”
At the event, enraged CCE students spoke out in hopes of protecting the CCE program, which many adults who seek an education depend on.
“Everyone needs an education,” said CCE senior Matthew Oberg. “Some of us don’t go to college straight out of high school. Sometimes we need somewhere we can go to get an education to better our lives, which is what the CCE program provides us with.”
However, since CCE enrollment fell almost 40 percent in the past three years and Guilford’s deficit is predicted to hit $4 million, Guilford is restructuring both its traditional and CCE programs.
“President Jane Fernandes is working with a budget reduction group, including faculty and staff, to align expenses with revenues for FY 2016 and beyond,” said Ty Buckner, associate vice president of communications and marketing in The Buzz. “Understandably, there are concerns about budget cuts. However, rumors are circulating about decisions that have not been made. For example, CCE is not being eliminated.”
CCE is not being eliminated, but some CCE classes have been cut — including all Saturday classes, seven of 126 evening classes and some summer classes — causing students to petition to protect the CCE program.
“There were only three courses offered on Saturday in Fall 2014, and enrollment was below ten for two of the three,” said Vice President for Academic Affairs and Academic Dean Adrienne Israel in an email interview. “Student demand for classes as well as student need for courses that satisfy a major determine, for the most part, whether or not they are offered. Student demand and need indicate that Saturday classes should be suspended for the time being not necessarily forever.”
Summer classes have been cut for similar reasons.
“Summer school courses are offered based on student demand/need,” said Israel. “Summer school enrollment has dropped in proportion to the decline in CCE enrollment. That is the reason why fewer classes might be scheduled for Summer 2015 than for Summer 2014. Another reason might be the availability of faculty to teach Summer courses.”
Some CCE students are concerned with the two percent tuition raise for all students.
“At a time when Guilford is looking for ways to cut its expenses … to have raised tuition at a two percent level when the national average is 3.6 percent is a positive message of how the college has prioritized access, the cost of college and the student experience,” said Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Students Todd Clark.
Guilford is also merging the admissions office for CCE student and traditional students under one vice president for enrollment. The Registrar’s office will be handling all transcript evaluations for traditional and CCE students.
“We’re trying to reduce duplication that we see now by having two separate admissions offices,” said Guilford President Jane Fernandes. “It doesn’t mean that there aren’t specialists in adult education … it’s only an attempt to strengthen the CCE program.”
Some students are concerned about the possibility of moving the Office of Communications and Advancement to Hendricks Hall and moving the CCE student lounge out, despite CCE students paying $33,000 in renovations through student fees.
“There is nowhere else that CCE students can feel welcomed besides Hendricks Hall,” said CCE student president and senior Monica Jones. “Hendricks has always been a one-stop shop for CCE students.
“You can come in here after five o’clock to talk to a financial aid advisor. Your student government is here. Your advisers are here … everything you need is here, but now that you get rid of all the supporting staff, where are CCE students supposed to feel connected?”
This move, however, may help ease the college’s deficit.
“If we cut the lease (with the company that owns the office space), we will probably save three staff positions,” said Fernandes. “(We’re looking) at what’s possible. It’s possible that the Office of Advancement and Communications will move into Hendricks. They were in there before. Maybe they could move to New Garden … There are all kinds of options on the table. Regardless of what might happen, we would not abandon the CCE students.”
CCE students have fought against these potential changes to the CCE program by starting a petition.
“The Student Government Association is collecting signatures in hopes (of dissuading) administration from what we feel is a dismantling of the Center for Continuing Education,” said a flyer from the CCE Student Government Association. “We also feel that some of the proposed initiatives to help eliminate the College’s debt may not be in the interests of the students, traditional or CCE.”
Some CCE students are also upset because of the lack of communication between Guilford and its students over the budget cuts.
“If Guilford would at least have a meeting with us, listen to our concerns and tell us what’s going on, it would ease the panic,” said CCE junior Jessica Hilliard.
Despite this, Guilford is keeping its students in mind when making decisions over budget cuts.
“In the decision-making process for budget cuts, the goal is to have the least possible negative impact on students,” said Center for Continuing Education Assistant Dean Martee Holt. “Students are our first priority. Right now the college is facing a budget crisis that will require some tough decisions and changes in the way the college operates. We can operate differently and still provide a great student experience.”