64 Lecturer positions were not reappointed about a month before the first day of class.

64 Lecturer positions were not reappointed about a month before the first day of class.

By Gabe Wanissian, Editor In Chief

The 64 full-time lecturers and 150 parttime position cuts that occurred over the summer as cost cutting measures are signs of a “a reality we have to face,” said Bergen Community College spokesman Larry Hlavenka, Jr. “In these times, we have to work within the confines of a budget, we still have to ensure that we are not putting it on the backs of the students.” Nearly $934,000 will be saved from the lecturer cuts, and around $1,000,000 will be saved for the 150 part time positions that were either removed, or had their hours reduced, Hlavenka said.

“This is impacting the students,” said Business Department Chair and head of ADCO (Academic Department Chairs Organization) Professor Robert Saldarini; three lecturers were let go, and 15 classes were canceled, reassigned or accommodated in his department. Not all courses that were dropped were due to the lecturer cuts, said Saldarini, as classes that do not meet a certain registration number may also be dropped.

Saldarini said there had been word since March that lecturers may not be reappointed for the fall semester, in which ADCO filed a resolution to administration to mitigate the lecturer cuts around the end of the spring semester.
“There were lot of concerns amongst chairs about cutting into academic programs in this point of time,” said Saldarini. “If we had running room, maybe we would have time to properly find adjuncts, but this became a sort of crisis.” Saldarini expressed that for the majority of the chairs, replacing lecturers for online courses proved to be more difficult, due to the smaller availability of suitable adjuncts that had completed TOPP certification needed to teach the courses.

“Having been a department chair before, I know that it’s tight, said Dr. William Mullaney, Vice President of Academic Affairs. Mullaney, who had been chair of Humanities and Languages in Chandler-Gilbert Community College back in 2005 added that, “this is not fun for any supervisor to have to let people go, but when the final budget numbers came in, it was about how were we going to best handle this loss.”

Bergen tuition will increase 1.89 percent this upcoming year, which will be lower than the national 2.9 percent increase for public two year colleges, according to The College Board.

Students have also had to maneuver around the lecturer cuts, Phi Theta Kappa VP Andrew Fenwick had an honors sociology class that was cancelled after professor Maria Flynn was not reappointed as lecturer. “It was hard to find another class that fit with my schedule,” said Fenwick. The class he found to replace it was then dropped due to the low registration count.“I needed it to meet my requirement to graduate with honors.”

“This is not fun for any supervisor to have to let people go, but when the final budget numbers came in, it was about how were we going to best handle this loss.”

For the lecturers not returning as adjuncts, there may be difficulties in finding full-time jobs elsewhere at this time of the year, said Communication Department Chair Professor Elin Schickler. “It makes things difficult for them.”

Former lecturer Clifford Evan Weinstein wrote an opinion piece for The Record back on August 12, criticising the
college’s move and saying that both the effect in morale and reduced working conditions going from lecturer to adjunct may negatively impact the faculties ability to execute their job optimally.

“Is there another industry in America that would ask employees to come back to work under similar circumstances and expect the same level of job performances?” said Weinstein in the piece.

Lecturers carry a fulltime load and get paid $19,300 a semester plus benefits, whilst adjuncts can earn up to $6,300 (potentially $8,400 if approved to teach an additional fourth class) a semester with no benefits.

Faculty Senate Chair and Longtime professor Dr. Alan Kaufman shared that the timing in the cuts may lead to “selecting people who may not be qualified for these courses,” during July’s Board of Trustees Meeting.

President B. Kaye Walter remained hopeful during September’s BOT meeting, saying “we have exceptional adjuncts
here, they are exceptional faculty just as lecturers and our tenure track.”


Part 2: 150 Part-Time Positions Cut

Numerous part-time staff learned on June 30, they would either have their hours reduced or let go from their positions, effective immediately.

“It had nothing to do with what they have done for the college, because a lot of them did an excellent job for the college,” said Executive Director of Human Resources, Jim Miller.

Once the cuts went in motion during July’s Board of Trustees meeting, Miller was informed by BCC Chairman E. Carter Corriston to send a letter out to former part time employees, seven days after they were relieved of their duties.

Both the Math Department and English departments were closed for the following week, as the part time counselors were no longer eligible to cover for the full time secretaries who were away on vacation and thus unable to assist students, said Faculty Senate Chair and professor Dr. Alan Kaufman at the July BOT meeting.

“It was difficult to be honest, to sit them down and tell them that this was it. Especially for the ones who worked here for a lengthy period of time,” said Theatre supervisor Tom O’Neill.

O’Neill expressed concern for safety after the formerly eight person part time staff possibly got narrowed down to one, until it was agreed with Human Resources to keep four part-timers. “If you start cutting back on people,there will be less people taking care of those things, and that’s the workshop, lighting, soundbooth and [the Ciccone Theatre and Ender Hall Lab Theatre stages],” said O’neil, “It becomes a risk for people on stage.”

The Theatre Department also received a 15 percent cut in their budget, which may affect production quality, said Bergenstages producer Jim Bumgardner. “I remain hopeful, but this is a reality that we are facing today. I know there are things we will not be able to do now, so we may have to get more resourceful.”

Budgets were also cut for various student organizations and clubs, including Student Government Association, as well as various student retreats including Leadership and Diversity Weekend, According to the Office of Student Life,

Full-time BCC nurse Barbara Buff shared that the loss of part time nurses had affected service during the summer and expects the volume of students during the fall to make things more challenging. “One day students brought paperwork and athletes got physicals, we probably saw around 60-80 students that day, it took us nearly four hours when usually it would be finished much sooner,” said Buff. Night shift nurses would no longer be available during night hours, said Buff.

“Student safety is something Human Resources takes very seriously.” said Miller.

After Lyndhursts part-time Academic Counselor Katie Heir was let go, BCC counselors from the Paramus campus began seeing students once a month at the Meadowlands campus alongside office assistant Maggie McCarthy.

“It provides basic coverage for students in Lyndhurst,” says Transfer Counselor Gene Calderon, “but the rotation of counselors makes it “harder for the student to build chemistry with one counselor].”

“If there’s a demonstrated need, the college will look into whatever area based on the needs of the students and based on the needs of the institution,” said BCC spokesman Larry Hlavenka, Jr.