They’re scrambling to add new classes and forced to pick up part-time jobs – this is what some students at San Jose State University are experiencing after the state cut tens of millions of dollars in funding for California State University schools. But it’s not state leaders they’re mad at, at this campus, anger is growing toward the university president, Mohammad Qayoumi.
He cut millions in programs paid for by the school’s general fund. Academic Affairs, which refers to all of the classes and lectures, took the biggest hit with a loss of a least 500 sections. Professor Jonathan Roth, who’s been teaching at SJSU for 20 years, says he and his colleagues are angry at what was not cut: the Athletics program, University Advancement, which fundraises for the school, and the President’s Office.
“Hundreds of lecturers are being lost, thousands of classes being lost ,” said Roth. “This year we’re paying 5.5 million dollars out of the general fund, which pays for classes, going to athletics. That means you’re making a choice. You’re having a Division 1 athlete program instead of classes.”
SJSU spokeswoman Pat Harris says the money raised by the Athletics program trickles down to the rest of the campus.
“Some of our largest donors, the ones giving ten to 15 million dollars, they came to us through athletics, so it’s an important way for us to help our students grow.”
Roth disagrees. He believes Qayoumi’s decision to spare his own President Office budget, albeit a small slice of the general fund at just $1.6 million, was a poor representation of his leadership. He adds his colleagues are also upset by Qayoumi’s base salary of $328,000 dollars.
“A much better model in my mind is the military. Generals do not make 300,000 dollars a year. The model for our president should not be a CEO, it should be a four-star general who runs a place much bigger than SJSU at much less cost.”
It’s an idea supported by some students who say it has been extremely difficult to get the classes they need. Sophomore Charley Zhao is having to search and add classes for Fall Semester for a second time, after registering for a full set of classes that were canceled.
“Out of nowhere they dropped the classes, so now I have no idea what I’m going to do.”
Zhao says he’ll have to pick up a part-time job to pay for a potentially longer stay at SJSU, and keep from losing his motivation to finish.
“It’s going to cost a lot of extra money, extra time – it’s a big problem.”
The university is holding a budget forum open to anyone who wants to give his or her input. That’s set to happen on September 10th from 11am to noon at the Morris Dailey Auditorium.