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CSULB Academic Senate discusses proposed budget cuts with Jane Close Conoley

Live music during commencement will be cut this year as a result of a lack in funds.

Lauren Martinez, Staff Writer

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Members of the Academic Senate gathered with President Jane Close Conoley Thursday to discuss what a limited fiscal budget could mean for students and faculty.

“I don’t see that we’ll be cutting, as much as we’ll be slowing down a lot of stuff,” Conoley said. “Most of our money is in salaries, so it’s going to be, who do we get to hire?”

Items such as resurfacing the parking lot and reducing costs at commencement ceremonies were discussed to help with the unexpected funding issues.

Multiple senate members offered criticisms regarding some of the proposed commencement ceremony changes. The removal of live music from the ceremony was one of the most common complaints.

“[We’re] trying to prepare for the worst, but will certainly celebrate the best,” Conoley said. “If we are awarded more than the current proposed amount… live music [at commencement] would be the first thing to come back.”

Due to Governor Jerry Brown’s proposed budget plan, many public universities like Cal State Long Beach will likely be in the red for the 2018-19 school term. Brown’s proposed budget, as California State’s Department of Finances reports, plans to minimize funding for Cal State schools; despite allocating $5 billion dollars to a rainy-day fund.  

“It’s not sufficient to meet the mandatory costs of healthcare, etc. and compensation contracts,” said academic senate member Praveen Soni. “The mandatory costs and compensation contracts cost $153 million and there’s only $92 million at this time.”

Conoley echoed this statement at the meeting, sharing that when preparing for even the worst-case scenario, she believed the school would be awarded $10 million more than what is currently proposed.  

The Academic Senate also discussed how adding a bachelor of arts biochemistry program could improve options for those interested in the field.

“The primary reason for this is to increase the flexibility for our students and give them more opportunities to proceed with their educational objectives,” said Chris Brazier, academic senate chair.

Brazier explained that the current bachelor of science biochemistry degree offered is a good option for those interested in pursuing graduate school following receiving their Bachelor of Science. However, for those interested in teaching, going to medical school, or pursuing a different career objective, the bachelor of arts biochemistry degree would be a better option.

“The idea is to have a slightly stripped down version of the bachelor’s of science degree, remove some of the requirements that are not strictly necessary for people to go forward with a degree in biochemistry, without necessarily planning on going on to further study that,” Brazier said.

The suggested program will have a second reading at a following meeting to fully consider this option and allow for suggested changes.

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