Faculty protest half a million dollar budget cut


Un grupo grande de estudiantes y de facultad llegaron a la protesta. Foto tomada por Maki Chapman, Oct.18.

Protestors rallied outside of Kendall Hall on Oct. 18, to discuss the pay cuts to various, smaller departments across Chico State’s campus, including the language departments, philosophy, comparative religion and humanities as well as the history department.

The protest was organized by Robin Averbeck, a lecturer of the history department and member of the California Faculty Association. Averback found out Thursday night that all of those departments are getting a collective $500,000 deduction from their budgets.

Robin Averbeck, the main organizer for the protest. Photo taken by Maki Chapman on Oct. 18.

Averbeck made a speech during the protest, saying that the most powerful person on campus got a 29% raise, in reference to Chico State President Gayle Hutchinson, while people at the bottom are getting laid off.

Andrew Lavin, a philosophy lecturer who has a two-year-old daughter and recently purchased a house, is getting laid off next semester. He said that because of this, he has “no confidence in the Chico State administration.”

Andrew Lavin, one of the speakers at the protest. Photo taken by Maki Chapman on Oct 18.

Some faculty are getting classes to teach, but not enough to qualify for health care benefits. Susan Green, department chair of multicultural and gender studies, suggested that faculty be able to trade certain things. 

“I want to trade my sick leave so Robin can teach a class,” Green said.

Juan Araujo-Sariñana, a lecturer in the biological sciences department, offered a more radical solution. 

“In reality, we have the power,” Araujo-Sariñana said. “I don’t want to go on strike, but I will.” 

This is a repeat of the same threat the faculty leveled at the administration months ago when discussing this year’s budget. Due to the threat of a strike, the faculty received a 3% raise, but that was before the budget cuts.

In response, “the University greatly appreciates all the work our faculty, including lecturers, do to support our students,” Chico State’s public information officer Sean Murphy said. “And while enhancing student success is our core priority, we can only accomplish that when each college operates within their annual budget… We remain committed to working with CFA to address the budgetary impacts of declining enrollment.”

Maki Chapman can be reached at [email protected].