Students and Faculty team up against proposed budget cuts

A rally of young and veteran minds came together to express their disdain over the state’s proposal to take away funding for FSCJ.

Thursday, of May 25, presented the opportunity for the students of FSCJ and faculty alike to voice a very serious concern that could possibly twist and turn the everyday resources used at FSCJ. A concern that could alter the futures of high school students that may need more than one option in attending college. FSCJ is one of the many other options available to individuals looking for accessible education.

The press conference started with Nadia Esha, current president of the FSCJ student government association shining light on the budget situation. “The legislative has posted a budget that will cut near approximately thirty million dollars from the Florida college system. FSCJ will be funded nearly three million dollars less than we were last year,” Ms. Esha said. The press conference included an array of students and faculty such as the downtown campus chefs, who stood next to the speaker’s platform and showed their support against the proposed budget cuts.

After the welcome by Nadia Esha, the next speaker included A.A. graduate Lyse Medina who shared her insight. “We are very concerned about this budget cut because we feel it might affect us and hundreds of thousands of students in the Florida college system,” Medina said. The message seems to be clear that the proposed budget cuts are quite alarming. The budget cuts present the realization that there may be no more alternative paths to take at FSCJ. If so called cuts are passed, future students who enroll at FSCJ might have to align themselves in the same programs as their other contemporaries.

Speaking to current Associate of Arts student Kyle Kerlew, the program he currently is in could possibly be eliminated from association with FSCJ. “I’m in a program called Year Up and if these budgets cuts get passed it will be cut. Year Up partners with FSCJ and it’s basically a six-month program that teaches students business skills for the real world. It also helps with internships. It gives us students a jump start,” Kerlew said. Year Up is an independent organization partnered with FSCJ. It’s a perfect example of the opportunities offered at the college that have been possible with the annual budget. YearUp.org says their mission is to close the opportunity divide by providing urban young adults with the skills, experience, and support that will empower them to reach their full potential through professional careers and higher education. Kerlew credits Year Up for the experiences he has had so far in his young life as he prepares to become a university transfer. The experiences that Kyle has had is in relation to other students all over FSCJ campuses, thanks to the connections the college has to its various independent organizations. With the proposed budget cuts looming over day by day, these joyous occasions may not come in their entirety anymore.

“If the college doesn’t receive any funding, the program’s going to get cut-off for sure,” Kerlew said. “These budget cuts are dangerous plain and simple. Like they said in the speech services like tutoring are in danger. Prices in the bookstore could possibly go up and this could affect programs that specialize in a certain area such as the aviation program at Cecil Center. It’s really important that we get our funding back,” he said.

Harvey Slentz, FSCJ Professor of Business law and Employment law, was also one of the individuals who took the stage to voice his concern over the proposed budget cuts.

“FSCJ is in the top twenty-five colleges in the entire United States in value as a four-year college.”

The proposed budget cuts not only threaten the opportunity for the future, but these cuts also threaten the synergy in the now between student and faculty and available services for students such as computer labs and the FSCJ Library Learning Commons. Mr. Slentz realizes how drastic these cuts could possibly affect the college and everyone involved. “In the short term we would expect cuts to employment and in the long term that’s when we can start to expect there would be cutting of services”. These budget cuts present serious scenarios that Mr. Slentz tries to express with words. The loss of educators for the students would become a detrimental situation that could result in multiple young minds misguided on their path of life. Harvey Slentz says “All employees contribute to student success”. The employees of FSCJ contribute in the vital role of helping their students succeed to the next level of life. “Students from FSCJ get some of the highest paying jobs in the state of Florida”. The proposed budget cuts that are due to FSCJ have brought a rumble to the ring that legislatures perhaps were not counting on. This fight is going down to the last round.

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