Written by JAN LARSON McLAUGHLIN Sentinel County Editor
Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:25
Chanting slogans and carrying signs, an estimated 200 protesters marched on McFall Center at Bowling Green State University Wednesday.
|BGSU students march during a protest on campus. (Photos: J.D. Pooley/Sentinel-Tribune)
A few then hand-delivered a petition bearing more than 5,100 signatures to BGSU President Dr. Mary Ellen Mazey, asking that the university halt its plans to cut 100 faculty members by this fall.
Joining the march were faculty members afraid their departments would be crippled by the cuts, and students worried their education would be devalued.
"She's intending on firing 100 teachers," Ian Gaul, a junior psychology major, said of Mazey. "The reason I came to BG was the quality of education."
And that will undoubtedly suffer if the cuts are made, he said. "I fear I'm going to lose the intimacy with my teachers," if class sizes become larger.
Danielle Oetjen, also a junior psychology major, agreed. "That's just unacceptable. The class sizes are large enough."
The administration has said the faculty cuts are necessary to keep BGSU affordable for students. They have also stated that faculty-student ratios will still be lower than comparable Ohio universities.
BGSU officials anticipate the majority of the faculty reductions will come from retirements and other voluntary departures. According to a statement released by the administration Wednesday afternoon, the remaining reductions will be determined after the university negotiates the effects of this reduction with the Faculty Association.
But the protesters said the faculty reductions would only hurt BGSU.
"We want to convince the administration they are making a mistake," said Dr. David Jackson, head of the BGSU Faculty Association that organized the march.
The cuts will result in larger classes and fewer options for students, Jackson said.
The signs carried by protesters expressed their anger. They read, "Save the BGSU 100," "Slashing Faculty Hurts BG," and "Faculty Care About Students, Why Don't You?" (A video of the march can be seen at sent-trib.com).
The chants conveyed the same messages, some pointing blame such as, "All the fat is in the head, cut the 'admin' pay instead."
"Never have I been more proud" of faculty and students, Jackson said through a bullhorn as he stood on the steps of McFall Center. "We are here to stand up for the quality of education."
|Kerbie Minor, middle, a BGSU theater major, fills out a petition before a march on campus.
The quality cannot withstand the cuts, said Dr. Becky Mancuso, of the history department, which is already short-staffed due to positions not being filled as faculty have retired or left for other jobs.
"We have enormous holes in our curriculum we can't fill," Mancuso said. "We can't weather any more losses."
Dr. Clayton Rosati, of the media and communications department, said his job is not at risk, "but I'm outraged. We'll all be affected."
"When other areas of the country are investing in education, we seem to be divesting," he said.
Rosati had hopes the march on McFall might convince administration to reconsider the cuts.
"I hope we show the university has a great deal of opposition," he said. "The campus won't stand for cutting faculty and increasing class sizes."
The faculty was joined by many students showing support.
"I'm here to defend the 100 faculty members who are losing their jobs," said Kerbie Minor, a senior theater major. "As a theater major, I know the benefit of small classes."
On their way to McFall, the marchers weaved their way through the BGSU student union. Harley Rohrbacher, a criminal justice major, was working at a table for the UAO in the union, but said she supported the protesters.
"They are talking about increasing the number of students" by enrolling more at the university while cutting faculty. "I don't think it's fair to them," Rohrbacher said.
The statement released by the administration Wednesday afternoon said officials will continue to "negotiate in good faith with the BGSU Faculty Association for our first collective bargaining agreement with the goal of reaching a mutually beneficial contract. Negotiations have now moved to fact-finding. In keeping with our commitment to the Faculty Association to negotiate at the bargaining table, and not in the media, BGSU will not be commenting further on either the faculty reductions or contract negotiations."
Last Updated on Thursday, 07 February 2013 11:27