Green River College administrators sent a notice to faculty members Wednesday saying that 11 academic programs could be eliminated in order to close an up to $4.5 million budget deficit.
Faculty members have voted no confidence in the college's president twice, and once for the Board of Trustees. The programs that could be eliminated include design drafting, German, French, geography, occupational therapy assistant and Montessori early childhood education.
According to the Kent Reporter, the proposed cuts would save about $1.2 million. Five tenured faculty, one tenure-track faculty member and a program director would be directly affected. However if their programs are cut, faculty members could teach other courses at the college.
Waubonsee Community College, in Illinois, on Monday announced a program in which students can earn an associate degree with a focus on business in one year, tuition-free. Students will also receive books, a computer, lunch every day and coaching. Courses will run in eight-week blocks, both online and in person. To be eligible, students must have a 3.0 grade point average in high school, demonstrate financial need and be committed to transferring to a four-year college. The accelerated part of the program is based on a similar one at Miami Dade College.
The board at Lake Michigan College voted to fire their new president Thursday after a public hearing.
The president, Jennifer Spielvogel, had only been with the community college since January, when she succeeded former president Robert Harrison. She had previously served as vice president of evidence and inquiry at Cuyahoga Community College in Ohio. The board unanimously voted to suspend her on April 8.
The college cited reasons including $20,625 in unapproved and unauthorized costs expensed to the college, multiple policy violations, improper conduct, improper management behavior, lack of professionalism, and inadequate goals and objectives.
In a statement, the board alleges that Spielvogel failed to get approval or authorization on the following:
She spent nearly $2,800 on architectural design services before asking permission to remodel her office.
She received $6,000 in an executive discretionary fund to cover organization membership dues, charity events and build relationships with college partners, but instead she purchased personal tickets a Kenny Chesney concert and made a charitable donation in her name to the college's scholarship auction.
She spent more than $7,000 on items for an "elaborate, unauthorized presidential inauguration." Those items include a $3,235 ceremonial chain of office medallion, $2,185 for invitations and decorations, and $1,391 for a specially designed cap and gown to wear during the event and $365 in staff time.
She spent more than $5,000 in unauthorized travel to two conferences where she "presented on behalf of her former employer on topics unrelated to her experience at LMC."
Attorneys representing Spielvogel said she disputes the allegations and plans to pursue a civil suit against the board. Spielvogel asserts that she didn't conduct renovations or redecorating in the office and that she offered to pay for the ceremonial chain herself.
"She says that any expenditures she made were in accordance with the policy of the college and were below the threshold she needed for approval," said Raymond D. Cotton, vice president of Higher Education for ML Strategies and a partner in the Mintz Levin law firm. Cotton also specializes in presidential contracts and governance issues.
Maria Harper-Marinick, who had been the interim chancellor of Maricopa Community Colleges in Arizona, was permanently appointed to the position on Wednesday, according to The Arizona Republic.
Harper-Marinick is succeeding Rufus Glasper, who had served as chancellor for 13 years before announcing his retirement. Prior to her appointment, Harper-Marinick was Maricopa's second-highest-ranking administrator. She had been the district's executive vice chancellor and provost since 2010.
Maricopa is one of the country's largest community college systems but has faced recent funding challenges after the state completely cut funding to the district last year.
Students graduating from the Santa Ana Unified School District in California will receive free tuition in their first year at Santa Ana College.
The program will start this fall, and full-time students will be able to save as much as $1,104 for the year. Funding for the program will come from the Santa Ana College Foundation, with additional funding support from the State of California's Award for Innovation in Higher Education and Santa Ana College's Centennial Scholarship Campaign.
"This new level of support brings honor to the academic goals of our amazing students and will bring us ever closer to achieving a college degree in every home in Santa Ana," said Erlinda Martinez, president of the college, in a news release.
Last week's one-day faculty strike at City College of San Francisco over a contract battle is "credit negative" for the college because it sends a strong signal of resistance to the administration's plan to "reduce costs and maintain structural balance," said Moody's, the credit rating agency, on Monday.
City College has lost more than a third of its enrollment during an accreditation crisis that began about five years ago. New revenue streams from the state and city, largely driven by new taxes, have helped bolster the college amid funding declines linked to the enrollment dip. But the new funding is temporary. And City College has reduced its operating expenses by only 15 percent since its accreditation woes began.
"A failure to maintain balanced operations would impede the district’s progress toward full renewal of its accreditation status, which, in turn, would further erode student enrollment and weaken annual revenue support from the state of California," Moody's said.