Modesto College sacrifices media students to save $8 million



With our state embattled by a deficit that seems out of control, the idea of budget cuts and penny pinching is a reality we, as Californians, all have to face.  Unfortunately, the hammer of financial ruin has decided to loom over the Community College system as DVC has to face its budget problems with a 3 percent cut which means cut classes and diminished programs.

While it’s expected that schools will see classes being cut and fee increases to combat the economic shortfall, the situation being proposed at Modesto Junior College seems like the extreme end of the spectrum.

The cuts that will be proposed to the Yosemite Community College District Board on March 9 will include eliminating culinary arts, anthropology, German, French, Italian, and gallery management as well as the elimination of the entire Mass Communication department, which includes journalism, film, television, radio, and recording arts.

What would seem like a necessary evil in our current economic environment, this proposal seems nothing more than a slash-and-burn on the academic level.

What becomes of the students who want to go into radio, broadcasting, film, or journalism?  The answer is they will simply be the sacrificial lambs in order to keep the rest of the school afloat.

While the administration is seeking to find alternate courses to fill in the requirements for continuing students to transfer, these sorts of bandages may do more harm than good.

Should a student looking to be a sound technician be able to transfer without taking all the pre-requisite classes?

Apparently that is an acceptable reality to the administration at MJC.

The potential effects of these cuts could range from inconvenient to some and potentially crippling to others who may be left unable to complete their degrees or complete the prerequisites for transfer.

One of the more disturbing parts of this story is the justification given for the elimination.  The rationale released by the college sums it up by saying, “Simply put, 20th century delivery mechanisms such as broadcasting and print media have lost much of their cultural relevance and employment potential in this modern era.”

This can really be said about many programs being offered by colleges today.  Are the employment opportunities any more robust for a theater major?

This comes off as nothing more than poor excuses and invoking the issues of unemployment to offer rationale for the discontinuation of not only a few classes, but an entire division in an effort stem off financial Armageddon.

The reality of the situation is cuts are going to have to be made, but leaving a wide swath of your student body out in the cold isn’t the way it should be done.