By Sajedah AL-khzaleh
At a meeting with Harold Washington College President Margie Martyn, the Student Government Association spoke against district’s budget cuts, reporting that it would create constraints on their responsibilities of governing clubs, groups and organizations on campus.
District has been cutting requested funds by SGA and other programs due to lack of funding from the state, and the running out of “cash reserves” which City Colleges relied on.
“For the past two years we’ve used these cash reserves. We were still OK, till the beginning of this year. [We] ran out since November,” said Martyn. “Our partner, the state, changed on us.”
Recently, SGA members, with an original budget of $160,000, were informedby district that there were no available funds to spend, unless the cause was absolutely necessary.
“We’ve been spending, and we did not expect cuts,” said Kevin Woo, president of SGA at HWC.
“Had they told us in advance, the semester before, we would have been able to spend the right amount.”
District had not specified what exactly constituted as a “necessity,” according to Woo.
“Activities for this year look bad,” said Martyn. “The message I’ve been getting though is that we don’t have the money.”
One of the student body senators and volunteer committee at HWC spoke on administration’s decision to no longer fund SPARK, a mentorship program in City Colleges of Chicago.
“Your lack of care shows us that maybe an education at this community college really isn’t worth it, because the opportunities you say are here don’t actually exist,” he said. “As student leaders, we don’t have the luxury to remain hopeless. If you don’t give us the funding that we deserve, then you’ve lost the trust of your students.”
“I’m with you 100 percent,” said Martyn. She also said she would continue donating and collecting funds for student activities, as she understood their importance on college campuses.
“[Without student clubs and activities], you don’t get the leadership, you don’t get the kind of experience to meet people and interact in a team. All those things are so important later,” she said. “I think we have to get some money.”
Leadership under the future chancellor may be the solution to addressing student concerns, according to Martyn.
“When we get our new chancellor, one of the things the president has to do [is] write a 10 page report about what I think the chancellor needs to do the minute that her or she gets the job,” she said. “The first thing I said is that this chancellor needs to come into every campus and meet students and staff, and be the kind of chancellor that we see every week or so.”
Martyn also encouraged students to speak on their own behalf.
“I think our new chancellor needs to hear us, talk to you, we’ve got to,” she said. “Clubs and SGA need to work together to allocate [their needs] the best way they can.”
Besides budget cuts, City Colleges are working on enrollment and accreditation issues, according to Martyn. Her goal is to look at tuition cost, campus facilities and resources andfuture partnerships CCC can partake in.
Martyn also encouraged more students to voice feedback and concerns. “Send me anything, I’m always willing to get your advice,” she said.