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Cancelling classes is cancelling futures

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Cuesta exhibiting the repercussions of their class cancelling business model, barren and gloomy.
Photo by Sameer Wahba / Cuestonian Photo & Video Editor


By Austin Brumblay
Managing Editor of Content

The institution that used to welcome all of the community will soon just be welcoming some as Cuesta makes the transition from a school to a business.

And not a friendly local business one would typically find walking the streets of downtown San Luis Obispo but a ruthless corporation that would give wall street a run for its money.

And like a business that has outgrown its loyal customer base, it has turned its back on the ones who supported it most — the students.

Cuesta has been insistent on cancelling courses deemed “low enrollment” (they define low enrollment as 12 or less students), and attribute the lack of enrollment due to a shortage of college students.

The fact is, the administration cancels courses under this requirement because it nets them a loss in revenue. Think about that for a second — a college built for the community telling the community “you don’t make us enough to be worth our time.”

Just for reference: Cuesta chose to cancel 168 of the 2500 classes offered during the 2017-18 school year. That’s almost 7 percent of all classes.

Sure, business-wise money was saved. But at what cost? How many students futures were impacted by the greediness of saving a couple bucks? It’s shocking to watch as our community college becomes no more sympathetic than a conglomerate like Walmart.

And the Walmart business model sure must have worked well this semester because Cuesta plans to roll back classes even further by enforcing an 18 student minimum for the 2018-19 school year.

By compiling data of classes with at least 30 seats available (as in classes with room for 30 or more students) for the 2017-18 term, an additional 211 classes would have been cancelled with the new minimum in effect.

What’s terrifying about these statistics is an 18 student minimum doesn’t only cancel classes, it will strip some departments to the barebones — and outright destroy others.

And thus the cancellations are excluding parts of the community. They actively punish students who enroll in small departments or those who can only attend courses at less popular hours of the day (such as night classes).

This is a community college that is supposed to be open to the community. Cuesta should be proud to have such a large diversity of backgrounds, cultures and futures supporting it.

So let’s fix this issue before it gets so big that only a business buy-out can change it.

Here are some simple proposals to help rebuild faith in the school we cherish so much:

Review student cases and the impact a cancellation has on their academic future. I shouldn’t have to remind the institution that you’re here to mold not squash goals. We as students sign up for courses because we regard them as important. The school should too.

If a class has no alternative section, don’t cancel it. Especially if the class is a graduation, certificate or degree requirement. I have had to witness too many students pray to the counselor gods to dig them out of the hole the school put them in by cancelling a specific course.

And don’t homogenize the diversity of Cuesta students. Let the english majors delve deep in their book selection, let the science majors have choices in their studies and let history majors pick the time period. We are all different. Keep the classes that way. Our only thing in common should be the unique variety of classes we take.

And if the business model is the direction Cuesta has ultimately chosen then perhaps counting students impacted would be a more suitable currency — because it’s a lot of us.

Don’t forget your promise, Cuesta.