Arcata, CA–Students at Humboldt State University held protest during an interesting time yesterday–when WASC representatives would be visiting to assess HSU for accreditation.
“WSCUC” (the WASC Senior College and University Commission, formerly known as simply WASC, the Western Association of Schools and Colleges) is a regional accrediting organization.
WSUSC requires HSU to demonstrate “they are taking real steps to fulfill a distinct mission, are measuring the success of those steps, and are using the results of those measurements to improve” in order to maintain accreditation.
In 2008, WASC came to HSU and every ten years the school gets a visit. In 2017, HSU submitted a WASC Institutional Report for re-accreditation affirmation.
“Failing to retain our WSUSC accreditation would mean losing all federal financial aid and, along with it, many of our students,” HSU writes on their website.
Students first took over the quad and voiced their discontent over recent budget cuts, increased tuition and the seemingly inflated salaries of HSU’s administration and President. Meanwhile students have to deal with homelessness, food insecurities and resources and programs being undermined and cut.
Students were determined to find out where Rossbacher was meeting with WASC representatives.
In February HSU President Lisa Rossbacher sent out a campus wide email outlining the school’s financial crisis and immediate steps that would be taken to address the $7 million deficit HSU is currently in.
- Implement a 5% reduction in current year operating expense budgets (non-personnel)
- No tenure-line faculty position requests for fall 2019
- Hiring chill: All staff and administrator hiring requests continue to be approved by Cabinet with the intent of reducing recruitment over the next 18 months
- Academic Programs and the Office of Institutional Effectiveness will assist the Colleges in building fall 2018 and spring 2019 class schedules that align available instructional resources with student course need
- All General Fund travel expenditures and other expenditures of $2,000 or more must be approved by the appropriate Vice President
Some short-term steps we will be taking:
- Cabinet will incorporate Phase II feedback into the February 22 reduction plan
- University Resources & Planning Committee (URPC) is developing a budget oversight policy
- Benchmark and re-calibrate our spending by category (FIRMS codes) based on CSU system data
- Reduce an estimated 40-50 budgeted staff and administrator positions
- Reduce temporary faculty appointments in fall 2018
- Reorganize or consolidate units and functions
- Identify and implement process improvements
University Police called back-up from the Arcata Police Department and the Sheriff’s Office during the protest.
At 5:20 p.m. in the Native American Forum students had the chance to talk to WASC representatives in a session closed to staff and administration. Students were able to share their thoughts on how HSU was meeting said goals and suggestions made before by the committee. Students were also given an email where they could share their thoughts anonymously.