5-C Students Are Disenfranchised by the CUC Budget Process

We know that students do not have final control over 5-C budgets, and the drastic cuts that will be made in next year’s budget are likely to ruffle students’ feathers, no matter how much input is collected from students. Still, it is reassuring that the college’s administration and student government are interested in what students want and need, as evidenced by the budget survey that was sent to students two weeks ago.

We cannot offer the same praise to the Claremont University Consortium. The Consortium continues to run as a corporation, and we, the stockholders, are left in the dark as major budget decisions are quietly made. These decisions will not be released until May 9, when we are far too focused on finishing our work to raise any fuss.

Pomona students have become accustomed to a certain level of administrative access, and whether or not our demands are met, we know our points of access and best modes of response.

CUC is a closed book, and CEO Bob Walton is nearly unknown. So far, all that we know is that CUC’s Board of Overseers has drafted a budget, and the Council of Presidents has reviewed it in some way. As mentioned, final decisions will not be released until May 9.

It’s easy to forget the role of the CUC in the actual operation of the colleges. Most importantly, CUC oversees the library system. We have protested the closure of the campus libraries before, but it now looks as though one of the science libraries could close by next year. Denison’s transition cannot be long behind. It’s likely that you use these libraries as rarely as we do, but let’s remember the human impact. Walton has never pledged to avoid layoffs, and the closure of the campus libraries likely means layoffs of associated employees. We need a pledge from Walton to preserve these jobs.

Every one of us has had a terrible experience at Honnold’s circulation desk. We have been disappointed by their pledge of “services” and the reality that they often prevent our full access of the library’s resources. We contend that this is not representative of the library’s mission, and the inflexibility of the services department precludes most students from accessing the rich academia available through the libraries.

Did you know that Honnold Special Collections has one of the largest collections of Mark Twain manuscripts in the country? Do you even know where the Special Collections office is located? Maybe not, but we’re sure you have made a few enemies at services when you’ve requested a due date extension or contested fines.

Our point is that Honnold has a rich staff of academics, who you may never meet. We do not not know what CUC will choose to sacrifice, but their business-minded decisions do not usually prioritize academia. Unless we place pressure on the college presidents, we are without an access point to CUC. Until we become advocates for CUC services, CUC’s philosophy can only be expected to evolve in a way that is inconsistent with our interests.

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