What’s going on?

The BMCC Administration has proposed laying off 10 full-time faculty positions (and 19 part-time instructors) to in their words “right-size” the college.  According to the administration, there is less need for full-time faculty and these layoffs would result in approximately $800K of savings, which they will invest in other programs and services.

Why is this a bad thing?

Enrollment may be down from past figures (the administration often cites data from 5 or 10 years ago), but enrollment is stable, and revenue is up.  There is no financial need to lay off these faculty.  This is not some quick fix for the budget, because there is in fact no “budget shortfall”, rather this was what administrators conceived as being expendable losses to validate record-high increases in materials and services (to levels even exceeding those from 20 years ago, when enrollment was at its peak).

So not only is it unnecessary, but the downstream impacts of which will have drastic consequences. These proposed cuts will result in ⅓ of the instructors being removed.  This will negatively impact the number of courses that BMCC will be able to offer because there simply wouldn’t be enough educators available to teach some of them. The administration contends that they will be able to offer ALL the same classes, they simply have fewer instructors teaching these classes.  That is an unsustainable claim -- current faculty members are already working overload to accommodate enrollments, and replacing full time instructors with part-time personnel goes against Oregon labor law. 20 years ago, a previous BMCC President (Kirkland) made a similar move, having 7 full time instructors fired and replaced with part-time faculty.  This resulted in a grievance, court arbitration, and BMCC administration was found guilty of an unfair labor practice.  Administration had to pay a hefty fine, cover all court costs, and pay back the lost salary for the returning full time faculty members (in addition to the salary they paid the part-timers for that work).  It was a costly lesson in labor ethics, and yet this administration refuses to acknowledge the parallels here, and as they say, those who refuse to learn from history are doomed to repeat it.

Why is the BMFA protesting?

  1. Two years ago cuts were made to “right-size the budget” for the current enrollment of 1000 FTE (full time equivalent students).  The faculty suffered losses then, and in the past 2 years, BMCC has met the budgeted requirement of 1000 FTE.  Meaning-- there is no financial reason for these cuts (See Short Fall) for more information.
  2. Faculty are committed to BMCC students and the greater East Oregon community.  Preserving a variety of classes to suit all our students' interests and program needs is the very essence of being “Student’s First”. (See Graduation Rates for more information).
  3. The administrator's actions do not align with their words.  They say they will do a program audit to determine if cuts are necessary, but they are proposing cuts before the audit.  They say they want to be nimble and respond to the communities needs, but these proposed cuts target the preferred student program.  They say they will be able to offer all the same classes come fall, but have not been able to produce a schedule, because many of these instructor positions will be “unfilled.” (See Demoted for more information).
  4. BMCC Faculty are members of this community, they serve in local boards, are homeowners, and raise their children here.  Faculty want to preserve this resource for the next generation of students, and don’t believe that newcomers who have barely begun to settle in this region should be able to claim they know what East Oregon needs and wants, make drastic changes, and then up and move to their next big thing, without a backward thought to the turmoil they leave in their wake.  BMCC faculty want to prevent the college from making such a grave mistake.  (See Student Choice and Quality Programming for more information).
  5. Faculty believe wholeheartedly that the priority of the budget should be the students, and programs that support the students.  The faculty is protesting the administrative agenda to cut classes and student scholarships to hire yet MORE administrators.  Are these supervisory positions even needed if there will be fewer students (due to scholarship cuts) and fewer faculty?  Who will these administrators even oversee at this point?  (See Administrative Heavy and What do Admin Do? for more information).
  6. These proposed cuts constitute an unfair labor practice, if the administration proceeds in breaking Oregon Labor Law, a grievance will be required, which will result in additional expenses (court fees, fines, and restitution to aggrieved parties).  The Faculty are trying to prevent this.

Where things stand and what both sides are offering are summed up nicely in this recent East Oregonian article.