“He’s an inspiration,” CCC student Stephen Wright said of Sami Jeskanen, an assistant professor in the college’s History, Political Science, Economics and Geography Department.
“And he’s not the only teacher,” added student Kayla Larkin. “All of the teachers that are getting laid off, students want them. They don’t want to come here if they can’t have the teachers that support them and inspire them and encourage them to go further.”
Other students expressed concern about the elimination of the college’s on-duty nurse, who is also tagged for layoff.
“It terrifies me to go to a school that’s not going to have a health provider on staff,” said Deliah Pringer, a student who has seizures. “It terrifies me to know that I might be in a lab or a classroom or an elevator and have a seizure and not have anybody there to help me ... Our students need our professors, and we need a nurse.”
Board of Trustees Chairwoman Nina Coolidge told the Press-Republican the college’s trustees and administration care deeply about their students and are constantly working to provide them with the best programs and services.
However, the college is facing the historic challenges of declining public revenue and increasing costs, as are many educational institutions, she said.
“The administration and the Board of Trustees have taken many steps over the past year to mitigate these challenges, but even more needs to be done to ensure the physical stability of the college.
“With 85 percent of our annual operating budget going to salary, wages and benefits, there really is no choice but to look there for savings.”
Still, Coolidge noted, “the door remains open for collaborative solutions with our faculty union that will allow us to address the very real economic trends that face us while we maintain a high level of service to our students and to our community.”