Arundel college students oppose cost-cutting plan Activities, athletics budgets are targeted by proposal


An article in yesterday's Anne Arundel edition of The Sun reported incorrectly the number of interscholastic sports teams Anne Arundel Community College would lose if the school transferred $50,000 from its athletic budget to the operating budget. The number of teams that would be lost has not been determined.

The Sun regrets the error.

A proposal by Anne Arundel Community College administrators to use $100,000 from the student activities and athletics budgets to help cover next year's operating costs has infuriated students who say it will strip away an important part of their school's identity.

Members of the Student Association and other students charge that if the proposal is accepted by the board of trustees tomorrow evening, the college will lose its literary magazine, the student handbook and the new-student orientation.

They charge that officials are ignoring the school motto, "Students First."

"I always felt that way," said Jill Bloom, 31, a second-year human services major. "Now, I really feel like it's just words on paper. They don't mean anything."

"It sends the message that the administration doesn't care about students," said Steve Keeling, 21, a first-year student. "They just want to run their school and make money."

But school officials say a decrease in state funding and their desire to hold tuition at its present level have prompted them to look for ways to cut costs.

"This is simply a proposal," said Debbie Shaughney, spokeswoman for the school. "This is not set in stone."

School officials and students will meet at 4 p.m. today in the campus dining hall.

The administration is considering transferring $50,000 from the athletic department to the school's operating budget. The athletic department, which operates on about $180,000, would lose nine of its 13 interscholastic sports teams.

School officials also are looking into shifting $50,000 from the student activities budget, including $5,000 for the student handbook; $4,000 for Amaranth, the campus literary magazine; and $1,500 for the student orientation.

Ms. Shaughney noted that most of the money would go toward covering the increasing cost of utilities and health benefits for faculty and staff. She also pointed out that faculty and staff members have worked for "some time" without a cost-of-living pay increase.

But students say the school would lose a lot by eliminating some extracurricular activities.

"Those are the things that get students involved," said Teresa Rimel, 24, a second-year general studies major. "It breaks up the mundane routine of going to classes every day."

The school does not want to eliminate student programs, Ms. Shaughney said.

Instead, officials are simply asking everyone to find ways to reduce spending and generate more revenue without requiring more money from the school, she said.

"This is not new," Ms. Shaughney said. "Every year, the college looks to areas to make itself more self-supportive."

She said the administration does not want to increase tuition to help offset the rising costs.

"We don't want to put it any higher," Ms. Shaughney said. "We don't want to lock people out of college."

But some students say they would rather pay more in tuition than endure cuts in the student activities funds.

"Tuition is already low," said James Powell, 19, a journalism major. "Raising it is not going to hurt me."

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