Holiday Wishes + A Note on the Budget

December 13, 2011 

Dear Colleagues,

As the quarter comes to a close, I want to wish everyone a wonderful holiday break. I hope you have the opportunity to relax, spend time with family and friends, and give a thought to the good fortune we have to work with talented faculty and staff colleagues and students who inspire us every day.

This is a gift for us all, especially during a time when the economic news is bad, when many of our neighbors have little or no work, and when the politics of the country has too many hard edges and too few moments of grace and inspiration. It is especially hard for many of our students, whose families have been among the most vulnerable. Both now and when we come back for winter quarter, we need to remember the pressure and anxiety that mark the lives of so many.

Thank you for your generosity in joining with our colleagues and GilbaneMaas, our construction management group, to contribute to the Second Harvest Food Bank. Second Harvest serves one in 10 people in our area, many of them doubtless our students and families. Donation barrels will remain in the Administration Building Lobby into January. You may also bring a check to Tina Woo in my office or contribute at

As you know, we have been working hard to identify the reductions we must make to the college's operating budget in light of the reductions in the state budget for 2011-12. College Council reviewed the budget reduction recommendations from the college's three Planning and Budget Teams last Friday, Dec. 9. We are in the debt of our many colleagues -- faculty, classified professionals and administrators -- who worked through every program and budget detail, and every statistic and data point, in an effort to make the best recommendations they could. All proposals are available on the PBT websites at College Council unanimously accepted those recommendations with the caveat that the cuts forced on us by the state could reduce our operational capacity significantly and potentially irreparably.

I will review the recommendations of the PBTs and report back to College Council in the event I feel there should be adjustments. In January, I will forward the college budget reduction plan to the chancellor and board of trustees, with my own caveats regarding their impact on enrollment or operations. I will write to you in detail in mid-January, after the governor's 2012-13 budget has been released and after the district leadership has reviewed the proposed reduction plans from both colleges. Please contact me if you have questions.

It is both intellectually and emotionally difficult to hold two truths together in our heads and hearts: that we are blessed to have this college and that we are cursed to have its limited state resources. Both are there and both are true. The tension between both truths does not lessen our enthusiasm for our students and our commitment to their success. It only motivates and drives us to do our work and also fight for a political and social future we can live with.

With warmest regards,
Brian Murphy

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