Welcome to Winter Quarter 2012

January 9, 2012

Dear Colleagues,

Welcome to winter quarter 2012. I hope you had a chance to relax a little, spend some time with family and friends, and come back to campus ready for the students who arrive this morning. A special thank you to our colleagues in Admissions and Records, the Bookstore, and Custodial and Grounds who worked in their respective areas to prepare for our students. 

As of this morning, our enrollment is down by almost 4%. As you know, our goal is to be even with last year's figures. Maintaining our enrollment is necessary to ensure that we do not lose additional state funding and face further cuts to the district and college budget. Please encourage students to check out open courses and enroll. You might remind them that fees will go up this summer (to $31/quarter unit), so this quarter and next will be the last chances to register at current fee levels. 

After being inadvertently published early online, the governor's 2012-13 state budget will be officially released tomorrow. It projects two entirely different scenarios, depending on whether the people of California vote for tax increases the governor intends to place on the ballot. Once details have been analyzed, we will provide that information, including at a town hall meeting.

The bottom line remains obvious: We still need to proceed with the budget reduction plans we have been developing throughout this past year, and backfill our budgets with one-time dollars as long as we can. At College Council on Jan. 19, I will respond formally to the proposals developed by the three Planning and Budget Teams, as these proposals form the basis for the college's effort to both reduce spending and maintain essential services. Where it is not possible to do both, I am under an obligation to report to the chancellor and the board of trustees the difference between what we are asked to cut and what we can actually do without destroying our ability to serve students.

Finally, two news flashes for tomorrow, Tuesday, Jan. 10:

First, De Anza students will begin an "Occupy for Education" tent city on the main quad to establish a public center for their protest of state budget cuts and their fight for education. I support their efforts, and the college administration is honored to join with faculty and staff in support of the students. They will hold one night of "tent city" each week for the next several weeks, and are planning another march on Sacramento in March. They will be visiting classes and reaching out for support across campus. I urge you to stop by the tents and offer your help.

Second, at around the same time our students will be setting up their tents, I will be representing America's community colleges at the White House for a national gathering on civic learning and democratic participation. Sponsored by the White House and the U.S. Department of Education, the event will launch a year-long effort across higher education -- the American Commonwealth Partnership -- to engage students in projects and courses that prompt their participation in the democratic process and increase their civic literacy. I'll do my best to represent all of you, and especially our students, in this effort that complements the work of The Democracy Commitment.

Have an excellent quarter. It's always exciting to have the students back, feel their energy and enthusiasm, and welcome each other to our common work.

Brian Murphy

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