Credit: Riley Webber
Credit: Riley Webber

Credit: Riley Webber

This week, both the administration and the college Budget and Finance Subcommittee revealed separate proposals to address the $12 million deficit. The committee’s proposal, which would close
the Cottage Grove campus to save Lane approximately $440,544, is alarming. It’s the equivalent of using a cleaver instead of a scalpel.

The subcommittee is unlikely to have such a relatively faraway campus’ best interests in mind. More importantly, the idea goes against Lane’s ideals.

Student leaders have little at stake in the proposal, as they do not receive activity fee revenue from students who only attend the Cottage Grove branch. As such, they are not technically members
of the Associated Students of Lane Community College.

Faculty union President Jim Salt said that he hopes many of the part-time instructors at Cottage Grove could be reassigned to the main campus or other postings, but this does little to alleviate the
additional burden that would fall upon the students who count on those services.

Who’s going to stand up for Cottage Grove students?

Of the city’s residents, 19.2 percent live below the poverty line, according to the U.S. Census Bureau — higher than the state and national average.

Attending Lane’s main campus would add an additional $50.30-per-term charge to Cottage Grove students’ bills through the student activity fee, which provides services that are much less accessible
for commuting students because of time constraints.

The campus represents opportunities, which include a GED program and remote classes, for students in Cottage Grove and adjacent communities. Requiring a commute to Lane’s campus would
burden students in southern Lane County.

This could be the difference between feasibility and impracticality for students who are disadvantaged by distance, income or both.

Lane President Mary Spilde said the administration considered closing the Cottage Grove campus early in the budgeting process, but rejected the measure. We believe the administration was correct
in that decision.

Early estimates conclude that Cottage Grove needs funding equivalent to a $1.50 tuition increase, if estimates of next year’s enrollment decline are accurate.

As such, The Torch also supports measures to keep the Cottage Grove campus
open, whether through a tuition increase, budget cut, staff reallocation or combination
of methods.

Any tuition increase which student government backs should include the
preservation of the Cottage Grove campus.

A minor budget adjustment can sustain one of Lane’s small but vital programs that reaches disadvantaged students who are paramount to the college’s mission and better prepare the
college for the future.

Lane champions serving the underserved, helping the disadvantaged and educating as many people as possible, even if they don’t provide the greatest return-on-investment to the college.
The Board should maintain their ideals, even when state funding is distant and those in need are far away.