Education

More News | |

Frustration over budget cuts mounts at MCG

Emotions run high amid threat to academic programs

acvid:2258
  • Follow Education

Senior nurse anesthesia student Carla Farrell summed up the anger, hurt and bewilderment many were feeling at the Medical College of Georgia on Tuesday over the potential impact of $25.6 million in proposed cuts.

Back | Next
Assistant Professor Vallire Hooper asks a question about budget cuts during a Tuesday meeting at MCG.  ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
ZACH BOYDEN-HOLMES/STAFF
Assistant Professor Vallire Hooper asks a question about budget cuts during a Tuesday meeting at MCG.

"None of us like to be pawns in whatever game is being played here," she said to thunderous applause from a packed auditorium.

Her program is scheduled to be closed in July under the proposal, leaving her and 40 classmates months from graduation with no plan to help them.

MCG was given 48 hours last week to prepare plans for the massive cut, part of $300 million in reductions legislators told the University System of Georgia to prepare, on top of $265 million already proposed for fiscal year 2011.

That meant an additional cut of 15 percent of its state appropriations on top of a 10 percent cut the school was already facing, said Bill Bowes, MCG's senior vice president for finance and administration.

More than 150 MCG students will have their programs cut, most in the School of Allied Health Sciences or Nursing.

Though some have other programs they can transfer to in-state, if a program will take them, there is no other master's degree program in nurse anesthesia in Georgia, and students don't believe they will be able to transfer credits to another program out of state.

"This means we have to start back from scratch," said Tanya Ifill, a junior in the program.

Senior Maegan Brass said she would be abandoned five months from earning her degree after racking up $70,000 in debt.

"And I would have nothing to show for it," she said. "You can buy a house for that these days."

Even before any additional cuts take place, the uncertainty is affecting the nurse anesthesia program, said interim Director Jim Masiongale.

The program got calls from three students Tuesday asking whether they should go with an alternative program, he said. The program is pleading with them for more time, Masiongale said.

Targeting certain programs for elimination seemed to be a better strategy than taking the cuts across the board, MCG administrators said.

"It is much harder to cut every program," Provost Barry Goldstein said. "When you cut every program, you weaken every program. And we have to make tough decisions."

Others were angry that the administration could not provide a plan for alternatives if the programs close.

"How exactly do you expect us to sit down and swallow that?" asked Amber Ross, a respiratory therapy student who would have graduated next year.

That frustration is shared by the administration, Goldstein said.

"If everyone here is angry, you should be angry," he said. "We're angry, too."

Officials urged those in the crowd to contact legislators about the impact the cuts could have on them.

"We don't want to see these cuts go through," Goldstein said.

"I can't emphasize more how much we don't want to make these cuts," Bowes said.

Comments (40) Add comment
ADVISORY: Users are solely responsible for opinions they post here and for following agreed-upon rules of civility. Posts and comments do not reflect the views of this site. Posts and comments are automatically checked for inappropriate language, but readers might find some comments offensive or inaccurate. If you believe a comment violates our rules, click the "Flag as offensive" link below the comment.
iletuknow
8
Points
iletuknow 03/03/10 - 03:38 am
0
0
And how many of MCG's

And how many of MCG's management and legions of tax payer subsidized parasites will be sacrificed? ZERO

Just My Opinion
6066
Points
Just My Opinion 03/03/10 - 05:18 am
0
0
I really, really hate to say

I really, really hate to say this, but sometimes the hard decisions just have to be made, and there's no looking back. Sure, in a perfect world, just alittle more time would be given to those poor people so they could just finish the degrees they started. But...and here's the hard part...where do you draw the line? If you allow one program alittle more time, then why not another program? And why not give even more "alittle more time"? It's so very sad that all these fine students and employees have to be sacrificed for the sins of the money-grubbing administrators/presidents/chief honchos. Well, doesn't really matter right now, because something has to be done to correct it. I feel badly for these people who are so much in debt trying to get this education and they're just within reach of their degree.

justus4
109
Points
justus4 03/03/10 - 06:10 am
0
0
"Fell the pain"...should be
Unpublished

"Fell the pain"...should be the stated phrase of all leaders because it coming all our way. Blame who U like, but any sane person must know that the state leadership hasn't been held accountable for anything and when anything goes, nothing works. These cuts are just another example.

corgimom
36483
Points
corgimom 03/03/10 - 07:34 am
0
0
"None of us like to be pawns

"None of us like to be pawns in whatever game is being played here," It's called NO MONEY. If somebody thinks that's a game, then they aren't playing with a full deck. The State of Georgia is in deep financial trouble, and nobody is willing to work for free.

agustinian
721
Points
agustinian 03/03/10 - 07:41 am
0
0
While I understand the

While I understand the frustration, and would be upset myself if a program was yanked from me; but I don't get "game being played" comment. What don't people get about "lack of funding"; low tax revenues; recession? Unlike the federal government that spends money without regard to the increasing debt and tax burden, the state MUST live within its revenues. So my question to those who are angry is, what would you do? Increase tuition, cut some other program . . . what?

curly123053
5128
Points
curly123053 03/03/10 - 08:03 am
0
0
Sounds to me like it is time

Sounds to me like it is time to start considering the Fair Tax. There is no telling how many in the state of Georgia are not paying any taxes but are bleeding the programs dry. A state Fair Tax bill would amend that problem and there would be a lot more money going into the state treasury. The present tax system is broke and this proves it. No tax system will be perfect but the Fair Tax as written would help finance a lot of programs and also build social security and medicare back up. South Carolina already has a state Fair Tax amendment introduced in the state capital. It is only a matter of time before people see the benefits of enacting the Fair Tax.

Fed
0
Points
Fed 03/03/10 - 08:12 am
0
0
Can the MCG leadership the

Can the MCG leadership the local and state representatives explain the reason for the new Athens campus now? It is time for some common sense decisions by our gov't officals.

WW1949
19
Points
WW1949 03/03/10 - 08:34 am
0
0
Too many on the dole, to much

Too many on the dole, to much money not being taxed because of under the table dealings, too many food stamps, too many vouchers. The taxpayer can't afford the generous retirement benifts, Peach Care and all other things. Time to cut out all the fluff and scale back the benifits. I know, but not mine will be the answer. Make the decisions and make them now before it is too late.

FedupwithAUG
0
Points
FedupwithAUG 03/03/10 - 08:43 am
0
0
"How exactly do you expect us

"How exactly do you expect us to sit down and swallow that?" asked Amber Ross, a respiratory therapy student who would have graduated next year." Would Have? More like suppose to! These are just proposals the state wanted to drum up publicity so they can increase taxes. Nothing more. Don't worry Amber you will most likely graduate just at the cost of us taxpayers.

Charles62
0
Points
Charles62 03/03/10 - 09:02 am
0
0
Private colleges are

Private colleges are flourishing while public colleges are cutting. Why you ask? When a public entity is subsidized by the government it is operating on an unsustainable budget. Simply put—they are relying on taxpayers to make up for what they are not taking in!!! What happens when the taxpayers have put in all that they can and the well runs dry??? BACK TO REALITY…i.e. Budget cuts, students without programs, broken promises…Wake up people! Public/Social enterprise is not the answer! Just another example of why private business is what made our economy and country great.

b1
225
Points
b1 03/03/10 - 09:27 am
0
0
This goes to show that the

This goes to show that the Government can't screw a light bulb in correctly! The government as a whole operates with monopoly money and it's time they stop! We, the tax payers are the ones who fund this and we, these poor individuals who are lossing everything are the ones that pay. Our governement system needs a TOTAL OVERHAUL! Starting in Washington!

jackrabbit5491
0
Points
jackrabbit5491 03/03/10 - 09:50 am
0
0
Programmatic elimination,

Programmatic elimination, rather than "across the boards" cuts, is a cynical attempt by the Board of Regents to eliminate tenure and academic freedom. The Board claims the power to terminate tenured faculty through programmatic elimination. Both tenured faculty and students in these programs slated for elimination, will have been harmed by the state and might consider legal remedies, possibly as a class, or classes.

donna658
60
Points
donna658 03/03/10 - 09:57 am
0
0
I think one thing people are

I think one thing people are not realizing. These students CANNOT TRANSFER their credits. That one student's $70,000 of debt in student loans.... Tough, is what her lenders will say. She will have $70,000 less than nothing to show for her many years of hard work. Fair???? Hell no. We have a serious shortage of all healthcare workers in this country and now Georgia is going to screw over all the young bright people who want to HELP others? Ridiculous. These aren't people who are looking for handouts, they want to help others.

Little Lamb
47897
Points
Little Lamb 03/03/10 - 10:11 am
0
0
Donna says, “These students

Donna says, “These students CANNOT TRANSFER their credits.” I beg to differ. Many colleges are liberal in transferring credits from other colleges. MCG is not so specialized, their courses are not so “one-of-a-kind,” that they cannot be transferred SOMEWHERE. Give the readers of the Chronicle a little credit, Donna. Your assertion that college credits CANNOT TRANSFER weakens your entire argument.

Riverman1
90288
Points
Riverman1 03/03/10 - 10:22 am
0
0
LL, I will say this. A

LL, I will say this. A program like the nursing anesthesia program is a hands-on type education. It is likely other programs would want you to go through their entire program. This program should allow those enrolled to finish before it is dropped. That's fair.

Chillen
17
Points
Chillen 03/03/10 - 10:32 am
0
0
I say abandon the MCG Athens

I say abandon the MCG Athens project and redirect that money here so that existing programs can continue. During a massive recession, borderline depression, the state should not be opening a new medical school.

Income is down, people are unemployed. There is no one left to tax who can pay the additional taxes. Even staff employed by the government are now concerned about their job security. Everyone needs to be saving money for their own family in case the unexpected happens, not paying more taxes.

Welcome to the "New Normal" everyone.

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 03/03/10 - 10:32 am
0
0
The state and federal

The state and federal governments need to get out of the education business, the housing business, the healthcare business, and all the sustenance business that it is currently running very inefficiently and corruptly and return money to the taxpayers and let them decide how to survive and thrive.

puppydog
228
Points
puppydog 03/03/10 - 10:36 am
0
0
Students, remember, they said

Students, remember, they said the other alternative would be to raise tuition by 77%. Would you prefer that route? Remember too that this is public education. The private colleges are not subject to these state budget cuts because they are not funded by the state; however, their tuition is 5 times as much as the tuition at state supported schools. We are in the deepest recession since the Great Depression & the state's revenues have been drastically reduced. There is no choice other than to eliminate programs, etc. Many states & state supported schools are facing the same problems and solutions. There have already been employee furloughs, lay offs and hiring freezes. The next area that has to be cut is the school programs. I don't see any way around it. It's unfortunate, but the economy is on the brink of collapse & it's going to affect everyone in some way.

oldenoughtoknowbetter
15
Points
oldenoughtoknowbetter 03/03/10 - 10:47 am
0
0
The recession is finally
Unpublished

The recession is finally hitting the government sector. It hit the private sector over two years ago and continues to play havoc on the small business people. Chapter 7s and Chapter 11s abound in our community. Layoffs, terminations, and shutdowns have become a way of life. The government sector must realize that their livilhood comes from the private sector as they are the only ones that are paying true taxes. The government sector has long benefited from the taxes paid by the private sector. Time to get off your buffs and start producing and quite your bellyaching.

Med College guy 64
0
Points
Med College guy 64 03/03/10 - 12:07 pm
0
0
There is so much being said

There is so much being said here that is just so wrong. It's fine that we need to balance the budget. It's fine that we need to make cuts.

What boggles my mind is how you can turn against the very people that are going to be taking care of your families when they need medical care. I have never been in a city that seems so bitter towards its own medical institutions. What has caused you to despise those you take care of you, as well as the children that are this state's future?

And why is there this assumption that all state workers are somehow lazy and overpaid? How is MCG a waste of tax dollars? You guys complain about the Athens campus, but do you even know what it is for? It is for increasing the number of DOCTORS and NURSES in our state. Is this a bad thing when we are already so short? Is this a waste?

And how about a little compassion for these young people that have just had the rug pulled out from under them. It's fine if you think their program should be cut- but they should be able to finish it first. What if that was your son or daughter and they had 70K in loans and had spent three of the best years of their youth sacrificing for it? You would be outraged.

Let me take a minute to remind you of the big picture here. Jesus was a compassionate man, who loved people in need and instructed us to "love one another as I have loved you". Paul told us to be compassionate towards one another.

For a town as religious as Augusta, I am seeing precious little of this type of compassion demonstrated by AC readers. And most of you would consider yourselves Christians! This is one reason why so many see Christianity as hypocritical and refuse to believe.

These cuts may be needed, and it is fine if you support them. But do us all a favor and save your cold-hearted remarks about hard-working people and students. What job are you doing that is so much more worthy? What are you doing with your time that makes you such a better, more productive member of our society than these government workers?

My heart goes out to all of the people whose programs are under threat and whose education and livelihood is at stake. May God be with you and give you courage each day so that one day your career can help improve the health of others. Perhaps even some of the ungrateful souls writing comments here.

freedom07
0
Points
freedom07 03/03/10 - 12:20 pm
0
0
MCG could start by firing

MCG could start by firing some of the deadwood tenured people who got there by having their incestuous lips firmly glued to the right butts; not by any of their own scholarly achievements. One reason private colleges are still in business is because they assign ONE faculty member to teach a given class; even department heads! Most MCG faculty have the luxury of "team teaching" nearly every class, poor things, and BOTH get full credit towards their teaching load! Rather than cut programs, Barry G, why don't you just cut half the faculty of each program? You could save the program for the students, and the remaining faculty might have to actually work for a change like college instructors in the real world.

gailkaitschuck
18
Points
gailkaitschuck 03/03/10 - 12:26 pm
0
0
I agree 100 percent with Med

I agree 100 percent with Med College guy. What a short sighted decision to destroy the hard work of our best and brightest young students; medical personnel who may one day (if allowed to finished their education) save the lives of some of the narrow minded folks who post here.

Gail

puppydog
228
Points
puppydog 03/03/10 - 12:41 pm
0
0
Gail. So how do you propose

Gail. So how do you propose to bridge the billion dollar state budget deficit?

puppydog
228
Points
puppydog 03/03/10 - 12:43 pm
0
0
Does anyone know when the

Does anyone know when the deadline is for the final cuts to be determined?

aross4
0
Points
aross4 03/03/10 - 12:48 pm
0
0
I never thought I would have

I never thought I would have to fight for the opportunity to graduate, but that is exactly what is happening. We are fighting for our program to stay open and trying to still do well in school. Sacrificing education everytime the budget goes bad is a contradiction to everything they tell you as a child. "Stay in school and make good grades and you will go far." Or is it really just try hard and if our paychecks get threatened we are throwing you under the bus. Please write your local legislators and tell them this is unacceptable!! SAVE OUR PROGRAMS!!!

howcanweknow
2306
Points
howcanweknow 03/03/10 - 01:06 pm
0
0
Freedom, you don't understand

Freedom, you don't understand the reality of the system -- at least in the medical school. Most School of Medicine faculty only teach a few hours a year. Their real purpose is to generate income for the school from clinical practice or from research grants. Millions of dollars are generated from the non-teaching activities of school of medicine faculty. That's their primary purpose. To require that these faculty to teach an entire course would seriously limit their ability to generate money. That's the bottom line for the school. A medical school is not like a regular undergraduate college from the "real world". Maybe Allied Health and Nursing school faculty are different in that they don't have the same opportunities to generate income, and I suspect that's why cuts may be coming in those programs instead of the school of medicine.

JustSpeakingMyMind
203
Points
JustSpeakingMyMind 03/03/10 - 01:34 pm
0
0
I will tell you how you

I will tell you how you bridge the budget deficit. You start by cutting the salaries of the top officials, who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. You cut programs like the athletic programs, and coaches who make hundreds of thousands of dollars a year. I enjoy college football as much as anyone, but common sense tells us we have to cut these sort of things. Halt all construction projects at MCG and the University Systems of Georgia. What good will it do to put more doctors in the State of Georgia if we can't pay them. Folks this isn't rocket science. In my home if you can't pay the bills, you cut out the extras like cable, going out to eat, the phone. All the things you can do without. Cutting education programs and nursing programs is right up there with cutting firemen and policemen, these are the last places we should start.

baronvonreich
0
Points
baronvonreich 03/03/10 - 01:42 pm
0
0
Didn't figure somebody could

Didn't figure somebody could rant Jesus and Christianity into a budget cuts discussion. I was wrong.

Face it people, until you admit that the 2 party political system is broken and government is inherently inefficient and not looking out for the best interests of Americans, and you take the initiative to force change then students and parents are going to have to pay more for their burden on the educational system and seniors are going to have pay more for their retirement and healthcare.

Davidl3940
128
Points
Davidl3940 03/03/10 - 01:53 pm
0
0
Tell me again why we need

Tell me again why we need another Medical College in Athens?? A waste of money and resources!!!

DaddyFrog
46
Points
DaddyFrog 03/03/10 - 01:59 pm
0
0
Pulling the rug from under

Pulling the rug from under these people just when graduation is in sight is absolutely wrong. The school should be forced to give them their money back.

Back to Top

Search Augusta jobs