By Jerry Casarez
The beginning of the semester is always a crazy time for returning and new students on campus.
Dealing with parking and lines everywhere is something that is expected for everyone during the first week of school. What has come as a surprise to everyone is the number of students being turned away from classes due to insufficient space.
It seems that this semester more than ever before, students are being forced to wait for seating and an opportunity to add a class.
This was the experience for me and others who were trying to add classes in order to meet graduation requirements.
The crowding is the result of budget cuts by the state forcing many students to look for alternative classes to work into their schedules.
In some cases there is no other choice than to try and take the class the next semester.
With the threat of more budget cuts to come that could weaken the current amount of classes offered, we have to ask for a better structure to assure students the opportunity to get the classes they need.
Some instructors put a limit of 45 students per class making first come, first serve sound ideal but it really isn’t.
The priority should go to students who are closest to graduating or transferring.
While those in charge seem to point the finger at budget cuts they say are out of their control, they must start to implement changes to things they do.
The current format is lacking structure and must be revised to help those students in need. There must be alternatives to the current system of vying for a seat based on a lottery.
Why not implement a waiting system where those students can be evaluated and sorted based on their seniority and how close they are to graduating?
Many students have turned to Friday and Saturday classes and online classes, which are at their highest demand.
While many would expect the budget cuts to have an instant effect on the Math and English classes offered, the shortage of available seats has now spilled over to other departments including Science and Arts.
More and more classes are looking like a refugee camp rather than a classroom during the first couple weeks of school. In some instances overcrowding became the issue where the number of available seats were empty instead of being filled by live bodies.
If students are exhausting all possible options to try and add a class to their schedule, the administration should do the same when it comes to helping students in need.
Without their help and a restructuring of the current model, students will fall through the cracks and will be delayed from advancing their college education.
This is an educational environment, so isn’t it time to learn from the past mistakes to assure they don’t happen to future students?