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News-Press Editorial: GCC teachers' sacrifice deserves respect

July 05, 2013

Glendale Community College students who in recent times found themselves scrambling to find classes are now on the receiving end of a generous gift from their teachers: Full-time faculty members at the Verdugo Boulevard campus have agreed to take a substantial, 35% pay cut to teach short-term winter and summer courses. This gives the college about $340,000 to offer more of these intercession classes.

This is a real boon to the students who need to complete enough course work to matriculate to universities without being forced to spend extra time and money in order to achieve that goal. The teachers are to be commended for their largesse.

Of course this sacrifice on the part of the teachers demonstrates a long-held tradition; community colleges across the nation employ faculty geared to handling heavy, student-centric loads, rather than hiring professors whose main focus is on research. At GCC, the students clearly take precedent. This is as it should be. Many are working full- or part-time jobs in order to pay for their education while supporting themselves. They need to be able to complete their studies in a timely manner so they can move on to the task of achieving whatever their higher goals may be.

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Unfortunately, the relationship between the GCC Faculty Guild and administration has frayed in recent years, to the point that Isabelle Saber, the guild’s leader, resigned from her union post in the spring. We believe that while perfect harmony may be difficult to achieve, the college’s new leadership must take care not to take advantage of the teachers’ mind-set of putting their pupils first. Otherwise, they will risk losing the best and brightest of those educators. That would be a real loss to the students the school serves — and to the community as a whole.

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