With the campus still reeling from a recent round of layoffs, Sen. Andrew Hosmer met last week with SEA/SEIU Local 1984 members at Lakes Region Community College. Emotions were riding high at times, but Sen. Hosmer did his best to listen and collect information when needed.
Earlier this month, full-time faculty and staff were given pink slips at three of the Community College System of New Hampshire campuses: Lakes Region, White Mountains and Great Bay Community Colleges. While funding is clearly an issue, the system has made some questionable decisions in creating a top-heavy structure that prioritizes administration over faculty and staff — the people who work with students every day.
The SEA/SEIU Local 1984 arranged the meeting last Friday with Sen. Hosmer, who represents Laconia and surrounding towns in the Senate. Wendy Parent, a staff member in the bursar’s office and the chapter president at Lakes Region, said Hosmer was attentive and clearly concerned with what’s happening to the workers at the college.
“I think he was somewhat surprised there was no mention of layoffs when CCSNH presented the budget to the Senate,” Parent said. Hosmer is a member of the Senate’s budget writing committee.
Many of the employees who were laid off were in attendance at the meeting, and despite facing hardships of their own, said they were worried about the impact layoffs would have on the students.
“One of the faculty members who was being laid off read a letter that a student had written, saying that if it weren’t for that teacher, he wouldn’t have made it,” Parent said.
The student intended to send the letter to legislators, but had first sent the letter to the professor for his feedback. Even after being laid off, the teacher was still working to help his student. That’s the kind of dedication that members at the meeting were worried students would miss if this pattern of layoffs continued.
When asked what they could do, Hosmer said it was simple: call your senator and establish a personal relationship.
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