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MCC faculty continue push to prevent staff layoffs ahead of budget vote

Gino Fanelli/CITY

Monroe Community College professors held a rally outside the Brighton campus on Wednesday calling on administrators and the board of trustees to prevent teacher layoffs.

Bethany Gizzi, president of the Faculty Association union at Monroe Community College, said possible layoffs for full-time professors would negatively impact students for a variety of reasons outside of the classroom.

“Full time faculty are advisors, we lead clubs and organizations ... we run lecture series, we are on committees, like, we’re doing so much around the college that's not just in the classroom, and students would lose access to all of that,” Gizi said.

Staffing cuts reportedly could affect about two dozen positions. Affected staff would receive notice at least a year before termination.

A spokesperson with MCC says discussions are ongoing and no decision has been made. In a statement last week, college administrators said they will honor collective bargaining agreements with the faculty union and look for ways to address financial challenges.

They said those challenges include a historic decline in enrollment. That’s a national trend across higher education institutions.

“I think there's kind of some ripple effects into our community, cutting full-time faculty will inevitably mean that we're negatively impacting the services that we provide to our students,” Gizzi said. “I think we're an important resource. Even if folks don't come to MCC as students, I would imagine that probably most folks in Monroe County know someone who's in some way connected to MCC.”

Representatives of the college’s faculty association sent a letter to some county lawmakers, including MCC alumna county legislator Carolyn Delvecchio-Hoffman, a Democrat who represents part of the city. The letter asked legislators to support the professors as they seek to prevent involuntary staff reductions through ongoing discussions with college management.

“In talking to the union folks, everybody really loves MCC. They don't want to create extra burden on the community, they really want to just work it out and move forward,” said Delvecchio-Hoffman, who attended Wednesday’s rally outside the Brighton campus. “So we're hoping that there can be some other solutions with everybody at the table.”

The next MCC Board of Trustees meeting is on May 30, and the budget vote is expected to take place June 10.

Noelle E. C. Evans is WXXI's Murrow Award-winning Education reporter/producer.