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Students should be priority during golden handshake

We at The Telescope would like more answers concerning our future at Palomar next semester. With so many vacant seats, we wonder what our education will look like in Fall 2015.

Faculty and staff had the opportunity to retire early and receive a bonus amounting to 75 percent of their annual salary, also known as a “golden handshake.” The last day to sign up was April 3, with a retirement date set for July 1.

Our college president, vice president of instruction and vice president of human resources have already announced their decision to retire, as well as a few deans. But, that’s all we know.

With so many important people retiring, we not only want to know who will be leaving, but how Palomar intends to fill those seats with the most qualified people. We also want to make sure our professors can handle the extra workload and still be available during class and office hours so our education is not jeopardized.

Since April 3 was the deadline to formally accept the golden handshake, that doesn’t leave much time to fill all those positions.

Our education should be the most important topic of conversation, rather than how much money can be pocketed.

Search committees are time-consuming and require energy, which means less of that time for students. So if a significant amount of faculty and staff retire, the remaining faculty will be burdened with an increased workload, because the positions won’t be filled in time.

Some search committees haven’t even made much progress and others can’t even be created yet.

The vice president of instruction search was announced as failed because only one person applied. Due to lack of interest within the college, school officials branched beyond Palomar’s walls.

We wonder how long finding replacements will take and, with such a rushed timeline, we worry positions will not be filled with the most qualified person.

The official timeline for the next president of Palomar to begin is not until January 2016. That’s a long time to have an interim president, a person who may not even care because the job is temporary.

Professor positions will not be filled in time for the start of next semester either, which will leave a void in some departments. In others, it will be devastating.

Not being informed of a plan for next semester is unacceptable. As students, we can demand to know what our school intends to do to stabilize our education next semester. We need to write the president and five elected, governing board members and demand that Palomar is staffed in such a way to keep students first.

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