Seattle Central Community College’s film program is about to be shut down and members of the faculty — and the city’s film community — are making a last-ditch effort to save it. Below is a statement sent out by Sandy Cioffi about a Monday night forum to discuss the cuts and “creatively brainstorm alternatives to the proposed closure.”
Elimination of the program was first announced in June following a belt-tightening analysis by the school that looked at how best to eliminate some $2 million and close SCCC’s budget gap. At the time, the school said the film program was a candidate for elimination because of high costs, low completion and relatively low job placement:
Film & Video Communications: Issues requiring additional information: Higher cost to generate FTE that similar-sized programs; sufficient faculty workload; low rates of student completion within program period; less than 40% for job placement.
We’ve asked SCCC for an update on the situation and will add an update to this post if we hear back from them.
Cioffi’s release on the cuts and the forum is below. The filmmaker and teacher calls SCCC Film and Video “one of the College’s successful programs” and cites a waitlist for the program of between 10 to 30 students. The statement says the group has proposed a two-year plan that would keep the program operating while an alternative solution can be worked out.
Attempts to save a program or facility from the cruel axe of budget cuts have not been successful — and aren’t going to get any easier at the school. The recent GOP-led budget proposal in Olympia calls for another $30 million in cuts to higher education in the state including another slice from the community college system. We reported on a group of parents attempting to rally support to “save” the school’s daycare facility last fall. That facility was closed, as planned, despite the effort.
Here is the full statement from Cioffi:
PUBLIC FORUM WITH TOM SKERRITT TO DISCUSS IMPENDING CLOSURE OF SEATTLE CENTRAL COMMUNITY COLLEGE TOP MEDIA PROGRAM
SEATTLE, WASHINGTON – on Monday, March 5, Warren Etheredge will moderate a panel to discuss the proposed closure of the venerable Seattle Central Community College film and video program. The panel will include actor TOM SKERRITT, Executive Director of Washington Filmworks, Amy Lillard, and filmmaker and faculty of the program, Sandy Cioffi.
Marty Oppenheimer, owner of Oppenheimer Camera Products and chair of Seattle Central’s Technical Advisory Committee (TAC), has invited the college administration to participate.
In spite of the fact that Film and Video is one of the College’s successful programs, with an annual wait list of 10-30 students and a history of twenty-six years; the college has proposed to close the program at the end of the Spring, 2012 term. It is the only fully accredited local media production program in which students earn an AAS Degree with most, if not all, credits transferable to local four-year colleges.
Dr. Paul Killpatrick, president of Seattle Central, has cited the expense of the program as the reason for the impending closure. However there are several other programs at the College that are more expensive and many with a cost per FTE that equals Film and Video. Industry owners and local film organizations resoundingly support this program as the gem of production education in the Seattle area.
Sandy Cioffi and Sal Tonacchio, tenured professors in the film/video department, presented a 2year interim plan that would keep the program open at no additional cost to the college while providing time and opportunity for the creation a long-term comprehensive restructure. To date, Dr. Killpatrick has rejected the plan.
This event will provide a forum for the public to engage with the panelists in an effort to understand the College decision, the impact to the larger film community and creatively brainstorm alternatives to the proposed closure.
WHAT: Public Forum
WHEN: MARCH 5, 2012 6 PM
WHERE: Broadway Performance Hall
WHO: Warren Etheredge, Tom Skerritt, Amy Lillard, Sandy Cioffi, Seattle Central film/video current students and graduates.
For more information about the program closure and plans to save it, visit the Facebook page at: https://www.facebook.com/SaveSCCCFilm