Junior criminology and justice major Samantha Bosch poses for a photo wearing her mask on the steps of Founders Hall April 20, 2020. | Photo by Thomas Lal

HSU Sails into Uncharted Waters

Humboldt State faces enrollment drop, budget cuts and academic department reorganizations

Humboldt State faces enrollment drop, budget cuts and academic department reorganizations

If Humboldt State University was a ship, it would be sailing straight into uncharted seas, thick with fog.

Atop the tallest mast, HSU administrators spy an enrollment drop of around 20% for the fall semester, mainly due to COVID-19. Administrators project a resulting budget cut of around $7.4 million for the next school year and $20 million in the next two years, according to HSU’s most recent enrollment report and webinars held April 13 and 15.

Faculty and staff are scrambling across the deck to reorganize HSU’s academic departments.

Vice President of Academic Affairs and Interim Provost Lisa Bond-Maupin said HSU’s colleges are looking at combining department staff and faculty and adjusting fall course schedules for a smaller student population.

“Those are the strategies we’re looking at—combining staffing where it makes sense and combining chair leadership where it makes sense,” Bond-Maupin said via Zoom interview. “We’re not doing away with academic programs.”

A proposed plan emailed to department chairs of the College of the Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences divided CAHSS departments into four schools, each of which would have one chair. The presumed thinking behind the plan would be to eliminate the need for each department to have its own chair and free up chairs to teach more courses—reducing the number of other needed faculty.

Bond-Maupin did assure that HSU has no plan to cut any academic departments—but semester course offerings will depend on what students need.

Bond-Maupin said that exact proposal probably would not move forward. Bond-Maupin said she and the deans of the HSU colleges are still figuring out what they will do.

With department reorganizations and course offerings expected to be adjusted for the fall, lecturers will likely end up with fewer courses to teach. Bond-Maupin said schedules for a reduced number of students inevitably affect the availability of work. In other words, if all of a lecturer’s courses are pushed off the fall schedule, they would be thrown overboard too.

Bond-Maupin did assure that HSU has no plan to cut any academic departments—but semester course offerings will depend on what students need.

“As enrollment changes, we need to sort of follow the needs of the students,” Bond-Maupin said.

Over 2,000 individuals signed a change.org petition asking for HSU tuition to be reduced for the spring. Bond-Maupin said a change in tuition would come from the California State University Chancellor’s Office, not HSU.

Tuition reduction or not, HSU faces serious challenges. In an April 13 webinar HSU held on the enrollment decline and budget cuts, Vice President of Enrollment Management Jason Meriwether delivered dire news on enrollment.

“If the CSU is in a recession for enrollment, Humboldt State needs to worry about being in a depression for enrollment,” Meriwether said. “I hate to use those terms, but it just forecasts the impact HSU could face in the terms of COVID-19.”

HSU has refunded nearly $2.5 million to students for housing, parking and dining and projects to lose around $7 million by the end of June.

“We are hearing from the governor that there may be some return to being together but with some new social distancing parameters—so that’s possible.”

Lisa Bond-Maupin

Vice President of Administration and Finance Douglas Dawes emphasized the importance of the campus understanding the need to make quick budget cuts. Dawes said HSU is looking into a mix of measures, including hiring chills, spending freezes and retirement incentives.

These hits to the hull come despite progress HSU made before it entered the murky waters of the pandemic—208 local students accepted the Humboldt First scholarship, up from 32 local students per year for the last three years.

Both Meriwether and Bond-Maupin said details of the fall semester remain uncertain and hinge on public health recommendations. Bond-Maupin said HSU is preparing for a variety of potential scenarios, from remaining online to opening partially.

“We are hearing from the governor that there may be some return to being together but with some new social distancing parameters—so that’s possible,” Bond-Maupin said. “We might work with spacing. We also may look at timing. One scenario I can think of is that we are delayed in going back fully to face-to-face, so we begin online. I think we just have to plan for all those scenarios.”

The Lumberjack requested an interview with HSU President Tom Jackson multiple times for this story, but he could not be reached. HSU Communications Specialist Grant Scott-Goforth cited an “incredibly busy time.”

Share This Post

More Stories

Nina G uses comedy to start conversations

During the virtual comedy event held by the SDRC, Nina Ghiselli tells her story and emphasizes the importance of student disability resources within schools.

It’s not just the Capitol Police

As the world watched from their televisions on January 6, we witnessed scenes unfold before our eyes that were, to many, unimaginable: supporters of President Trump swarmed the steps of the U.S. Capitol Building, then proceeded to break in and

The San Jose State University Football Team Comes to Humboldt

On a day’s notice from administration, the SJSU football team spends a week and a half in Humboldt practicing because their county did not allow it. Students react to their presence on campus in the midst of a pandemic. Directed

Homelessness in Humboldt, CA

This is the first trailer of a homeless documentary created by HSU students. We have spent months filming and will continue to film throughout the next year. Follow the heartbreaking stories of the homeless community around Humboldt county and the

Thrifty Arcata

Taking a tour of the local thrift shops in Arcata during the COVID-19 pandemic. Directed and produced by Skylar Gaven.

House Plants Generate Peace and Meaning During the Pandemic

Three different people with the same love for plants! House plants have become quite popular these days especially since we’re all basically stuck inside during the pandemic. Not only are they aesthetically pleasing, but these beautiful green oxygen-makers provide more

Prop 22 represents political favoritism of money over workers’ rights

California’s passing of proposition 22 on Nov. 5 represents a frustrating history of workers’ rights being trampled by the overwhelming influence of greed in politics.  This proposition forces app-based workers to be classified as independent contractors, rather than employees. This

Remembering Evelyn Andrews 10 months after her passing

By Katelyn Dendas It has been 10 months since my friend, teammate and freshman year dorm mate, Evelyn Andrews, passed away. I don’t remember what the grief counselor said or what transpired after that Monday, but I do remember arriving

Protestors seek to defund HSUPD

Two local, activist organizations work together to stage a sit-in against Humboldt State’s police department.

Getting stuck on the Trump train

Writer Anthony Aragon details his experience of accidentally joining a pro-Trump car rally.

Justin Turner exposes the World Series to COVID-19

Justin Turner didn’t need to be the story in the wake of the Dodgers’ first World Series victory in 32 years. Instead here we are, wondering what sort of, if any, punishment Major League Baseball will decide to hand down

Four more years of fear

News Editor Carlos Holguin explains why he is worried about the next four years.

Dismal democracy

The Lumberjack editorial staff comments on America’s flawed electoral system As the world watches the United States 2020 election results, waiting for our pseudodemocratic process to churn out a new president, historically unprecedented voting methods misrepresents the reported Election Day

The Mario triple pack invokes a nostalgia attack

When I was a child, the first video game system I owned was a Nintendo 64. Among the games I played was Super Mario 64. I played it all the time and when I wasn’t playing it, I was lying

Women’s lacrosse drops their competitive season

Greta Roberts, president and player of Humboldt State University’s women’s lacrosse team, made the decision with her coach and teammates to cancel the upcoming spring season. The team decided that not being able to recruit in the fall would be

Dobby’s proposition opinions

Haven’t voted yet? Well, you’re running out of time. Here’s a quick rundown of California’s propositions on the ballot this year

Corporations buy out propositions

In a series of general and misleading advertisements, corporate backers of Propositions 22 and 23 show their grubby hands

CDOR continues virtually

The Campus and Community Dialogue On Race returns covering global justice for Black Lives.

Indigenous Food Sovereignty

Local food management practices of the Tolowa Dee-ni, Yurok and other indigenous peoples.

Humboldt State Admin attempts to discredit the Lumberjack

***A Lumberjack editorial represents both the majority opinion of the student newspaper’s editorial board, nine editors, as well as the overwhelming majority of Humboldt State University’s student body. Collectively, an editorial echos, embodies and advocates for community beliefs.*** Insensitive communications

Music of the Moment 6

21 Savage and Metro Boomin drop a classic with “Savage Mode II”

Spartans arrive at HSU despite campus concerns

***Editor’s note: SJSU football program was tested in congruence with Mountain West conference guidelines*** The Spartans have arrived and this time they’re not carrying spears or shields. Instead the San Jose State football team stepped onto the Humboldt State campus

Music of the Moment 5

After shooting Megan Thee Stallion, Tory Lanez cancels himself

Welcome to the Twilight Zone

Comparisons between episodes of the classic TV show The Twilight Zone and our own dismal reality

Music of the Moment 4

YoungBoy Never Broke Again dodges the sophomore slump with his new album “Top.”

Self-Care Cuts

Changing your hair to change your life

HSU Seaweed Farm sets sail

The first commercially-approved seaweed farm in California will be on the map.

Music of the Moment 3

For better or worse, Big Sean is likely gone for good.

More Layers, More Protection?

Humboldt State demands double masking on campus, does more layers equal more protection?

The Ethnic Studies Bill is a Blessing

Ethnic Studies will thankfully become mandatory for all California State University students – as it should be.

The Complex Interface of Humans and Wildfires

How fire suppression is a mixed bag in Humboldt County Every fire season, blankets of smoke roll over Humboldt County. Here on the coast, that’s as close to wildfires as some of us get. But our practice of fire suppression

Defund HSU’s Police Department

Incidents of racism from the former UPD Chief, past examples of excessive force from current officers and a shrinking university budget.

How Not To Be Bitten By A Kitten

Please prepare to be prey Congratulations, a baby feline has recently come into your life. If they’re anywhere from 2-18 months, they bite. They see you as prey. Because you are prey. You always have been. You always will be.

Graduating Into Uncharted Waters

HSU graduates attempt to navigate a world turned upside-down by COVID-19 In May, Humboldt State University graduated hundreds of students, as it does every year. Unlike past years, graduates didn’t get to shake hands with their respective dean and receive

HSU Cultural Center Budget Slashed

Associated Students leaves student body devastated after significant reductions in cultural center’s budget.

All aboard the plague ship

Unprecedented times are met with normalized behavior, HSU puts students and community members at higher risk after reopening campus and student housing.

Music of the Moment

The hip-hop community rallies behind the Black Lives Matter Movement

Inside the Immune System

How the body uses multiple levels of defense against foreign intruders

Catcalling Can’t Continue

Verbal harassment toward women is about control and the assertion of gender discrimination

Major League Marijuana

Why I don’t think marijuana is everything it’s cracked up to be in baseball

Pigs Compost on Campus

CCAT tries to reduce HSU’s food waste footprint through new pig program