The Tribune’s editorial congratulating Cal Poly and disparaging UC Irvine is a bit premature. Finding housing for additional students is not the only problem facing these schools and others. Classroom space must be found and additional instructors hired.
Based on my experience as a department chair, this will not be easy at Cal Poly. Most classrooms have a capacity of 35 to 45 bodies, and are already fully scheduled at reasonable times of the day. I tried to schedule 7 a.m. classes and all too frequently had to cancel them because of low enrollments — students would choose a light course load over getting up early even if it meant delaying graduation.
Furthermore, in large metropolitan areas there are many decently qualified people willing to teach one or several courses at the last minute. This is not true of SLO County, particularly for technical disciplines. Even hiring tenure-track folks is not easy, thanks to high housing costs and lack of employment opportunities for partners.
It is therefore not obvious that Cal Poly did the right thing in agreeing to accommodate additional students.
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Jay Devore, Los Osos