Here is the full text of the student petition to the CSF Board of Trustees and President, which bears 312 signatures. (We mailed personalized print copies of the petition and all the signature pages to each member of the Board):
We, the students of the College of Santa Fe, believe that we have been fraudulently or negligently misled to think that the Spring semester of 2009 was completely paid for, without expense to our quality of education (as of Fall of 2008). The entire college community was informed numerous times in a wide array of public forums, mass emails, and letters that the Spring 2009 semester was completely secured through donations from a board member and an alum. We were promised that we would suffer no loss of our quality of education. Our President, Stuart Kirk, representing the Board of Trustees, informed us of this.
We now know that such is not true, that we do not currently have sufficient funding to carry us through the completion of this semester, and that 3 million dollars of this semester’s deficit was contingent on a failed land sale to New Mexico Highlands University, which needed to pass through the uncertainties of votes in the New Mexico State Legislature.
We were uninformed of this pivotal detail when we needed to decide whether or not to attend The College of Santa Fe in the Spring of 2009, or transfer to another institution. We believe that this lapse in communication, whether intentional or truly unforeseen, was misleading, fraudulently or negligently. If the Board and the President wish to dispel notions of intentionally misleading the CSF community, we request that all official documents (Board meeting notes, minutes, etc.) generated during December of 2008 and January of 2009 be shared with us.
As students of the College of Santa Fe, we have entered in a contractual agreement with those who manage CSF (i.e. President Kirk and The Board of Trustees). We are paying a substantial tuition to attend classes, receive credit and eventually a degree from the College of Santa Fe. We have paid for and expect the quality of education that we were promised—the quality of education that existed in Fall of 2008 and prior semesters.
If the Spring 2009 semester were to terminate before the scheduled end of this semester (5/16/09), we will consider this a serious breach of contract. In addition, by attempting to account for money needed to complete this semester by drastically reducing the salaries of the faculty, and the working hours of the staff, to the point of being unlivable, we believe that our current quality of education is dramatically lessened, and we similarly see this as a serious breach of our contract. In a city where rent is high, and professors’ salaries are already low, many of our beloved faculty and staff will need to take on additional work to make ends meet. To no fault of our beloved faculty and staff, who are merely trying to survive in this impossible situation, we have already witnessed and experienced instances of this. We only expect to see more, and this will clearly result in an unavoidable loss of the quality of our education.
We reserve the right to pursue appropriate causes of legal action against President Kirk and the CSF Board of Trustees, for damages compensatory and punitive, if we, the students, find that we have not received the quality of education we have paid for, deserve, and demand. We ask that all members of the Board of Trustees assume full fiscal responsibility for the entire deficit we face this semester (i.e. find or generate the necessary finances to get us through this semester without faculty pay cuts or tightening of staff hours), given their responsibilities as the fiduciary agents, fundraisers, and managers of this institution, and given their aforementioned promises.