an member station
Dr. Carol Lucey, former president, Western Nevada College
During the last six years, Nevada’s largest universities have fought over who gets the lion’s share of funding -- meanwhile, smaller state schools have had to scrounge for scraps.
That’s certainly been the case for Western Nevada College, which serves seven counties including Lyon, Storey, and Carson. Western has seen its share of state funding shrink by almost a third in the last three legislative sessions.
And last week President of the school, Dr. Carol Lucey, resigned, stating “what else can I do?”
She says her resignation was not meant as a protest, but was simply a personal decision.
“I’m very proud of what we built here,” says Lucey. “I think going forward it will continue to be a very very strong college. But the political leaders in this state have it within their power to destroy it. And the current direction to me in which they’re heading suggests that’s going to happen.”
Lucey says that the school once had almost 80 on faculty, but now has less than 50 – “draw your own conclusions” – and that the budget cuts were thoughtless and politically motivated.
She says that the nursing school was slated to add a new faculty member in the fall, but the budget constraints now make this impossible. She particulalry doesn't want to see the nursing program face steep cuts because, she says, not only do the rural nursing students lose out on the accessibility of local training, but the communities the graduating nurses serve will suffer.
“These rural communities really need health care,” she says, adding that the passage of the Affordable Care Act means an even greater need for health professionals.