College of San Mateo axes student paper

Budget cuts and cancelled classes are nothing new in the academic world. Particularly during the past decade.

But when The San Matean student newspaper — an institution in play since 1928 — is cancelled with utter lack of explanation? That’ll make a teacher and his students take notice. And get a little extra upset.

Such is the case for College of San Mateo instructor Ed Remitz, who found out through a student — not directly from the school — that a number of his classes, including the production class for the school’s newspaper, had been cancelled.

In a seemingly shocked email to the San Mateo Daily Journal, Remitz explains that he finally received an email from CSM Tuesday informing him that low enrollment had led to the cancellation of his classes — as well as The San Matean.

Remitz admits the school has suffered from “enrollment problems” and the number of students that take his courses have never been very high.

The Daily Journal reports the College’s cancelled the classes following a policy that a class needs at least 20 enrolled students. Remitz tells the Daily Journal that since he started teaching at the college in 1989 “his classes have never had 20 students enrolled in them.”

Add to that: Last Remitz wrote, Dean Kevin Henson hadn’t returned his calls with an explanation as to why the paper was being canned.

Former students are rallying to get the paper reinstated and publication classes operational. Former San Matean editor Kayla Figard — now attending San Francisco State University — told the Daily Journal former San Matean staff are collecting signatures to show how much the paper has meant to so many people:

“For many, the San Matean is where their passion for journalism started.”

The push against the cancellation of the classes and paper also led San Francisco Peninsula Press Club President Marshall Wilson to express support to the Daily Journal:

“The College of San Mateo has run an excellent journalism program for many years and it is extremely unfortunate that classes were canceled.”

Wilson has even gone so far as to offer to speak to college officials on the newspaper’s behalf.

But for the time being, Remitz is still looking for more in-depth answers as to why the newspaper was shut down.

He wrote in his Tuesday email:

“There is no further explanation. Perhaps I will receive more information tomorrow about the death of a newspaper that has published since 1928.”