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Philosophy Department runs out of money for tutors mid semester

Ugo+Tsimaratos+checks+out+telescopes+for+students+to+use+for+an+astronomy+project+on+Thursday%2C+Nov.+8%2C+at+the+Santa+Barbara+Museum+of+Natural+History+in+Santa+Barbara%2C+Calif.+Tsimaratos+tutors+astronomy+and+philosophy+students%2C+but+is+no+longer+being+paid+for+his+philosophy+tutoring.+However%2C+he+still+helps+any+students+in+need+of+tutoring+through+volunteering.
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Philosophy Department runs out of money for tutors mid semester

Ugo Tsimaratos checks out telescopes for students to use for an astronomy project on Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara, Calif. Tsimaratos tutors astronomy and philosophy students, but is no longer being paid for his philosophy tutoring. However, he still helps any students in need of tutoring through volunteering.

Ugo Tsimaratos checks out telescopes for students to use for an astronomy project on Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara, Calif. Tsimaratos tutors astronomy and philosophy students, but is no longer being paid for his philosophy tutoring. However, he still helps any students in need of tutoring through volunteering.

Lauren Michelle McGee

Ugo Tsimaratos checks out telescopes for students to use for an astronomy project on Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara, Calif. Tsimaratos tutors astronomy and philosophy students, but is no longer being paid for his philosophy tutoring. However, he still helps any students in need of tutoring through volunteering.

Lauren Michelle McGee

Lauren Michelle McGee

Ugo Tsimaratos checks out telescopes for students to use for an astronomy project on Thursday, Nov. 8, at the Santa Barbara Museum of Natural History in Santa Barbara, Calif. Tsimaratos tutors astronomy and philosophy students, but is no longer being paid for his philosophy tutoring. However, he still helps any students in need of tutoring through volunteering.

Giancarlo Van Hemert, Staff Writer

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Due to overspending, City College is no longer offering tutoring services for philosophy students and won’t allow their tutors to volunteer free help for it either.

With finals fast approaching, philosophy students are out of luck.

“They had a budget and they overspent it,” said Vandana Gavaskar, the director of Learning Support Services.  

The budget Gavaskar is referring to is the amount of money that is allocated towards each department to cover the costs associated with providing tutors.

As of November 7th, the philosophy department had spent $1,634 on tutors, but those numbers were expected to rise. The actual budget, however, had an original allocation of only $920.

The pay rates for the tutors depend on what the type of tutor, seniority and level of expertise, but the starting rate is $11.19 an hour plus benefits, all the way up to $18.21 an hour. Benefits include social security pay and sick hours, which aren’t factored into the hourly wages. In charge of the final decisions on all finances for the tutors is the Tutoring Advising Committee, which decides how much each department will receive in tutoring, and these decisions are made a year in advance.

This raises concerns with students and tutors alike, who worry that the budget deficit for the philosophy tutors runs deep enough to affect even the Spring 2019 semester’s budget as well.

Gavaskar’s response to the concerns were that herself and the other members of the Tutoring Advising Committee need to see that the tutoring is helpful to students before considering expanding the budget.

“Students should step forward and say how they’re benefitting. Present the case to the committee…These testimonials are very important and we don’t get enough of those,” she said.

According to one philosophy tutor, though, there is a large need for tutors in the department.

Ugo Tsimaratos is a 26-year-old City College alumni who is here studying on an international visa. He was hired earlier in the year to work as a tutor contracted by the school, but has been unable to continue tutoring for philosophy due to the budget being pulled. When he was still working, Tsimaratos said he could see up to 40 students a week if there was an upcoming test, and when tutoring was mandatory under certain philosophy professors, he would see about 25 students in a single session.

Tsimaratos still tutors for Astronomy 101, but also volunteered his personal time to offer free tutoring services for philosophy students who need it until the school told him he wasn’t allowed to. In an interview, Gavaskar alluded to this policy, stating liability and safety issues, especially for someone who previously used to be represented by the school.

“In an official capacity, you cannot volunteer tutoring hours,” said Jason Levy, the Tutorial Center Coordinator.

In the meantime, if students need a tutor, Levy and Gavaskar recommended visiting the Learning Resources Center or seeking assistance from a private tutor, as long as it is done off campus.

 

November 20 Correction:

This story was corrected from its original copy to fix an error. The name of the Tutorial Center Coordinator’s name is Jason Levy, not Mark Levy.

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