Students upset as COS vet tech program cut

FRESNO, Calif.

They say the associate's degree they signed up for at the College of the Sequoias was slashed with no prior notice a year into their studies.

What Marie Pineau, Rosa Villanueva and Brandi Kleeger all have in common is a love of animals.

"I have always loved animals. It's just that need to help them," Kleeger said.

Until this week they were hoping to put that passion towards careers as registered veterinary technicians.

All three say they had completed half of a two-year associates degree at the College of the Sequoias when school administrators notified them their degree had been dropped.

"The second week of class they are telling us now. After we have invested and we have fixed our schedules to commit yet again and now it's all over and there's nothing we can do," Marie Pineau of Visalia said.

Vice President of Academic Services Jennifer Laserna says COS is facing at least a $2 million budget deficit. Laserna says the community colleges policy requires 15 students per class but the vet tech program was too small.

"We had eight students in the two classes we were running this semester and with our budget deficit right now we can't afford to run classes with that low number of students," Laserna said.

COS administrators maintain because of that tight budget the college can't afford to have an accredited vet tech degree, but students are disappointed staff members encouraged them to study there for a year before notifying them.

"I want my time back. We spent so much time away from our families," Pineau said.

Despite the challenges ahead, all the women say they plan to stick with professions that help heal animals.

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