The Customer is Always “College Educated”


Rufus F.

Rufus is an American curmudgeon in Canada. He has a PhD in History, sings in a garage rock band, and does a bunch of other stuff.

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7 Responses

  1. Avatar trizzlor says:

    Wow! You actually undersold the story: tenured and tenure-track professors being laid off; the administration calling it a “conversation about the future”. The whole thing is creepy.

    Still, it doesn’t seem like they had much of a department to cut: “The French program extends to the doctoral level while all the other programs have undergraduate majors”. I don’t mean to be glib, but with a fifth of their budget disappearing, what’s the solution here? And “major restructuring so nothing gets cut” or “cutting engineering” is not fair.

    It is sad that while social diversity has become a top university priority, academic diversity has taken a back seat.Report

    • Avatar trizzlor says:

      @trizzlor, From the comments: “The President set the tone for this at the recent meeting when he announced this decision. For a couple of years, the school’s motto has been “The World Within Reach.” When it was pointed out to him that he was consigning us to reaching only the English-speaking world, he told us that what the slogan *actually* meant was that the “world of opportunity was within reach”.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        @trizzlor, Which pretty much sums up the philosophy of many university Presidents. If you get a chance to look at their webpage, you might want to check out his background from before he became a university President. It’s striking.Report

    • Avatar Rufus F. says:

      @trizzlor, Oh, trust me, if you handed me a red pen and the budget of any university in the SUNY system, I could cut out 50% of the overhead in a weekend and still have time to go dancing. These are huge state universities and, as such, all the unemployed friends of politicians who can’t get shoved into the DMV are shoved into Big State U, given their own spurious “office” and left alone to do jack and occasionally shit. Alas, when budget decisions come up, administrators have the same sort of job security as most bureaucrats. The civil servant has lifetime tenure.

      This isn’t entirely hypothetical either. I spent some time in a SUNY doing research a while back and, in the afternoons, would wander the halls counting all of the superfluous offices in which staff members were bored and unoccupied. My favorite was a fully-staffed office that managed a tee-shirt shop in the dining area- about 400 feet from another tee-shirt shop in the university bookstore. They needed five people to manage the first store, which the students apparently never use. Similarly, there was a fully staffed “legal advice office”- not actually being used by the students either- which I suppose was different from the same service being offered by another staff in an office at the law school two buildings over.

      This is what drives academics crazy about these decisions- you have these huge state universities with ridiculously bloated administrative structures, generally run by bureaucrats with lifetime job security- and that’s not even mentioning the multimillion dollar sports programs- and, as soon as the state tit gets pulled away for five minutes, they panic and decide to cut those “superflous” parts of a university education, like language study, the classics, or theatre. In other words, let’s recreate the stunning successes of the American primary education system at the university level.Report

      • Avatar Rufus F. says:

        @Rufus F., Hmmm… let me clarify- the staff of tee-shirt store office didn’t manage the store- they oversaw the store. So there was another staff that actually worked in the store. All of these people being paid full time salaries that, one would imagine, are higher than those of the grad students that SUNY gets to teach their courses.Report

        • Avatar Aaron W says:

          @Rufus F., You mean grad students do all the hard work that actually makes the university run? Never! All those highly paid administrators must be paid that much for a reason, right?Report

        • Avatar Rufus F. says:

          @Rufus F., Admittedly, it would also help if tenured faculty taught more courses and took less sabaticals. But, then again, it would help if there were more tenure-track job lines being opened. A lot of universities are running out of actual “faculty”, as opposed to those of us who are basically temps.Report