They Didn't Ask Me (dr_phil_physics) wrote,
They Didn't Ask Me

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A State Hatchet Job


Insert your own joke here: Must be nice to teach college classes, you only work nine hours a week.

This is so ignorant, I hardly know where to begin. But confusing credit hours and work hours is only the beginning. In an effort to slash spending, there are people looking for bogeymen to ridicule the university spending here in Michigan and make it look like the most egregious of money wasting.

Yesterday there was a Detroit Free Press article on soaring payrolls. I read this thing and found myself sputtering "but... but... but...!"

No, the real problem is that both journalists and politicians are conflating "administrators" with "huge salary top administrators". This despite the fact that they were given the correct information. Compare the headline with the article about Grand Valley's spending in this Grand Rapids Press article. Are we even talking about the same thing here?

Irony, Thy Name Is Effective Privatization

If the state legislators want to coat themselves in thick layers of fiscal responsibility by deciding to cut university spending and link state moneys to various control issues*, they may find themselves out of luck. In Grand Valley's case, the state part of their budget has dropped from 68% in 1987 to a proposed 17%. Perennially, GVSU has noted that they have never received the state's promised minimum payment per student**, at the same time the university has seen explosive growth -- 53.9% enrollment increase to nearly 25,000 students in the last decade -- and has consistently moved up the rankings into an excellent regional university. And one which operates on a heckuva lot less budget than some other comparable schools. Of course I teach at WMU, which has its own set of quibbles, I imagine, from the Free Press article and the castigations which are coming out of the legislature.

We're supposed to be worried about the economy and the budget. I get it. We're supposed to be worried about jobs, especially in a state which has seen its major industry undergo a withering reduction. We're supposed to be reinventing ourselves and coming up with a high tech future. And so demonizing the universities which are doing something about this helps us how?

I'm not so naive to imagine that there aren't ways to save moneys. But acting like a GVSU hasn't done a damn thing about their budgets over the last ten years of cuts isn't very productive. And going on about those "administrators" and those professors with those cushy jobs where they only work nine hours a week -- puh-lease.

Dr. Phil

* One proposal is to tie state appropriations to those universities who don't offer same-sex partner benefits.

** In the past ten years there have been numerous attempts to "reward" universities which limit their tuition increases below some set levels in the midst of state budget cutting. Nearly all these deals got reneged on, which makes one wonder why any of our state universities would even bother with trying to play by yet another set of "new reward rules". Seems to me that one cannot simultaneously complain that the state schools are gouging the students with tuition increases while cutting the state supports and then not delivering even what was promised. Oh wait, politics isn't like science -- it doesn't have to make sense. (sorry)
Tags: government, gvsu, michigan, rants, wmu

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