My august university president says: too many faculty because… “quote-unquote ‘overstaffed'” (air quotes included)

Yesterday, at BGSU my fine university’s Faculty Senate meeting, faculty once again grilled upper management administrators on recent faculty cuts.

Pres. Mazey our august president’s response?  Resorting to air quotes.  Now that’s intellectual leadership.  More below the fold.

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The real March Madness: BG-SU cuts faculty, amazingly still has $2 mill for new hoops coach

Just this past week, faculty at BGSU my fine university were given pink slips.  Not for poor performance; it’s part of Mary Ellen Mazey our august university president’s campaign to cut full-time faculty.  Last year, 72 faculty; this year, another 30.  Why?  The usual jumble of explanations that administrations give, sometimes based upon enrollment, other times on finances, other times on phase of the moon.  Meanwhile, yesterday BGSU my fine university announced the hiring of a new basketball coach, Chris Jans, previously an assistant coach for Wichita State, for a six-year, $325K-a-year deal, and who knows what additional incentives.  This despite the fact that that the previous coach made $200k, and BGSU my fine university’s men’s basketball team last went to the NCAA tournament around the year the new coach was born.  If BGSU my fine university’s men’s basketball team were an academic program with the same success rate, it would have been cut a long time ago.  This is on top of a new football coaching hire a few months back, also paying the new coach more than the old one, rather than starting someone at a much lower salary, as happens for professors.

I don’t resent the coaches.  If someone offered me the money, I’d take it.  I know several of BGSU my fine university’s coaches personally, and they value education, try to do right by their players, and are wonderful human beings.  Furthermore, most of them don’t make the big bucks, don’t have much in the way of job security, and many have spent years of their lives as an assistant; the life of an assistant coaches in most sports is especially tenuous.  Coaches themselves are usually not the problem.  Administrators who give them big money while claiming poverty for the university’s primary mission, that’s another story.

When BGSU my fine university make claims not to be able to afford faculty, that’s not merely inaccurate, or an interpretation of finances.  It’s a bald-faced lie.

You could look it up: lower state funding for higher ed, higher costs for poor students

Don’t just take my word for it.  Two new online calculators show a) how state support of higher education as a proportion of universities’ budgets has plummeted, and b) how recent policies at the federal, state, and institutional level have combined to increase poor students’ costs in relative and even absolute terms compared to rich students.  In either one, you can look up hundreds of institutions.  BGSU my august institution for some reason isn’t on the first one, but it is one the student cost tracker one, and the results are shameful.  Between the 2008-2009 year and the 2011-2012 year, net price in inflation-adjusted dollars for poor students (defined as family income less than $30k) went from $10,765 to $13,966; that’s an increase of $3,201, or nearly 30%.  For rich students (defined as family income over $110K), net price barely budged, rising from $18,817 to $19,236, an increase of $419, or a smidgen above 2%.  Some of these are beyond the scope of BGSU my august institution’s ability to address.  But not scholarships.

Kasich to faculty: Be Nigel Tufnel

Imagine a governor proposing that all firefighters, or all police, or all [insert favorite public employment here] work 10% more, for no additional compensation.  Most people, I hope, would think such unilateral increase of work for no pay un-American, a breaking of a contract between employers and employees.  But yesterday, John Kasich our darling governor proposed exactly that for Ohio public university faculty, as he has twice before (don’t worry, it won’t be approved; I’ll explain below).  Why?  One might say that he’s trying to solve the problem of the high cost of education, but as his staff knows full well, this measure would gain minimal savings.  It’s actually about something else: hostility to public workers in general and professors in particular.

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