Hundreds of University of Nebraska, Lincoln professors have signed a letter urging state officials to stay out of university affairs after an August incident put the school in the national spotlight.
As Campus Reform reported, several professors harassed and bullied the president of the school’s Turning Point USA chapter while she was recruiting on campus, even flashing her the middle finger and calling her a “neo-fascist.”…
These are same the people who equate failure to use made up pronouns with literal violence and, if their victim-group meta-narrative is questioned, retreat to their safe spaces gibbering about the lack of safe spaces in order to avoid any actual debate. And they do this in an institution originally intended to foster intellectual diversity. It goes without saying that use of the word “irony” must be preceded by a trigger warning lest they melt into puddles of Social Justice goo.
Some UNL professors feel threatened enough by the Nebraska legislature to pen a letter minimizing their colleagues’ zealous Newspeak doublethink:
Now, 300-plus professors from across a variety of university departments have responded, accusing the senators of leveraging “a single campus interaction into a sustained attack on the university that has greatly surpassed the scope and import of the initial incident.”
The incident is neither initial nor single, it represents the submerged part of the postmodernist academic iceberg. Which, by the way, is an avowed attack on universities that’s been sustained for 50 years.
The professors glide right past the legislators’ point that UNL’s English department mission statement excludes “…words such as “classical literature studies,” “writing,” “poetry,” and “novel”… while generic statements like “pursuing social justice” and “affirming diversity” are included.” And they ignore other signs of this decay, such as Yale removing classes on Chaucer and Shakespeare from requirements for a degree in English. It’s not only not a single incident, it’s a pandemic.
Despite their pompous disingenuity, the professors recognize potential real world consequences:
“We fear that financial hostage-taking by members of the state government will result in changes by the administration in the intellectual offerings of the University and opportunities for our students,” the letter reads.
Changes by administrators seem like a great idea, second only to a change of administrators.
In any case, they were financial hostages the very second their University decided to accept government funding. Legislative interference is just a consequence of the fact they volunteered for it.
The professors continue (italics mine) with a breathtaking display of self-unawareness:
“Their [legislators’] lack of consistency in protecting and respecting students’ political views, particularly those that diverge from their own, reveals the political nature of this manufactured crisis,” it continues, saying government interference with the university has put both the value of a degree from the school and “intellectual freedom” at risk.
They’ve badly misread their situation, or they wouldn’t argue for the existing consistent policy of humiliating anyone who doesn’t agree with them about the political crisis they manufactured. It’s not like having professors call students names and flipping them off for their ideas would signal prospective students about the educational content they deliver, or their Orwellian definition of “intellectual freedom.” No, it’s the fact that legislators drew attention to it.
And that hardly exhausts the lack of self-awareness being demonstrated:
Professor John Bender, one of the signatories, told Campus Reform that while he believes “it is appropriate for state legislators to be interested in and aware of what is going on at all publicly funded institutions, including universities, it is not appropriate for them to be involved in matters of hiring, firing, disciplining, and other administrative matters.”
It’s exactly those administrative policies which created and perpetuate the hive mind, so how else can Professor Bender defend his “University Privilege?”
And, let’s not forget the utter contempt in which universities hold their own hostages. Student loans are a big topic today, and the cost of a university education has caused them to explode. Where is the money going? Well, even the Huffington Post:
In all, from 1987 until 2011-12—the most recent academic year for which comparable figures are available—universities and colleges collectively added 517,636 administrators and professional employees, or an average of 87 every working day, according to the analysis of federal figures, by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting in collaboration with the nonprofit, nonpartisan social-science research group the American Institutes for Research.
“There’s just a mind-boggling amount of money per student that’s being spent on administration,” said Andrew Gillen, a senior researcher at the institutes. “It raises a question of priorities.”
Universities have added these administrators and professional employees even as they’ve substantially shifted classroom teaching duties from full-time faculty to less-expensive part-time adjunct faculty and teaching assistants, the figures show.
“They’ve increased their hiring of part-time faculty to try and cut costs,” said Donna Desrochers, a principal researcher at the Delta Cost Project, which studies higher-education spending. “Yet other factors that are going on, including the hiring of these other types of non-academic employees, have undercut those savings.”
Part-time faculty and teaching assistants now account for half of instructional staffs at colleges and universities, up from one-third in 1987, the figures show.
During the same period, the number of administrators and professional staff has more than doubled. That’s a rate of increase more than twice as fast as the growth in the number of students.
…and the New York Times:
[P]ublic investment in higher education in America is vastly larger today, in inflation-adjusted dollars, than it was during the supposed golden age of public funding in the 1960s. Such spending has increased at a much faster rate than government spending in general. For example, the military’s budget is about 1.8 times higher today than it was in 1960, while legislative appropriations to higher education are more than 10 times higher…
[A] major factor driving increasing costs is the constant expansion of university administration. According to the Department of Education data, administrative positions at colleges and universities grew by 60 percent between 1993 and 2009, which Bloomberg reported was 10 times the rate of growth of tenured faculty positions.
Even more strikingly, an analysis by a professor at California Polytechnic University, Pomona, found that, while the total number of full-time faculty members in the C.S.U. system grew from 11,614 to 12,019 between 1975 and 2008, the total number of administrators grew from 3,800 to 12,183 — a 221 percent increase.
…get it* – it’s going to those administrators whose activities Dr. Bender says are outside the purview of the legislature:
“They can set overall policies, but they should not be engaged in what are essentially administrative functions. This is the principle of separation of powers,” he added, suggesting that the August incident has been “played out of proportion by people with a political agenda.”
Here Dr. Bender seems to confuse UNL with branches of actual government and conflate them with religious institutions, which, while they may have political agendae, aren’t funded by the government – and are prohibited from proselytizing political views at risk of losing tax exempt status. And it’s cute that he excoriates someone else’s “political agenda” in defense of a political act.
What’s the overall policy of a University, anyway? Safe spaces for Social Justice Warriors, or a place promoting intellectual curiosity about “dangerous” ideas?
If “universities” want to be treated like universities, they need to act like universities instead of re-education camps.
*Note, the Huffpo and NYT articles are from 2014 and 2015. The problem is only worse today.