Saturday, November 28, 2009

The University of California Budget Crisis

Cross-posted by Gary Fouse

It seems that I have gotten the attention of a few folks within the University of California system with my tongue-in-cheek critiques of the recent student protests and occupations over the tuition hikes and budget cuts that have taken place. I would like to turn serious for moment and discuss the issue head on.

First of all, the protesters and their supporters are mis-directing their anger. Instead of blaming the universities for this mess, they should be demonstrating in front of the state capitol in Sacramento. It is there that this whole disaster was created with the out-of-control spending that has been going on for a couple of decades. Where were the protesters even two years ago when they could see what was happening in the state because of the tax and spending habits of the legislators? I'll bet virtually none of these folks were complaining while Sacramento was throwing huge sums of money around for wasteful social projects, many of which were designed to provide services to illegal aliens.

Where were they then?

The fact is most of these demonstrators were probably applauding all the social spending for liberal causes.

Now the hard reality is that there is no more money. You can't demand that the universities spend more money when they don't have it to spend.

But here is one thing that the students should be upset at, and yet, it appears they don't even know it. Recently, UC decided to cut back on in-state admissions in favor of out-of-state and international admissions. That is happening state-wide in the whole UC system. The reason is obvious. The out-of-state and international tuition is about 3 times higher than in-state.

On the other hand, isn't a university system-of any state- supposed to serve in-state applicants first since it is they (or their families) who are paying state taxes to support the universities?

I can't blame the students for being unhappy about the tuition hikes, which will indeed, drive thousands out of the UC system including many who have not even demonstrated. It is not that I don't have sympathy for them. However, those who have marched in lock step with the usual rabble-rousers and engaged in destructive or disruptive behavior on the campuses to express their anger have lost any sympathy that I may have had. For them, it is time to grow up and start living in the real world that exists beyond the cocoon of the university. It is not-as they claim-"their university".

It is also time for many who teach or administer in the UC system to realize that what happened last week is, in many respects, a case of the chickens coming home to roost. Many of these students were putting to use some of the things that they probably learned from some of their teachers. In addition, if the universities want to find places to cut without hurting education, they could start with some of the outlandish, politically-correct departments that have been forced on them over the past 4-5 decades. I am talking about UCSC's Community Studies and History of Consciousness departments, the Feminist studies departments, Gay, Lesbian, Transgender, Transsexual and "Confused" departments, as well as the ethnic studies departments that have done little more than foster a sense of resentment, etnocentricity and victimhood among its students, who graduate ill-equipped do much more than teach the same subjects to the next generation.

They could also take a look at some of the academic frauds who are indoctrinating our students rather than educating them. These students and their families are not paying all this extravagant tuition just to come to school and learn that the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq are "wrong", Israel is a Nazi-like state, and that George W. Bush was an "idiot". Yet, that is precisely what they are getting in many of the Humanities departments. That is not an education.

But what do I know? I'm just a humble ESL teacher. I don't have a PHD after my name.

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