Friday, September 30, 2016

The Amazing Careers of the 1%

By Professor Doom

      While certainly the student loan scam is a big factor in the debasement of higher education, I fear I’ve overlooked how much the plundering “leaders” of higher education are a factor here.

     A century ago, the President or Chancellor or whoever ran an institution of higher education viewed himself as a steward: a guardian and protector of the institution, the students, the scholars, and the sacred mission of the institution.

      The days of stewardship are long since over. Now they call themselves “leaders,” though a better description would be “pirates.” They come in, figure out how to sell out whatever integrity or reputation the school has left, and leave, often with the smoking ruins of a school behind them. They no longer deserve their titles, and so I refer to them as Poo Bahs and deanlings.

      I’ve seen it time and again in my decades in higher education. The Poo Bah or deanling comes in, threatens me to reduce standards for the sake of “retention,”  hires cronies and incompetents who will willingly do the Poo Bah’s bidding no matter how profane, and the guys at the top often engage in shady real estate deals as well. After the school grows a bit or builds a few more useless buildings, the leaders shakedown the “trustees” of the school for more money, because they’re now ruling a larger institution. They keep it up until there are no more standards to reduce, no more positions to be filled by cronies…then they get a big payoff from the trustees to leave and never return.

      I’ve seen so many of these I can’t count them all, but a reader notified me of the best example of how our higher education system works at the top level, where the Poo Bahs that sell out the fastest reap the greatest rewards.

     So, after taking all he can, Jeremy Brown moves on to a bigger school. Actually, this was his third school:

He has already presided over two colleges: Edinboro University of Pennsylvania and Dowling College, on Long Island. As rector, or top academic official, on Florida State University's campus in the Republic of Panama from 2000 to 2003, he learned to speak Spanish fluently.

--wouldn’t you think they’d want someone who speaks the local language to rule the school? How did he get hired there in the first place? We really should ask questions like this, since nobody else will…it takes 7 years of flawless scholarship for a scholar to move up the ranks to professor, but Poo Bahs can go up and up and up in a few years no matter awful they are. 

     Now, a steward would take pride in what he’s protecting and caring for. I suppose one could try to push for more…but this guy just keeps moving up and up, a skyrocketing career, over literally a handful of years. I doubt any of my gentle readers could boast of so much career advancement in so short a time…I also doubt any of my readers could tell me what, exactly, amazing things this Poo Bah is doing to justify the soaring up the ladder here.

      Ok, so now he’s ruling a school the size of a small town. What did he do at the previous place to justify the big bump up?

It's a far cry from Mr. Brown's previous job at Dowling, which ended abruptly last September after he had spent a little more than a year there. The small college had cycled through several presidents in close succession as it struggled with budget bdeficits and declining enrollment.

"It was a challenge, and I like challenges, but it wasn't the perfect match," Mr. Brown said. "The board and I had a different philosophy on how to move forward, and at the end of the day, we decided to agree to disagree."

Asked what those differences were, he answered, "To me, that's history, and I'm looking forward."

     Does that sound like he was an amazing success there? He barely lasted one year. These jobs pay half a million dollars year or more, why doesn’t anyone ask questions about justifying the hire? The only jobs that pay like this that I know of are in the NFL. Do NFL players really get hired sight unseen, with no justification at all? It seems to me it takes years of high quality play to get that NFL job.

      Why doesn’t it work this way with Poo Bahs?

      Anyway, this guy with a shady past who can’t hold a steady job just stumbles from one high six figure paying position to another. Now he’s the ruler of a system as large as a town. How’s that working out for him?

     Gee, no way to predict that based on his history, right? Honest, at this level, it makes sense to, you know, have a clue who you are hiring, but it never seems to happen. I hate digging into the past of the latest deanling I must deal with…they always have scandalous pasts of ostentatious failure. I really wish we’d go back to the days where faculty, people with some sort of loyalty to the institution, were the ones who held administrative positions, instead of these nomadic mercenaries.

     So, the guy’s gone after less than two years. When I leave an institution, I’m just glad they don’t kick me in the teeth before I go. I suspect most readers, when fired, don’t get much beyond a check for exactly what they’re owed.

      The rules are different for Poo Bahs. Of course:

Board of Trustee's voted unanimously to part ways with Brown immediately, but to pay him $300,000 severance.

     Wow, not even two years, was crap at his job, and gets $300,000 on the way out. This was a community college, so they could have given “free ride” full scholarships for about 60 students, instead of rewarding this peripatetic plunderer. 

      Of course, if Brown was a real educator, he could easily donate the money back, and see that it was used for education. He won’t, of course. Of course.

      What amazing thing did he accomplish in his under 2 years, to justify that massive payout?

A press release following the vote offered no specific praise for Brown's leadership. Instead it acknowledged accomplishments at PCC that happened during Brown's tenure, including the board's adoption of a five-year strategic plan.

     Oh no, not the strategic plan! I’ve written before of these uselessly insulting bureaucratic make-work manifestos. Every time a Poo Bah comes in, the previous strategic plan is shredded, and the Poo Bah (along with hundreds of underlings) commences to working on another plan.

     Please understand, this Poo Bah is unexceptional, and I feel the need to share a quick anecdote of things I’ve seen with my own eyes.

     I was a tiny institution, less than 1,000 students, that spent well over $1,000,000 in administrative pay coming up with a plan for multiple sportsball fields, bleachers that could hold the entire population the town the school was in (and the population of the next town over), and other idiocy. And every year the deanlings would reveal the latest idiotic addition to a plan we all knew was idiotic, and faculty would be forced to sit in mandatory meetings and provide sycophantic applause to ever-greater demonstrations of idiocy. The plan was eventually scrapped completely when the entire campus moved…even when admin knew the campus was to be abandoned, they still worked on the plan for a few more years, and now they’re working on an even bigger plan at the new campus, for some reason.

     Any chucklehead can come up with Visions for Excellence plans, filled with “forward looking statements” and empty promises of a better tomorrow (these plans never indicate how exactly they’re going to pay for or even achieve that shining future, incidentally).

     But surely now with such an extensive track record of failure, he’s done, right? Surely he has no chance of scoring yet another $500,000 or more, much more, a year job? Only in a sane world, alas:

     I…just don’t understand how “normal” people can keep working hard and try to do an honest job when you see the people at the top succeeding no matter how little they deserve it. I have close to 30 flawless years now in higher education, and my “severance package” if my current institution chooses to get rid of me wouldn’t even cover a month’s rent…I doubt any of my readers have it any better, and yet Poo Bahs get hundreds of thousands of dollars as a bonus, just so the school can go searching for someone who will fail less extravagantly.

      Truly, there’s something wrong with this system.

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Student Criticizes BLM = Death Threats, Expulsion

By Professor Doom

     In Ye Olden Days of Higher Education, college was about classes during the week and partying on the weekends. You didn’t even party every weekend, since sometimes you had papers and tests, and you certainly didn’t party final exam weekend.

      That’s pretty much gone. Administration moved in, and the Student As Customer paradigm changed that.

      Now faculty are wary of giving tests on Fridays (because many students are too drunk from Thursday night partying, in preparation for the weekend partying) or even Mondays (too many students too exhausted from partying all weekend). Assigning papers has fallen off sharply, as studies have shown—many students make it through their whole degree program never having to read or write more than a dozen or so pages a semester.

     College being a “4 year party” caused many students to flow onto campus, and their money poured into administrative pockets, increasing their power. Unfortunately, many administrators are “Progressive” and saw fit to use their newfound power for Social Justice concerns. Education became irrelevant, and “leadership,” whatever that means, became the goal of Education. 

     First came warped hiring practices, where hiring was ever more based around skin color and genitals. As more Deanlings were hired based on questionable reasons, administrative power became even stronger—the questionable hires were loyal, since they had nothing else to offer but loyalty.

     This power then turned on the faculty. Faculty were steadily stripped of power, and a culture of fear evolved on campus. Faculty are dead meat on campus, but administrative lust for power is not satiated.

      Now administrators are turning their baleful gaze toward students. It will, of course, start with the weakest and most vulnerable of the students.  That means those not loyal to the Social Justice cause, and daring to speak out about it.

“Black Lives Matter is trash because they do not really care about black lives. They simply care about making money and disrupting events for dead people.”

     The kid has an opinion, he posted it. Back when higher education was about education, someone having outspoken political views was hardly unusual (cf “the 60s”). Back then there wasn’t a horde of ridiculously overpaid administrators with absolutely nothing to do. And, of course,  there weren’t demented Social Justice Warriors around back then either.

     So, instead of simply ignoring what some guy said, Admin now steps in with a letter:

     Consider the arrogance and expense here. Considering just how much money administrators and support staff are paid, typing up and sending out this letter probably cost $1,000 or more of administrative time.

      This overinflated Deanling doesn’t even ask the student to make an appointment, instead demanding this student show up at a particular time and place. The arrogance here is amazing. Can you imagine having a stranger demanding to meet you at a particular time and place? I grant convicts get this kind of treatment…is that really the status of students that don’t comply with the Social Justice narrative now? It was then summarily moved to a later date.

      And, once again, I’ve produced an administrator whose title, the hysterical “Director of Student Assistance, Leadership and Conduct” is well over twice as long as his name. How did higher education get so demented that we now need a Director of Student Assistance, Leadership and Conduct? We seriously need to start terminating the administrative class with extreme prejudice; considering the capriciousness with which they do their jobs, it strikes me as comparably fair to just fire every administrative whose title is more than twice as long as his name.

      With administration putting blood in the water, the student became a target, and the SJW students closed in:

In addition to the reaction from Purdue, Nash found himself the target of multiple online threats from fellow students, some of whom he says called him a “dirt racist conservative scumbbag [sic],” and promised “if i ever see u on campus i am going to cut u till i see blood.” Nash reported these comments to Facebook, the university administration, and filed a police report.

     While I don’t believe administration should pay attention to political statements by students (much less order them to come to campus and explain themselves), I do believe that when one student threatens another with physical, mortal, violence, that’s when admin should do something.

      The deanling won’t move to stop the violence against the outspoken student, of course, because he’s intellectually dishonest here: this guy doesn’t care about student conduct (despite his ponderous title)…he cares about Social Justice warfare, a warfare that doesn’t have much in the way of compassion or tolerance for opposing views.

      The vitriol is particularly strong here, because the SJWs feel like the student has betrayed them:

“I believe students are mad about me being a gay conservative because it’s so foreign and unheard of,” Nash says. “Most students on my campus are extremely liberal and have a hard time understanding how a gay man could be conservative. These students hold the false belief that gay people are being oppressed by conservative groups. They think of me as a traitor of sorts, I appear to be siding with the enemy.”

     I’ve mentioned before the incredible hatred and bigotry that conservatives must endure on campus; I’m sure it’s a big factor in why most faculty and students are liberal.

     Please understand this whole movement is toxic and self-destructive. Ultimately nobody is pure enough, everyone who is against this movement is “the enemy” and a “betrayer of the cause.” As their power grows, more and more effort will be made to weed out the impure, until…?

      I can’t understand the end game here, although I suspect it will involve administrators with titles fifty times longer than their names.


Saturday, September 24, 2016

The Most Racist College: Scripps

By Professor Doom

      People should believe what they want to believe, and that includes hating who they want to hate. I don’t think hatred is such a good idea, mind you, but I would never be so presumptuous as to try to force another person into thinking differently.

      While beliefs should be free, I shouldn’t have to pay to support another’s beliefs, although the student loan scam certainly allows for it. How bad does it get?

“Dear White Students…”

     Scripps is a Women’s College, of around 1,000 students, in good ol’ California. The students have access to an “unofficial” survival guide, filled with a great deal of good information like how to get used books, outfit the dorm cheaply, register for classes, and other things.

      It’s also filled with a considerable amount of anti-white racist dreck. Granted, it’s “unofficial,” but as a believer in rational thought I find it hard to accept that people can honestly think this way, and so I find it surprising (if undeniable) when I see such abominations in print:

“Reverse Racism does not exist because there are no institutions that were founded with the intention of discriminating against white people on the basis of their skin.”

--ibid, page 150.

     Wait, what? Do these people know about the Black Entertainment Network? The Black Panthers? Nation of Islam? Maybe they’re talking just about institutions of higher education? Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) is a phrase and acronym for a reason; there are over 100 of them

      The disinformation continues in a long one-sided screed about “White Privilege.” I could dispel these point by point, but it’s the omissions that stand out. The guide mentions blacks are under-represented in higher education, but fails to mention whites are under-represented in the NBA, for example. 

     Is it a sign that I’ve been brainwashed, at least a little, that I do feel we could do better in higher education, but am unconcerned about the “bias” of the NBA because I just figure whites don’t play as well? NBA players are quite capable of living successful, happy lives, after all, with far more wealth than I’ll ever see, despite my “white privilege.”

     The Guide gives helpful advice for dealing with all this “information”:

“Asking people of color to absolve us of our guilt…”

     It’s amazing that such a screed could get printed up so nicely, it really belongs on crude pamphlets, passed out by deranged street people. Now, I grant that this is an “unofficial” guide, and shouldn’t be taken seriously, but campus officials don’t have a problem with it, and link to it on their website.

     If any faculty member anywhere tried to say anything so odious in regards to any other ethnic group, he’d be terminated, and his office might even be set afire. Why is this so one-sided?

“Always ask people for their pronouns…”

--page 160, which also indicates “transsexual” is no longer politically correct. It’s “transgender” now. Good to know, I guess.

      There are pages of this stuff in the guide, addressing gender (and transgender) issues in remarkable, if bigoted, detail.

     Instead of outrage, the response to this bigoted literature is, of course, supportive:

Since the guide’s publication, several student movements across the Claremont College system (the “5C’s”)—including a “Hurting and Healing” event held by The 5C Students of Color Alliance—have advocated for the creation of racially segregated spaces (called “Safe Spaces”) that are off-limits to white students.
--am I alone in thinking “off limits to whites” is a form of racism?

    There is a laughable attempt at fairness on page 50, with a comment by an alleged Conservative:

… She implies her conservative family, not her leftist professors and fellow students, are the intolerant people who need to change. Her parents, she writes, "were less than thrilled with the new perspectives I gained at school ... [and] no one wanted to hear what I had to say."

--it’s so badly written that calling it “Potemkin” is generous.

      For all their alleged non-discrimination they assert on paper, these people are very hate-filled, and unwilling to consider other points of view:

In 2014 Scripps College abruptly rescinded an invitation to Pulitzer Prize-winning conservative columnist George Will to speak at the ninth annual Elizabeth Hubert Malott Public Affairs Program, "the mission of which," says the Claremont Independent, "is to bring speakers to campus whose political views differ from the majority of students at the all-women's college[.]" 

Will was ostracized because he wrote a column expressing skepticism about the exaggerated reporting of rape incident on the nation's campuses.
But Will is a white male, so no one at Scripps College needs to hear from him anyway.

     This atmosphere can only exist if the administration not just allows it, but encourages it. It’s why you can’t even apply to Physics jobs now if your skin or gender is not proper.

      As is so common with this ideology, its own toxicity will eventually cause self-destruction:

At Scripps College last October student activists denounced "Project Vulva," reportedly created by feminists "to initiate dialogue about the stigmatization of vulvas in society." Organizers described the event as "educating people about the vulva in order to confront society's stigmas and stereotypes, and make people more comfortable with the many varying images and types of cis and non-cis vulvas."

Even that exquisite, avant-garde example of political correctness was savaged by campus uber-radicals. Critics attacked the event for being "extremely transmisogynistic" and "incredibly violent to trans women." 

      I come back to the insult to injury here. It isn’t simply this school hates me strictly because of my genitals or the color of my skin. This is a fully accredited school, with tuition over $57,000 a year. Accreditation means this school qualifies for student loans, which pay much of that tuition. My tax dollars are literally paying to train these people in hatred. This isn’t simply a hatred of me, but also a hatred that will eventually lead to self-destruction. I see no reason I should pay for this.

      And so once again I conclude we need to get rid of the student loan scam.