Saturday, October 22, 2016

UNH: Stop Giving Us Money

By Professor Doom

    Higher education underwent a major shift in how our institutions are staffed. In the past, universities were staffed and run by a relatively stable caste of faculty, giving all they can to establish the reputation of the institution they were tied to. Today there are two castes: faculty and administrator. Both view their time on campus as very temporary. The faculty are temporary because they’ve been stripped of job security. Administrators are temporary because they are plunderers: once they’ve taken everything they can from the institution, they move on to another place to victimize.

     There are remnants of the old days, devoting their lives to institutions, but they are dying off. Alas, these elders don’t realize the game has changed, and still do what was so common back when institutions were deserving of loyalty: they leave a big gift to the institution in their will.

     So it was with librarian Robert Morin, who after nearly 50 years of service to the University of New Hampshire left a very nice sum in his will: nearly $4 million. Of this money, he asked that at least $100,000 be spent on the library, and trusted administration to handle the rest of the gift, to “spend it wisely for their students.” Yes, he actually trusted administrators.


     Slobbering over the loot, how did admin divide the spoils

  • $2.5 million toward an expanded career center for students and alumni;
  • $1 million toward a video scoreboard for the new football stadium;
  • $100,000 to Dimond Library, to provide "scholarships for work-study students, support staff members who continue their studies in library science and fund the renovation of one of the library's multimedia rooms."

     That’s right, admin spent the barest of bare minimum on what the librarian loved, and will blow the rest on frivolities. He only asked that at least $100,000 go to his beloved library…and that’s the bare minimum admin will spend, of his money. There’s no administrator at UNH who cares enough about education to think a library deserves more than the barest of bare minimums.

      The $2.5 million on the expanded career center is a waste. I’ve seen this before, and I know this money will be spent on hiring deanlings and lavishly furnishing administrative offices. I know, in theory, this might help students, but please understand on the face of it that the “career center” does nothing for education.

      You really want to help students get a job? Don’t outfit fancy offices and hire deanlings with titles like Vice President of Diversity Career Studies. Instead,  upgrade your training facilities, hire top quality teachers, increase standards, and promote how you’re training the best in the country. Then you won’t even need a career center, because employers will come to you—quality job training is how unaccredited schools stay in business, after all. Don’t those ideas sound like they’ll help students more than fancy offices? The “leaders” running our institutions can’t even dream of such ideas, because they’re plunderers, and nothing more. It would take hard work and real competence to build a quality jobs training program…it’s easier just to take the money.

      At least the career center is a smokescreen, the $1 million dollars being pissed away on a scoreboard for sportsball is pure insult. I’m hardly the only one noticing the twisted priorities here:

In response to that allocation, New Hampshire graduate Claire Cortese wrote a critical blog post for the Odyssey website that was highlighted by Inside Higher Ed. In it, Cortese writes, "I doubt any student will look back in ten years and say 'man, that video scoreboard — that really impacted my experience at UNH in a meaningful and beneficial way.' "

Cortese also notes that the school's football stadium recently reopened after a $25 million renovation.

     Remember when $4,000,000 was a lot of money? Now it barely scratches the cost of renovations on the sportsball stadium, renovations which, apparently, didn’t even include the scoreboard.

      A man devotes his life to an institution, gives them what used to be a staggering sum, and admin repays his generosity by giving the merest pittance to what he loved most: the school library. Even their “thank you” rings hollow:

When we asked a university representative if the bequest will result in anything being named for Morin, Erika Mantz, the school's director of media relations, noted that "a bench in the courtyard outside the library was inscribed with his name."

          Well, that’s something, I guess, though many universities will sell you a bench with plaque for a few thousand bucks. A scoreboard…I bet not one reader in a hundred can even name the UNH team. Perhaps they have multiple teams? I don’t even know, and, like 99.9999% of the people in the world, don’t care.

"Did you hear about the scoreboard?" 

"Yeah. I'll be paying my student loans off until I'm fifty, and they spent a million bucks on a ****ing SCOREBOARD?"

     If you gave millions of dollars to educators, they’d spend that money on education, taking pride in a job well done. Whatever they built with that money would lead to a better school; educators who are tied to a school are motivated to make this happen. People seeing how gifts led to a better school would in turn provide gifts of their own.     
     Higher education is so demented now, and so much of the dementation has to do with its control by people who are not even remotely educators. Now I want to get to the real message UNH just sent to everyone thinking of giving money to them:


     The money was given to administrators, whose only purpose is to blow through the money frivolously, spending only the bare minimum on things that would help education. Anyone thinking about making a donation, and considering what they just did with this huge gift, is snapping the checkbook shut. Yes, admin’s stupid decision will mean there will be fewer, far fewer, gifts like this in the future, but the administrators at UNH don’t care: having taken all they can, they’ll be long gone before having to deal with the consequences of their plundering.

     If you want to help higher education, at this point, you’re better off just handing money directly to a student. Donate even $4,000,000 to a university, and you’ll be lucky if any student anywhere gets even a single nickel’s worth of benefit. So much good could have been done with that money, and the educator in me grieves to see such a waste.

     Please understand, the leadership of UNH is not particularly special in their wanton disregard for education, or even decency. Most every institution is now run by an administrative caste indistinguishable from UNH’s self-called “leadership.” And so, as much as I’d like to help education, I must advise any who will listen: do not donate money to our institutions of higher education. The money simply will not be spent on education.


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