Sunday, September 29, 2019

Harvard Fired Weinstein’s Lawyer

By Professor Doom

     It’s possible I’ve written about Harvard too many times in this blog—I realize very few of my readers are likely to ever set foot on the campus. That said, Harvard is influential, and what happens there can affect how other schools behave. They must be aware of their position, and really should make effort to set some sort of honorable standard. Apparently, that’s merely an opinion on my part:

Harvard Caves to Student Mob, Fires Ronald Sullivan for Being Harvey Weinstein's Lawyer

     Before going further, allow me to state I’m no fan of Weinstein. I’ve heard the tape, while I acknowledge the possibility what I heard was taken out of context, the rumors swirling around that guy (and Hollywood in general) make it tough not to take it at face value. 

     I’m also no fan of lawyers, and I respect Weinstein’s lawyer is going to have his work cut out for him explaining how things aren’t exactly as they appear to be with respect to Weinstein.

     Despite my inherent dislike of Weinstein and lawyers, I acknowledge Weinstein is entitled to a lawyer. Considering how often these sorts of people “are involved in suicide activity” if things get so bad for them that they might turn State’s evidence, it’s simple human decency to give them a fair chance to avoid that fate. The lawyer should be allowed to perform his job without undue interference from forces not directly connected to the case. 

     Alas, these are the days when not only are disreputable people (or people alleged to be disreputable) subject to attacks, anyone associated (or claimed to be associated) with designated targets are also vulnerable.

     Weinstein’s lawyer’s “day job” is as faculty at Harvard. And, as Weinstein’s lawyer, the mob, composed of students, descended upon him. If Harvard acted with integrity, they would have protected the guy, and moreover would have used the opportunity to teach their students (many of whom are likely to become lawyers themselves) how fundamentally wrong it is to attack the lawyer of even the most deplorable person.

     Harvard did not take the path of integrity or the opportunity to teach their students:

“Harvard University’s administration has unilaterally surrendered to a mob of student-activists demanding the termination of law professor…over his “trauma-inducing” decision to join Harvey Weinstein’s legal team.”

     I guess I should clarify that Weinstein has multiple lawyers (he’s entitled), and the professor here will remain as faculty…but these are distractions. None of Weinstein’s legal team is a valid target, and none of them should face outside repercussions for choosing to defend the alleged man.

     According to the students, simply being a part of Weinstein’s defense “has made Harvard an unsafe and hostile educational environment.”

     Rubbish, of course, and Harvard’s caving in to such ridiculous student demands reduces the value of Harvard’s educational environment, especially since Harvard is a law school…they really should support the rule of law over mob rule.

     The implications here are frightening. Harvard is now on the record as implying that simply defending someone accused of sexual misconduct is committing a form of sexual misconduct. While my personal belief is Weinstein is guilty of extreme misconduct, he actually hasn’t been found guilty in a court of law as yet, and his lawyers are in no way guilty of such misconduct regardless of any court’s judgement on Weinstein.

     But the mob thinks so, and Harvard is siding with the mob. If a school such as Harvard has made such a ruling, then, across the country, other schools are going to follow suit. It’s no great stretch to think a faculty member who even allows someone accused of such wrongdoing in his class risks attack…but it’s even worse than that.

     These are the days where innocuous things you did years ago can be retroactively determined as incredibly vile crimes; just how many comedians have seen their careers destroyed, if not damaged, by jokes they told many years ago when it was acceptable to tell jokes about topics forbidden today?

     Is it such a stretch to conceive a professor being punished for giving a good grade years ago to someone in the bullseye today? I certainly can’t rule it out, and Harvard has paved the way for such lunacy.

     Even if my musing in the previous paragraph is fantasy—considering the everyday madness on our campuses I honestly don’t believe so—another issue Harvard has raised here is a student safety issue.

      Their defense of their action, reprehensible on the face of it, is that the students didn’t feel safe, and that Harvard is justified in doing whatever it takes to make the students feel safe.

      And this is still madness.

      Yes, the students didn’t feel safe with Weinstein’s defense lawyer around, but their fears were completely unjustified.  The lawyer isn’t even accused of sexual assault, after all. Instead of explaining to the students, adults, that their fears were ridiculous, Harvard caved in.

     Once again, other schools will take notice and determine that they can indeed do whatever they want in the name of “student safety,” protecting students from ideas they don’t like (already done to a considerable extent), as well as a host of “threats” I can’t even conceive of because I think rationally, and this is not something one can expect of a mob.

       And yet we have people willing to commit criminal fraud and pay ridiculous sums of money just to get their kids into schools like Harvard. I can’t quite pin this on the student loan scam, which is why I often discuss the edu-fascistic takeover of higher ed, as Harvard’s behavior is simply a reflection of it: both admin and the ideologues benefit greatly from abandoning the basic concepts of the rule of law.

Thursday, September 26, 2019

MIT Gives Best Return On Investment, Art School Worst

By Professor Doom

     The student loan scam has driven the cost of tuition so high that “rate of return” is a critical consideration. You must make sure, when buying a college education with loan money, that the return you get on the education will exceed the interest you’re paying on the loan. Otherwise, it’s just a waste of money. A recent article analyzes return on investment for many schools, but missed a few details:

The Colleges With The Best Return On Your Investment…

     Let’s get right to it with the top return:

Massachusetts Institute of Technology offers the best value for the money…

      Yeah, MIT, no kidding. As they say in the get-rich-quick business, “mountain climbing is easy when you’re at the top,” and MIT pretty much shows how it works. This is the top school, and getting into that school is no mean feat—I applied, and at the risk of boasting, my application was almost certainly good…just not good enough.

      That was decades ago. In the intervening years, many universities have taken the opportunity of the student loan scam to grow, grow, grow to extraordinary size, with many schools boasting a student population to rival a township. MIT, on the other hand, still has less than 5,000 undergraduates. That’s what makes the MIT degree valuable, you see…if they churned out tens of thousands of degrees every year like many other universities, their degrees wouldn’t be worth nearly so much.

      Just how much is a MIT degree worth, anyway?

“…median graduate earning of just over $1,000,000 of a 20-year period…”

     Gosh, I remember when admin would regularly shout how a college degree was worth an extra million dollars, and would use that to justify increasing tuition yet again. The simple fact is that number only applies to a degree from the top school. Another simple fact: almost nobody goes there. And yet, we’ve been told for decades to expect the kind of money MIT graduates get to apply to every degree.

     I use the word “fraud” to describe what’s going on in higher ed quite often for a reason…

“…those seeking low student fees should consider a military or maritime academy…”

     Yes, the rate of return here is good, but there’s a price to pay: military service. The real takeaway here is to do what you can to minimize expenses going into higher education, and while military service might not be an option, there are still possibly relatively cheap schools to consider.

      Some schools offer a negative rate of return, which is to say the graduates there do worse than if they’d had no degree at all:

Students at the Maine College of Art pay $184,000 over four years but make an average of $163,000 less than non-graduates do over a 24 year term.

   Over and over again I cover the scams going on at art schools. Bottom line, anyone can get in, anyone can qualify for the loans…and your pay depends not on what you learn at the school, but on your ability as an artist.

     So why do art school graduates earn less than if they’d never been to school? I can only conjecture, but I will, as always, blame the student loan scam. An artist without a loan to pay off is in far better position to take a risk, to take a few weeks off from pouring coffee (the usual outcome of having an Art degree) to experiment with artistic style, to attempt a new technique, to try a new medium…to do something exceptional.

     On the other hand, an art school graduate with a loan to pay off has no choice but to keep on pouring coffee to get that paycheck, most of which will to go pay off the loan for the “education” the art school provided which is worth nothing next to practical experience as an artist.

       Now, if art schools charged almost nothing beyond materials fees (reasonable considering the usual costs of education), I’d be more inclined to recommend them, but their current track record of grotesque failure already led me to believe these places should be universally avoided…but for those who like empirical evidence (not a strong personality trait of artists, to be sure), the article provides the data.

       There are quite a few other schools studied in the article, and I encourage parents with kids in college to take a peek…it may be a bit late to transfer, but there’s always next year.

Monday, September 23, 2019

Study: Widespread Sex Discrimination In College Scholarships

By Professor Doom

     It’s rough being a male on college campuses today. If you’re not told you’re a rapist, you’re told the guy either to your left or right is. You’re told of “toxic masculinity” time and again, and never, ever, will you be told that being male is a good or desirable thing.

      And if you’re interested in a scholarship, well, you’ll need to take a number behind any interested female:

An analysis of sex-specific scholarships at 115 of the nation’s largest universities reveals widespread sex discrimination policies. Among 1,161 sex-specific scholarships, 91.6% were reserved for female students, with only 8.4% designated for male students

     In reading the above, I can’t help but be surprised there are any scholarships strictly reserved for males. I somehow suspect those are sportsball related, reserved for top athletes, necessary for a winning team.

     On the other hand, the female-reserved scholarships are most typically for STEM fields, luring females into science, technology, engineering, or math degrees even if they aren’t so inclined. I have four issues with this:

     First, this is wrong because it’s often claimed there’s an “underrepresentation” of females in these fields. There’s never any research provided, it’s simply taken for granted that since less than 50% of majors in these disciplines are female, it must be a problem.

     Second, and closely related, is the overlooked issue that there are many fields where the majors are predominantly female (hi Psychology!)…but no money is provided to “rectify” the imbalance via strictly male scholarships.

     Third, these scholarships can lure females into field that they wouldn’t try…what often happens here is these students end up wasting a year in courses they just aren’t interested in, causing them to drop out, or harming their GPA.

     Fourth, a big part of the reason these degrees are valued is their scarcity. If, overnight, our country had 100,000,000 people with STEM degrees, we’d just end up with that many more people pouring coffee with a STEM degree. Despite this obvious result from basic economics, the push has been, for years, to increase the size of these programs at all cost.

      Now, there’s a batch of laws called “Title IX” which is supposed to address this level of unbalanced gender treatment. Title IX was originally targeted to protect females…does it work the other way? Yes!

      Well, it does if someone complains enough, and indeed, someone has:

University of Michigan-Flint economist Mark Perry has company in his one-man crusade to expose scholarships that exclude men from consideration in possible violation of the law.

      Now, such complaints can merit investigation, and each investigation can cost around $200,000. Granted, that’s pocket change to most schools…but the gentle reader should realize that a school able to blow this money on an investigation should have already spent the money on scholarships.

SAVE noted Tulane resolved an OCR investigation late last year, but the university suggested the resolution will not change its prior practice.

   While the above is harmless enough on the surface, do note the extreme irony here: the slightest hint, the merest theoretical microaggression against any group besides males, and a school will warp its campus to keep it from ever happening again. 

    On the other hand, when a school has objectively sexist policies against males? They’ll just cough up the money and change nothing.

     When did hypocrisy at this level become such a fundamental part of higher education?



Friday, September 20, 2019

The Deep Frauds Of L.A. Community Colleges

By Professor Doom

    Community colleges are the ripest of fields for fraud. One might think that the for-profit schools would be the best, but for-profits get scrutiny, particularly from our state and Federal governments. As government-run operations, CC’s get a free pass from such scrutiny, and this allows endless breathtaking fraud.

       I’ve looked at LACC a few years ago; they spend about 25% of their resources on 6th grade level material…not a good sign that this is what folk would call a legit community college.

      So what have they been up to lately?

L.A. Community College hit with whistleblower complaint over construction bond program

     Again, non-state schools absolutely engage in highly questionable real estate deals, an easy way to launder the student loan money. The only difference is the state schools get to do the same with tax dollars.

      In this case, we’re looking at $3.3 billion dollar bond…with that kind of money involved, it’s no great shock that there’s some corruption involved.

     The whistleblower was the chief facilities executive overseeing this, and encountered many “issues” once he started oversight of the project. He made his complaints to the higher-ups at the CC, and they responded much as I’ve seen their like respond to faculty with integrity many times: they fired him.

      The CC officially says the complaints are unsubstantiated, while the whistleblower has filed a near $2 million lawsuit. Considering how many times in the past I’ve seen a school say “nothing to see here” only to lose badly in the courts, I’m inclined to believe the whistleblower has the right of it.

      One of his issues was how L.A. CC system, which has a stunning 200,000 students, really didn’t need the new space because it wasn’t using what it already had—spending over $4 million a year just on maintenance for the unused facilities.

      Now, the case is still open, so perhaps I’ll lets the courts pass judgement before I do. Let’s take a look at another ongoing issue at L.A.’s community college system:

LA College Gets Flak Over Public Use of Taxpayer-Funded Track

     So, this, massive, huge community college system has a track. I’m not expert in such things, but it’s top of the line:

Community members say Los Angeles Valley College used taxpayer money to build a $4 million state-of-the-art stadium, but is limiting public use of the track to one morning per week…jewel of the stadium is its 10-lane rubberized track. The school says is the first of its kind in California.

     Because these schools are taxpayer funded, the facilities are often available to citizens, not just students, although naturally the school gets top priority. I guess the CC’s track team uses it often?

LAVC doesn't have a track team, so outside of some physical education courses, it seems like it is seldom used.

      Wow, all that money for a track, they don’t have a team, and they don’t want the public using it, either. Granted, I’ve seen similar ridiculous wastes at a community college, and this is hardly different than building a 5 star restaurant on campus just for the Poo Bah.

      Am I really the only who might suspect some of the gigantic sums of money going into these building projects are really just flowing into administrative pockets? It’s a shame only a government would have the resources to do a full investigation of such a large building project, following all the money, because we know full well the government won’t investigate itself.

     The CC here defends its action by saying it’s a public safety issue, and they just don’t got the money to hire someone to watch the track while the serfs use it (this is a system with more admin/staff than faculty, by the way):

In talking with athletic and facilities directors from several public colleges and schools, they say they never heard of an outdoor track requiring a paid employee to sit and watch people work out. They also said they haven't seen a track surface vandalized.

     More lies, just part for the course.

      They don’t have the money to hire a security guard, but they have money for payouts:

LA Valley College worker awarded $2.9 million in employment lawsuit

     It really is amazing the stuff that goes on in these schools. We’re told that these community colleges, and the grotesque sums of money spent on them, are justified because of the benefits they offer to the community.

      This leads to the true fraud: these schools certainly collect tax dollars, and it’s clear they don’t spend that money wisely when it comes to real estate. They do even worse when it comes to education. The bulk of the resources at these schools are spent on remedial programs, even though it’s well known that a high majority of remedial students fail, get nothing out of college but wasted years and debt.

     Perhaps Los Angeles’ community college system has used it’s great experience with so many students to justify all the money the taxpayers “generously” “give” to it. What kind of success does this system have? Well, one thing government does well is keep records (unless it involves our highest officials, of course—hi Epstein!), and so it’s easy enough to find out:

Fall 2011 Cohort
Completion Rate: 21.12 %
Transfer Rate: 9.13 %
LAVC SRTK Trend Data

 last updated 4/21/2016

    To emphasize: the school knows the above statistics because they submit them. They know what they’re doing wrong, know that they’re wasting money on educational fraud, but keep on doing it. 

    That completion rate is over a 3 year timeline, a bit of a problem when you consider we’re looking at a system which claims to have 2 year degrees. If we went to a 2 year completion rate, it’d likely be closer to 2% (a widely varying national average, with sub-1% rates quite common).

     We really should ask some questions here about why schools where around 80% of students don’t get their 2 year degrees in 3 years still get to call themselves 2 year schools…

      Ultimately, this is the real fraud of LACC and, frankly, most community colleges: they’re not colleges, and they don’t educate. But they do build nice palaces for their leaders, so there’s that.

Tuesday, September 17, 2019

Science And Tech Conference: Whites Need Not Apply

By Professor Doom

     One of the many, many, problems with having our campuses taken over by Progressives is their racism. The only real advantage to the takeover is this racism, long hidden via “wink and a nod” policies which were never in writing (but enforced through hiring and firing)…are now ever more commonly in black and white. 

      This is rather important, because in the past, whenever someone complained about those “wink and a nod” policies, they’d only be branded a dirty conspiracy theorist and fired…and none grieve the removal of dirty conspiracy theorists. But now that it’s all out in the open, no such branding can take place (although firings are still possible). A few years ago, a Kentucky university made it clear they wanted a physicist, just not a white one…and they put that request in writing.  Granted, once their racism became public, they backpedaled, but the fact remains: they really didn’t want more white professors on their campus.

      Things have escalated and now racist postings by our universities no longer get taken down:

New Voices in Science & Technology Studies: A C3 Symposium

      A symposium is a conference to discuss a particular subject, in this case science and technology. It’s a great opportunity for scholars, particularly new scholars, to introduce themselves, to show off their research and skills:

The Science & Technology Studies Program at Williams College invites papers on any topic concerned with science and technology and their relationship to society for a day-long symposium showcasing the work of early-career scholars (ABD or recent PhD) from…

        Now, “ABD” stands for “all but dissertation,” in other words a scholar who hadn’t yet received a doctorate in a specific field as yet, but will likely receive one soon, and be in search of a job shortly thereafter. Now, such conferences can be quite narrow, so the restriction of scholars “from…” isn’t that unusual, since it might specify a particular aspect of science and technology which is relevant for this conference. So, what’s the “from…” here?

…from historically underrepresented groups.

     Uh, what? Neither science nor technology cares one bit about history, that’s not what those fields are about. I remind the gentle reader that these claims of “underrepresented” ring quite hollow, since there’s never been a serious look at what level of representation is proper, or how things might be improved if we ever achieve those proper numbers. This is rather important, because wanting to know if there will ever be an end to this cry of “underrepresentation!” would be nice…there are a few departments/fiefdoms on campus where it’s very clear certain groups are overrepresented if we’re looking at demographic numbers, and still the cry is MOAR.

      The advertisement helpfully defines what the underrepresented groups are:

…defined here as African Americans, Alaska Natives, Arab Americans, Asian Americans, Latinx, Native Americans, Native Hawaiians, and other Pacific Islanders.

     Now, I’ve nothing against any of the above, but why is Williams College (where the conference is being held) granting this opportunity to start/advance a career to only certain groups? Is not Williams College inclusive? It’s a private school, so doesn’t need to be, but I would like to know their position.

      They helpfully include their equal opportunity statement in the posting:

Equal Employment Opportunity Statement

Beyond meeting fully its legal obligations for non-discrimination, Williams College is committed to building a diverse and inclusive community where members from all backgrounds can live, learn, and thrive.

       I don’t know for sure, but choking off job advancement opportunities to a certain ethnic group strikes me as hurting that group’s chance to “thrive,” as they say above, and silencing such voices also strikes me as against diversity and inclusion. Granted the hypocrisy of Progressives is as ingrained as their racism…but it’s good see it documented in writing like this.

       Now, in the Kentucky physicist incident I mentioned above, when called out on their racism, the admins lied when they backpedaled, saying they didn’t mean what they clearly meant in their written statement. 

       This time around, that option is not available:

The application deadline for this position has passed.


     The announcement was up over a month, all applications have already been accepted/rejected. There’s no way the school can deny that the school hasn’t made all their invitations to the speakers (and printed the $500 checks for speaking) based explicitly on race. Even if they make such a denial, anyone who wishes can verify the denial is a lie by simple inspection of the speakers. I’m sure the mainstream media will send reporters out there on November 3rd (the date of the conference) to do so, since we all know how much the mainstream media cares so deeply about racism.

        I wish the new scholars well on their career, even as I also wish their successes at the conference weren’t tainted by the racism of those running it.

Saturday, September 14, 2019

Admissions Scandal Mom Gets 14 Days In Prison…We're Asking The Wrong Question

By Professor Doom

     The “Admissions Scandal,” where parents were paying great sums of money to “sneak” their kids into top schools has finally made its way into the court system, and to judge by what has happened to the first to make it to sentencing, it does not look good for those who’ll come next:

Felicity Huffman Gets 14 Days In Prison…

     I’m quoting MSN here, and it’s fun to watch how they spin things:

“…she paid $15,000 to…a college admissions consultant who preyed on his wealthy clients’ anxieties…”

      Gee whiz, “preyed” is a bit of a loaded term here. I mean, the consultant didn’t wait in ambush for this woman, he made it very clear what he was doing, and had been doing for years, I’m certain.

       So she gets 14 days for dealing with this “predator” for the sum of $15,000—that’s not even a year’s tuition at many universities in this county, and is probably roughly high-end private high school tuition. There are 33 parents who will eventually be on trial for this kind of activity, and knowing that this (relatively) paltry sum for (some sort of) crime is meriting prison time has to got to scare the other parents, who paid quite a bit more.

     Another dozen college administrators, coaches, and test proctors are also charged. Something seems unbalanced here, since it’s bleeding obvious far more than a dozen people in our higher education system had to know what was going on—a typical sportsball team has more than just a coach working there, for example. How could the assistant coaches and trainers not be a little suspect at obvious non-athletes supposedly on the team? Getting into these schools isn’t the decision of a single person…whole committees had to have been involved.

      But only a dozen are taking the fall. Hmm.

      I grant that the Mom here paid a guy to pay someone to take the test for her kid so the kid could have good enough scores to get into school, and that is, indeed, some level of fraud…but I just don’t see how it’s a “throw into a cage” fraud, but that’s all the article indicates as her crime, even though the predator really did all the arranging through established channels.

       This is all rubbish, but let’s go with the flow, and assume getting your kid into a private school (many of the involved schools are private) by paying an extra fee really is bad, so wrong that it should be criminal. So the next question to ask is: what are legitimate ways to get into these schools, and are we sure everyone else is playing by those rules?

     That’s a fair question.

How Do Politician’s Unremarkable Kids Keep Getting Into Elite Ivy League Schools?

     The link above has a great rant from a commentator on wildly (over-)demonized Fox News, a rant which asks a question far more relevant than the one leading to this Mom going to jail. Seriously, if spending $15,000 of your own money to get your kid into a top school is Evil (with a capital E!), why isn’t the obvious abuse of political power a problem?

“…his father was the governor of New York…”

     Nothing against the kid, but, yeah, watching him a few minutes makes you wonder how the kid got into Yale.

“…offspring of 3 Democrats currently serving in the Senate…”

     Many Democrat kids get to go to the Ivy League, not just Yale and Harvard.

“Al Gore sent 4 kids in a row to Harvard…”

      C’mon now, it’s a real question how Gore won the lottery 4 times in a row.

      Chelsea Clinton is a Stanford Graduate, rather an odd prerequisite considering she just works in television (not exactly a field renowned for extraordinary brilliance).

“…Biden, Pelosi, Kennedy…”

       The above all managed to get lucky enough to get kids into Georgetown…it really seems like if you’re a child of a Leftist politician, you’re going to go into the Ivy League.

       Please understand, the Left tells us repeatedly that intelligence is not a genetic thing, tells us repeatedly that the only thing keeping certain groups out of the elite schools is RACISM…but they sure don’t seem to practice what they preach when it comes to their own kids.

       So, while the general populace follows the laser pointer dancing around a few parents paying extra to get their kids into the Ivy League, I can assure the gentle reader the mainstream media will never focus their light on the many children of politicos who breeze on in, and, more importantly, never ask what, exactly, our political class is paying for that privilege.

      Personally, I don’t care that much what goes on in private schools but as long I’m told to hate the splinter of parents in the “Admissions Scandal,” I’m going to ask why I’m not supposed to hate the log raft of politicians clearly engaging in the same, at a much higher level.

Wednesday, September 11, 2019

Michigan State U: Don’t Say “I Apologize,” It’s A Trigger

By Professor Doom

     Our campuses are bloated with administrators, so many that not only is it a puzzle to those who work on campus what these people actually do, it’s a puzzle to the administrators themselves. They mostly work very hard to justify their jobs, and their efforts manifest in a variety of ways.

      One way is to control or change the language. English has a massive vocabulary, and there are dozens of ways to express even a simple concept with words in this language. So, admin can always justify their jobs by recommending yet another new way to say something. 

       One such change in diction is harmless enough, but decades of having my vocabulary forcibly changed has affected my ability to speak about some concepts which shouldn’t be hard to discuss, and I’ve found myself “offending” people by accidentally using a word that was outlawed years ago, instead of another word meaning the same thing.

       Trouble is, it never ends:

Michigan State University informed student employees to refrain from using terms like "I apologize" and "no problem" and addressing customers with gender-specific “sir or ma’am,” in a mandatory August training.

--emphasis added

     Another way admin justifies their jobs is by calling “mandatory” meetings. If what they say is so important, so revelatory, why must we be forced to listen to it? I digress, perhaps, but I really feel to need to emphasize how unimportant, how useless, so many of these “leaders” are…and they know it, or else they wouldn’t make it mandatory to listen to them.

“Raise your hand if you’ve ever said ‘no problem,’” Ballbach told the employees. “Did you ever think that was a trigger? I say this all the time and never thought that this could be a trigger word. But if I’m saying ‘no problem,’ that’s leading a customer to believe that they could be a problem or they could be an inconvenience to you and we’re just assuring them that they’re not.”

       That…isn’t how the phrase “no problem” is used, as I trust the gentle reader knows. Thing is, these useless staff need to manufacture issues for them to solve. What do you say instead of “no problem”?

     The leaders recommend instead “You’re welcome. It was my pleasure…”

       I grant the replacement sounds nicer, and from a customer service point of view it’s ok, but there is an inherent lie in saying “my pleasure” when asking someone to hand you the appropriate form or whatever. “No problem,” is a faster way of saying the same thing.

       What other kinds of substitutions are recommended? Well instead of “I apologize…” you should say “I am truly sorry…” The latter sure sounds more sincere, but we’re not necessarily talking about a death in the family, perhaps you just handed the guy the wrong form. 

       I remind the gentle reader tens of thousands of dollars of taxpayer money was spent on administrative time to consider and recommend these changes.

       Instead of “but” you should say “and.” While technically the words are identical in meaning (so that the change is a pointless waste of money), the “but” often indicates some level of contradiction. For example, “He’s a great person, but he does like to swear” and “He’s a great person, and he does like to swear” technically have the same meaning, but the latter could mislead a person (especially a non-native English speaker) that the two qualities are comparable. Changing the language is a step backwards.

       A step that costs thousands of dollars to make.

       “The only thing we can do…” should be replaced by “The best option would be…”? Again, the replacement is technically correct, but adds confusion, since it implies there are at least two other options (“better” would indicate two options), instead of only once choice in any event.

        Whenever we want to be serious about cutting tuition costs, eliminating wide swaths of the administrative caste coming up with this drivel really will be the best option (cutting their pay to adjunct levels would be another option, as would be making their salaries dependent solely upon student contributions based on how much impact the administrator had on education of the students—see how the language works?).

        The beauty of this lunacy is a few years from now, a new batch of admin will come up with new ways to change the words around.

“Not everybody identifies like ‘sir’ or ‘ma’am,’” the facilities manager informed employees.

“I would like to start seeing a culture around MSU where we say… “they”, not “his” or “hers.”’ In addition, asking for a customer’s name is appropriate according to a presentation slide. 

      And of course the “training” has to delve into the gender-confused lunacy so common today. English is somewhat special in that the language isn’t nearly as gendered as English…destroying what little of this that English has actually harms students who are trying to learn other languages. But, who cares about reality, the ideology must be served!

The MSU presentation also included slides depicting a black student holding a sign reading “why is my skin color considered a threat?” a Muslim student grasping a sign claiming “I can cover my body & still be a feminist,” and a female student bearing a sign saying “select your gender,” followed by “male” and “female” options and, further down, “why is my gender not an option?”

      Every year, possibly every semester, scholars are forced to sit and listen to this type of stuff, presented by leaders who do nothing for education but soak up huge sums of student loan money. Anyone wishing to promote scholarship and education on campus must come to the same conclusion: get rid of the student loan money paying for all this crap.


Sunday, September 8, 2019

University of Alaska Going Bankrupt…Like Many State Schools

By Professor Doom

     By the financial measurement standards of the Obama administration, Trump’s presidency has seen an incredible boom in the American economy. Of course, those old standards are rubbish, and many of our states are running huge deficits because the economic numbers, no matter how you manipulate them, can’t change the reality of our failing economy (even as I concede that Trump has done some good, much like putting a balaclava on a snowball would help it last longer in Hell…).

     So today I’m going to take a quick look at University of Alaska, although the gentle reader should understand that many state schools are seeing the same things happen to them:

Financial crisis opens University of Alaska up to layoffs

      Despite its relative isolation from the rest of the country, Alaska is run much like the other 49 states, i.e., incompetently. They need money, fast, and so the state government is withdrawing funding from their higher educational system:

Along with a $5 million cut made by legislators, the university saw its state funding fall by $136 million, a cut of 41%

        Talk about a gutting! This may be a bit more brutal than what other state university systems are seeing, but I’ll withhold judgement on that for a few years. So how does this system respond to this sudden loss of tax loot?

Meeting in an emergency session, regents voted 10-1 to allow administrators to expedite layoffs of tenured faculty,…

      The “regents” referenced above are the Board of Regents, a massive collection of politically connected (and thus very wealthy) people who run the system from the top down. A few points I want to address in that one sentence above:

      First, “tenure” is supposedly a job for life, but, as the gentle reader can see, those precious positions can be easily eliminated…in fact, they’re most likely to be eliminated, since tenured professors tend to be paid more (since they often devoted decades of their lives to the university, in order to get that tenure).

       Administrators don’t have tenure, but, obviously, they don’t need it. As I’ve seen in many dying schools, admin are the last to go.

       Finally, it’s a shame faculty can’t vote here, I suspect the ratio would be better than 10-1 to thin out the ranks of the regents and administrators. Let’s take a quick look at the mission statement here:


The University of Alaska Board of Regents approved UAF's latest mission statement at its June 8, 2012 meeting. The following statement is now contained in UA Board of Regents Policy 01.01.030: 

The University of Alaska Fairbanks is a Land, Sea, and Space Grant university and an international center for research, education, and the arts, emphasizing the circumpolar North and its diverse peoples. UAF integrates teaching, research, and public service as it educates students for active citizenship and prepares them for lifelong learning and careers.

     Hmm. I see nothing in the above that says the point of UoA is to guarantee permanent high paying jobs for the people at the top, but seeing as they’re going directly to firing faculty, it’s clear what the real mission of the school is.

      Just like in many other states, the system is large, and sprawling:

The university has main campuses in Fairbanks, Anchorage and Juneau and 13 satellite campuses. Proportionate reductions would hit UA Fairbanks, where most research facilities are located, with a $67 million reduction. UA Anchorage, which serves the most students, would see a $47 million reduction. UA Southeast would be in line for a $10 million reduction.

      Let’s put these numbers in perspective by considering another statistic: the system has around 35,000 students. Dividing that into the $136 million cut and we see support is being reduced by around $4,000 per student. Total cost of attendance at University of Anchorage (part of the system) runs around $43,000 a year.

       Bottom line, the system could address its financial issues by raising tuition by more than 10%—a big increase to be sure, and likely to cause student complaints…but student loans could make up the difference.

      This is what many state systems have done—withdrawn local taxpayer support and shifted the burden to the Federal taxpayer via loans. I feel for the students here, since the sudden removal of faculty could easily delay getting degrees a semester or two (the cost of this could be offset by that tuition raise, by the way…).

       In any event, the gentle reader should understand that what will happen here is what has happened very time: faculty removed, class sizes get larger, and education is sacrificed to preserve those all-important “leadership” positions. 

       It’s why we have class sizes of over 1,000 now, and why there are more administrators than faculty on campus. Seeing as with every cut, admin get to decide whether to fire themselves, or fire faculty, the latter is no surprise.

       The size of the budget cuts means tough challenges, [Poo-Bah] Johnsen said. “Does one nickel and dime every one of our universities and close some community campuses?” Johnsen said. “Well, you can close all the community campuses and you get to about $30 million. You’ve got [about] another $100 million to go.”

         I feel for the Poo-Bah here, but at least he’s already thinking about shutting down the community college system; I haven’t examined Alaska’s, but every system I’ve looked at has been sketchy at best. I hope, when he’s looking for the other $100 million, he’ll consider getting rid of few hundred administrators; likely he’ll just get rid of a few thousand faculty…but I can hope, at least.