Saturday, December 20, 2008

Why I am a Lowly Cog in the Education Machine and Not a Visionary Leader

I suspect that no matter where you live, the state is cutting its higher education budget. The degree of the cuts varies from place to place. I believe our cuts fall in the category of unsustainably ginormous.

In order to deal with unsustainably ginormous shortfalls, I think back to my time at Dartmouth College. Dartmouth College has more fraternities than your typical large state university, but a undergraduate student body less than a quarter of that at the large universities. And freshmen aren't allowed to join Greek houses. This led to a scramble for eligible men and some shady dealings -- like the dirty rush held by Gamma Delt in Winter 1992. The only solution to this problem was to reduce the number of houses on campus. I think that after I graduated a few houses did things so unbelievably stupid that they were forced to close. As a result of this, the remaining houses had much more successful rush periods, and the Greek system is (allegedly) stronger than ever.*

So if you're running a "system" (whether it be the state university system or the community college system), wouldn't it make sense to respond to absurdly ridiculous budget cuts by shutting down an entire campus? All the tenured faculty can be reassigned to other campuses, replacing adjuncts. All the adjuncts in the entire system could be laid off. All the administrators at the campus you're closing (except those who are tenured faculty) can be laid off. All of the staff could be laid off. Sell the buildings; sell the land; sell everything. The students could be absorbed into the other campuses.

*This problem doesn't come up with sororities, as there is a rule that there can only be six sororities on campus. This means that sorority recruitment is very, very competitive.