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History, Human Rights, and Basketball

ACADEME BLOG

Bronson Koenig is a guard on the University of Wisconsin basketball team. He is also a Native American. This fall he visited Standing Rock not just to participate in the protests against the Dakota pipeline but also to conduct basketball clinics. In “What I Found at Standing Rock,” a piece for the Players Tribune, he writes very insightfully and movingly about this experience. He also tries to place it in the context of his broader awareness of his Native American identity. The following paragraphs are from the middle of the essay:

“I’m one of about 60 Native American students at the University of Wisconsin–Madison, a school with more than 30,000 undergrads, and one of only about 40 Native American Division I men’s college basketball players in the country. I’m not too surprised that almost no one at school knew much about the Ho-Chunk tribe. My whole life, I’ve had…

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In Memoriam: Gordon Aubrecht

ACADEME BLOG

Gordon Aubrecht passed away at age 73 on Monday, November 21. Gordon was the long-time President of the advocacy chapter at Ohio State University. For almost a decade, I had had contact with him through the Ohio Conference of AAUP. But our acquaintance went much farther back than that.

Gordon and I were founding members of the Association for the University Regional Campuses of Ohio (AURCO), which is approaching the 25th anniversary of its founding. About five or six years ago at AURCO’s annual meeting, we happened to eat lunch together, and as we were looking around the room, we turned to each other and said simultaneously, “My God, we’re the last two left!” To be honest, my exclamation was more vulgar than Gordon’s, and to be more precise, we were the last two founding members of the association who had still remained active in it.

I am not…

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Trump University Valedictorian Speech, Class of 2009

ACADEME BLOG

This satiric piece has been written by Seth Fried for the New Yorker. What follows is the second paragraph of the speech:

“It will be sad to leave a place where we learned so much about ourselves, like when we all discovered, with some guidance, that the thirty-five-thousand-dollar Trump Élite Gold Program was the perfect fit for our educational needs. In that program we were encouraged to push against our upper limits. And when we mistook that to be a motivational sentiment, it was explained to us that, no, we should literally have our creditors increase our spending limits so that we could afford to pay Trump University. We also learned not to give in to naysayers, like when the state of New York told Trump University that it was violating state law by calling itself a university. Did our school give up in the face of that difficulty?…

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Science Is a Kind of Poetry

ACADEME BLOG

If poetry is at its core the effort to give expression to the inexpressible aspects of our experience, then science is often a kind of poetry, or at least provides a complement to the poetic impulse.

For science provides both a fundamental challenge to all simplistic notions about our existence and a constant reminder of the narrow limits of even our most advanced knowledge.

Putting the lie to the truism that there is nothing truly new under the sun, four new elements have been added recently to the Periodic Table of Elements.

This is a brief piece from the Daily Beast:

“Four new names have been added to the periodic table of elements, the International Union of Pure and Applied Chemistry (IUPAC) announced Thursday. Nihonium, Moscovium, Tennessine, and Oganesson are now elements 113, 115, 117, and 118, respectively, on the official periodic table. The new elements were first synthesized…

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Jindalism Casts a Long Shadow

ACADEME BLOG

This is the opening of an article on Louisiana’s continuing budget crisis, written by Heath Allen for WDSU News:

“Louisiana’s state colleges and universities face another $18 million in budget cuts as part of Gov. John Bel Edwards’ plan to fill a looming $312 million budget shortfall.

“But during a meeting of the Joint Legislative Budget Committee this week in Baton Rouge, the administration agreed to postpone the cuts for a month as lawmakers try and find the dollars needed to avoid cuts to higher education.

“The cuts, though, are likely inevitable. The immediate $312 million budget hole will be followed by one of similar size just after the first of the year.

“’Another hundred million, they say anywhere from $100 to $500 million dollars for next fiscal year, that we are going to be off on the revenues. I mean, it’s just staggering numbers,’ said Sen. Jack Donahue…

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The “Relentless Rise” in Administrative Positions

ACADEME BLOG

Here is a short but telling item from the Hechinger Report:

“The number of executive, administrative and managerial employees on university campuses nationwide continued its relentless rise right through the recession, up by a collective 15 percent between 2007 and 2014, federal data show.

“”Hear a SpareMin podcast on this topic here with Matt DeMello and the Hechinger Report’s Jon Marcus.

“The ranks of administrators have expanded far faster than the numbers of students and faculty. At many four-year institutions, spending on administration has increased faster than spending on instruction, according to the Delta Cost Project, which tracks this.

“There has also been a little-noticed but surprising shift underway that suggests new resolve in some places to centralize some administrative functions, Hechinger has reported, in the hope of improving the efficiency and productivity of stubbornly labor-intensive higher education.”

URL: http://hechingerreport.org/college-costs-rise-number-administrators/.

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Quotation of the Day: The Permission Slip as an Unintentional Ironic Device

ACADEME BLOG

Daniel Radosh, the head writer for the Daily Show, sent the following note along with a signed permission slip that would permit his son to read Ray Bradbury Fahrenheit 451 as part of a school book club:

“I love this letter! What a wonderful way to introduce students to the theme of Fahrenheit 451 that books are so dangerous that the institutions of society schools and parents might be willing to team up against children to prevent them from reading one. It’s easy enough to read the book and say, ‘This is crazy. It could never really happen,’ but pretending to present students at the start with what seems like a totally reasonable ‘first step’ is a really immersive way to teach them how insidious censorship can be. I’m sure that when the book club is over and the students realize the true intent of this letter, they’ll be…

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OCAAUP 2016 Annual Meeting: Resolution 2–Instruction First

ACADEME BLOG

Whereas the primary mission of Ohio’s colleges and universities is to educate students,

Whereas colleges and universities have increasingly and irresponsibly devoted resources to bloated administrative bureaucracies, to equally ambitious and expensive sports programs supported by ever-more elaborate and more expensive athletic facilities, and a seemingly endless succession of other expensive consturction projects, siphoning state monies and tuition dollars away from the academic mission,

Whereas the aforementioned misplaced priorities have reduced the number of full-time and tenured faculty in favor of part-time or adjunct faculty who receive compensation equivalent to that of fast-food workers and no benefits,

Be it resolved that the Ohio Conference AAUP encourages Ohio’s colleges and univeristies to adopt an “Instruction First” approach to budgeting to ensure that high- quality instruction for students can be guaranteed before allocations are made to enterprises and activities clearly outside of our institutions’ core missions.

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OCAAUP 2016 Annual Meeting: Resolution 1–Increased State Funding

ACADEME BLOG

Whereas the state funding for public higher education has been declining for the last 30 years,

Whereas the State Share of Instruction (SSI) accounts for only about 13 percent of institutional budgets,

Whereas Ohio ranks 12th in the nation for highest average student debt,

Whereas it is no longer possible for an Ohio student to fund a public university education with low-wage employment,

Whereas state tax cuts have reduced revenue, compromising the ability of the state to provide adequate funding for higher education,

Be it resolved that the Ohio Conference AAUP urges the Governor and General Assembly to avoid further tax cuts and to pursue fair tax policies;

Be it further resolved that the Ohio Conference AAUP urges the Governor and General Assembly to continue restoring funding to higher education.

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