Month: July 2016

Confronting Precariousness


Not all stories are big stories, but sometimes the small stories are illustrative in ways that bigger stories cannot be because as the scope of a story becomes narrower, the implications can be seen in a more personalized way.

In the Music Department at Pacific Lutheran University, changes have been proposed that, on the whole may seem like a good thing. Several new tenure-eligible positions have been created to fill needs previously met by contingent faculty. In addition, the compensation for contingent faculty in the department, long calculated in a disadvantageous way, has been brought into line with the compensation paid to contingent faculty throughout the rest of the university.

So, on the surface, these developments would seem to be quite positive.

But there are several elements of the changes that make the situation more disquieting.

First, the Department of Music includes contingent faculty who have taught at the university…

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More on the Illinois Budget Battle and Higher Ed


These are the opening paragraphs of an article written by Elizabeth Campbell for Bloomberg News, titled “Illinois Colleges Besieged by Cuts as Budget Battle Trickles Down”:

“For Illinois’s colleges and universities, the end of a record-long political fight over the budget isn’t bringing the financial consequences to a close.

“Southern Illinois University, with about 17,000 students, is eliminating a quarter of its graduate teaching assistant jobs when classes resume next month and is letting 50 faculty positions go unfilled at its main campus. At Chicago State University, enrollment is projected to tumble after the lack of state funds pushed it to the brink of closing this year.

“And just as Governor Bruce Rauner enacted a six-month spending plan last month, Moody’s Investors Service downgraded more than $600 million of bonds sold by six public universities because of the lingering uncertainty.

“’The politics in Illinois are interfering with a lot of…

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Mismanagement and No Meaningful Oversight [Item 4]


On the Costs of Intercollegiate Athletics

This is an excerpt of an e-mail sent to the CFO of our university by Rudy Fichtenbaum, who, in addition to serving as the President of the national AAUP, is employed an adviser to the Executive committee of our AAUP chapter at Wright State:

“When I asked about the increase in spending on athletics you reported that the increase was due to the 1% increase in salaries and that athletics was cutting back. If your idea of cutting back is that they will not overrun their budget, which includes an $8.5 million subsidy from E & G, then either I don’t understand the meaning of cuts or you are simply wrong. I thought that cuts meant that a unit would have a lower base budget. That is what is happening in the colleges and in other areas of the University. Is there one definition…

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ACLU Wins $100K Settlement for Danny Ledonne


This is a press release for the Colorado ACLU:

Adams State University has agreed to rescind a “No Trespass Order” banning Danny Ledonne, a former professor who publicly criticized administration practices, from its Alamosa, CO campus and to pay $100,000 to settle a lawsuit filed by the ACLU of Colorado based on claims that the university violated Ledonne’s free speech and due process rights.

“The ACLU of Colorado brought this suit to vindicate Danny Ledonne’s First Amendment rights and his right to due process of law,” said ACLU of Colorado Legal Director Mark Silverstein.  “By summarily banning Danny from a public campus and falsely labeling him a security threat, without providing any opportunity to rebut the false allegations, the university deprived him of due process and unjustifiably retaliated against him for his constitutionally-protected criticism of university practices.”

From May 2011 to June 2015, Ledonne taught in the Mass Communications program…

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International Press Freedom Award Winners


This is a press release from the Committee to Protect Journalists. I have added the photos of the journalists.


New York, July 18, 2016—The Committee to Protect Journalists will honor journalists from Egypt, India, Turkey, and El Salvador with its2016 International Press Freedom Awards. The journalists have faced threats, legal action, and imprisonment. CPJ is also honoring Christiane Amanpour, chief international correspondent and anchor at CNN, with the Burton Benjamin Memorial Award.

The 2016 IPFA awardees are:

Mahmoud Abou Zeid, an Egyptian photojournalist also known as “Shawkan,” who has been imprisoned since August 2013. Shawkan was arrested while covering the dispersal by security forces of the Raba’a Al-Adawiya protest in Cairo, in which hundreds of protesters were killed.

Mahmoud Abou Zeid

Malini Subramaniam, a freelance journalist from India, who was attacked and harassed after she reported on human rights abuses and the conflict between Maoist groups and state forces…

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Impact of GOP Convention on Colleges and Universities


Writing for Crain’s Cleveland Business, Rachel Abbey McCafferty reports on how Cleveland’s colleges and universities are being impacted by the Republican National Convention:

Cleveland State University’s second summer session is getting underway on Monday, July 18 — the first day of the convention. With the parking restrictions and road closures in the area, . . . the university has asked professors to make alternate arrangements instead of holding class on campus July 18 -21. That can include offering online classes, holding classes off-campus or offering take-home assignments.

“Cleveland State’s campus, including the recreation center and library, will be open to out-of-town visitors, . . . and the university will hold events on campus. At this time, there are almost no students in the dorms, where convention pages and interns, as well as police officers, are staying.”

Likewise, “Cuyahoga Community College won’t be holding classes at…

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Income Inequality in Higher Ed


This chart has been provided as part of an article by Emily Peck on the factors driving income inequality []:

CEO's and Avg Worker's Compensation

In response to my posts on administrative bloat, I have sometimes received complaints that my emphasis on high administrative salaries is beside the point because relatively few upper administrators receive those salaries and those salaries do not constitute a high percentage of almost any institutional budgets.

Granted, at most institutions, the salaries of presidents are not 275 times the average faculty salary. But it is just as obvious that the disproportion between presidents’ income, which now typically includes sizable taxable and deferred compensation beyond the base salaries, and faculty salaries has been increasing dramatically—at a rate that would also be need to be represented as a steep line on a graph. And as the incomes of presidents have risen, the incomes of their immediate subordinates and of third-…

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Predatory Student Loans in Christie’s New Jersey


In an article sponsored jointly by ProPublica and the New York Times, Annie Waldman has reported the following:

“New Jersey’s loans, which currently total $1.9 billion, are unlike those of any other government lending program for students in the country. They come with extraordinarily stringent rules that can easily lead to financial ruin. Repayments cannot be adjusted based on income, and borrowers who are unemployed or facing other financial hardships are given few breaks.

“New Jersey’s loans also carry higher interest rates than similar federal programs. Most significantly, the loans come with a cudgel that even the most predatory for-profit players cannot wield: the power of the state.

“New Jersey can garnish wages, rescind state income tax refunds, revoke professional licenses, even take away lottery winnings—all without having to get court approval. ‘It’s state-sanctioned loan sharking,’ said Daniel Frischberg, a bankruptcy lawyer. ‘The New Jersey program is set up so…

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Spending on Prisons and Schools


The Department of Education Policy and Program Studies Division has released a report on State and Local Expenditures on Corrections and Education.

Here are the highlights of the report:

–From 1979–80 to 2012–13, public PK–12 expenditures increased by 107 percent (from $258 to $534 billion),4 while total state and local corrections expenditures increased by 324 percent (from $17 to $71 billion) ― triple the rate of increase in education spending.

–Over the same 33-year period, the percentage increase in state and local corrections expenditures varied considerably across the states, ranging from 149 percent in Massachusetts to 850 percent in Texas. PK–12 expenditure growth rates were considerably lower, but still varied widely across states, ranging from 18 percent in Michigan to 326 percent in Nevada.

–All states had lower expenditure growth rates for PK–12 education than for corrections, and in the majority of the states, the rate of increase for corrections was more than 100 percentage points higher than…

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UT Faculty Sue over Campus Carry


The following is taken from an article by Benjamin Wermund written for the Houston Chronicle:

“Jennifer Lynn Glass, Lisa Moore and Mia Carter want a federal judge to block a new Texas law that would allow people to carry concealed handguns throughout college campuses beginning August 1. They are suing Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton, UT Austin President Gregory Fenves and the UT regents to do so.

“’Compelling professors at a public university to allow, without any limitation or restriction, students to carry concealed guns in their classrooms chills their First Amendment rights to academic freedom,’ the professors argue in the lawsuit filed in U.S. district court in Austin on Wednesday.

“The professors also say the campus carry law violates their second and 14th Amendment rights. . . .

“’As part of the learning process, they sometimes have to engage in difficult discussions of controversial, emotionally-laden topics,’ according to…

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