Saturday, October 2, 2010

Didn't Your Momma Teach You Anything?

Or, Spend My Money More Wisely, TAMU.

Dear Texas A&M,

I understand you're in the middle of a budget crisis. The Texas Legislature is telling you to cut almost 15% of your budget. That's A LOT. It sucks. I get it. I've been there; my parent's have cut me off before, too. It's a little scary, isn't it?

When my parents cut me off for a little while, I had to make decisions, cut out excess. I didn't decide not to pay rent or electric, and spend that money on coffee and clothes, did I? I bought sandwich meat instead of steak. I think we can both agree that that would have been a rather silly decision to do otherwise. Like, get your priorities in line, right?

You're a university. You are, by default, an institution theoretically filled with intelligent people. So we would expect you to deal with this budget crisis smartly; you'd do some things you're already doing. Things like: getting rid of obsolete landlines in an age when everyone has cells; not raising pay; letting TAMU basically become a billboard for Pepsi Co.. We'd think you'd do little things that add up to a lot, like turn off lights in your offices at night, use more energy efficient lightbulbs, stop keeping Harrington so damn cold all the time, etc.

So, why is it that I hear you're doing some less than brilliant things? Firing our professors, A&M? Come on, now. They're literally the lifeblood of the university. I get that their salaries are a huge chunk of our budget, but they are necessary. I would maybe understand if the incoming freshman class was small, so you didn't need as many profs teaching the same basic level subjects. If the student body was shrinking, it'd make sense. But each incoming class increases in size. And it's not like our lecture halls can hold more people per class. And honestly, it makes TAMU look bad when our teacher:student ratio changes negatively. With an increasingly larger student body and diversifying education, we need those professors.

Also, what about all this construction on campus, TAMU? I can think of five recent projects off the top of my head, ranging from kind of useful to a terrible investment, especially in the middle of a budget crisis, i.e. the glorified sidewalk running parallel to another perfectly good sidewalk in Academic Plaza. How much did that cost? About one prof's yearly salary? No one even sits on those benches, guys. It was a waste of money.

You know what else is a huge investment? Your salaries. The administration's. I don't see any of y'all getting fired. The bureaucracy at this school continues to grow, getting less and less streamlined (i.e. more and more frustrating for students and profs), wasting more and more money, and the necessary features of a school are what are being removed? What are you going to take away next, TAMU? Our desks? Just so you don't have to admit that maybe our administration has gotten too big? I understand that it's hard to stand up and say "My job is useless. I quit on the condition that you do away with my position entirely." But you probably should. Combine duties. Make it so any one person's job includes doing more than one task. You'll streamline the school and keep what we actually need -- teachers in the classrooms.

Universities exist for the education of their students, not for the glory of their administrators. Think about it.

1 comment:

  1. Well-written! We are having a similar crisis/incidents in our entire state. The budget has been cut and so the almighty teacher's union ( that most of the teachers actually hate) is doing ridiculous things that cost the students and not the schools or teachers. And it is all about the admins that run the union... THEY are the ones that get the money, perks and power.. not the actual teachers whom they are supposed to represent. And the kids? Not even on the radar of concern. Ridiculous.


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