Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Closing the State Universities

The president of our university has recently informed us of the prospects our school faces as a result of the refusal by the State of Illinois to give us the money it owes us. The "absolutely worst-case scenario," according to the president, is that our university will be closed altogether. This is highly unlikely, he says, but nevertheless, we need to know that this possibility has been mentioned.

This is, of course, the worst-case scenario for the teachers and the students of our university. It is, however, very much in keeping with the real goals of the current administration, as has become painfully clear from recent events. If 30,000 new troops are to be sent to an unwinnable, useless war in Afghanistan, we need a place to get these fresh bodies to send there. The US Army had a tough time meeting its recruitment goals for a while now. However, if we were to close public universities, the kids who come here to get an education would see their options shrink dramatically. Many of them will have to enlist because there is little else they can possibly do with their lives.

The support of the first-time voters for Barack Obama's candidacy was a huge factor in putting him in the White House. From what I hear, most of my students voted for him.  As one of them told me last week, "I voted for Obama, but today I have no idea why." My students are appalled  (even more than I am) at the possibility that their professors might not get paid for teaching them. I wonder how they would feel if they hear about the recent discussions of our "worst-case scenario." How often have we heard that the young generation is apolitical, that it doesn't care about elections, that it rarely votes? Can we honestly be surprised any more? These young people voted for change, and what they got as a result is more war, less education, less jobs, less opportunities.

Recently, several bloggers have been writing how great it is to see a black family celebrating Christmas in the White House. I agree. It is great. This happy feeling and the joy of "at-least-it-isn't-McCain" are pretty much the only positive results of this administration so far.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

The worst-case scenario would imply the following. Private interests would buy (some) state universities/colleges. Tuition would increase. (Some) professors would be fired. Humanities would obviously disappear or dramatically decrease in its scope. Best-case scenario would be that you teach Spanish for business. Or salsa dancing.

I agree with you on the alleged apolitical nature of young generations. The political horizon of our times is bleak. It's hard to be heard when you're young.