Saturday, October 2, 2010

Apolitical Academics

I recently witnessed the following dialogue between a senior faculty member and a high-ranking university administrator.

Senior faculty member: So who should we vote for in the November elections?

High-ranking administrator: Well, I can’t tell you directly who to vote for, that wouldn’t be right. But, you know, we are a public university and the state currently owes us a lot of money, so I think it’s pretty obvious.

Senior faculty member: But who should we vote for?

High-ranking administrator: Well, I mean, when we have a party that promises severe budget cuts, it’s obvious that we are going to suffer. Public education will be the first to suffer from these cuts. The other party realizes that since our state is in deep trouble we need to raise state income tax by at least 1%. If that happens, the state will have funds to cover its debt to us. So I think this makes it pretty clear.

Senior faculty member: But who should we vote for?

High-ranking administrator: Well, I’d say it might be a good idea to vote for the people who will not cut our funding, don’t you think?

Senior faculty member: I still have no idea who to vote for.

Mind you, this is an American faculty member who has a PhD and has lived her entire life in this country. It’s not like there are 20 or 30 political parties in the US, there are just two. Is it so hard to keep track of just 2 political parties?


reader said...

Democrats, right? The entire conversation is just :)

Strangely your post's name, Apolitical Academics, in short AA, reminded me of Alcoholics Anonymous. The only similarity I could think of is that the latter often feel shame, while the former, unfortunately, don't. If academics can't or don't want to understand politics, then who can?

Clarissa said...

Ha ha ha! What a great comment.

KT said...


V said...


NancyP said...

Are you sure that there wasn't a certain amount of baiting going on? A Republican "apolitical academic" may be looking for reasons to discredit his boss or even get him fired. Public employees, and that includes faculty and administrators, are not supposed to tell their subordinates how to vote.

There are "Christian" legal shops who will instruct students and sympathetic faculty members on how to document - if not actually incite/ entrap - so-called discrimination against "Christians" or "conservatives". The "Christian" legal shops are funded heavily by the Republican right wing as well as by the saps in the pews, and will handle "promising" cases without cost to the complainant.

Clarissa said...

Geez, I haven't thought about it like that but it might be true! Just goes to show how careful one must be when discussing anything relating to politics.

NancyP said...

And yes, there is a political agenda behind getting rid of tenure, particularly at state universities. (Less so at "elite" universities, where the children of politicians go to school).

No talk about getting rid of posh dormitories or deluxe gyms or other amenities that didn't exist in my time.