Monday, January 22, 2018

Teacher Working Conditions Are Student Learning Conditions. Adjuncts Should Quit.

By Professor Doom

     In a recent radio interview with Jeff Rense I touched on a broad range of issues in higher ed right now. While the focus was mostly on the deep hatred of white people in higher ed and associated infestation of Social Justice Warriors, I also mentioned the immense fraud that is accreditation, the horrible fraudulent nature of many of our for-profit, non-profit, and state schools, and, of course, the atrocious student loan scam.

      There are so many grim problems in higher ed that an hour long interview isn’t long enough to even list them all, much less discuss anything in great detail. One problem I missed was the adjunctification of higher education.

      In times past, a professor was fairly respected on campus, and it was a respectable job. You weren’t likely to become a millionaire, but you were allowed a decent living while you engaged in intellectual pursuits and taught the next generation the most advanced (if not necessarily the most useful) subjects humanity had come to know. That’s the image most people have of “college professor,” but the reality, like the reality of most things in higher ed, is farrrrrrrrrr different.

      Most college faculty are adjuncts, closing in on 70%, and so the adjunct should be what people think of when they hear “college professor.” For newcomers to my blog, an adjunct is a part time worker, generally paid less than minimum wage, often qualifying for welfare, and it’s so bad in some areas that the local food banks specialize in just keeping them fed.

     Administration justifies hiring adjuncts to do most of the work, saying “well, we only need them for the one semester.” Because they are part-time, adjuncts get no benefits, so this position is not intended to be a long term job. Trouble is, adjuncts end up working this “temporary” position for years, decades even, waiting for the time that admin realizes “hey, we need this guy every semester, have needed him every semester for years, so saying he’s just a temp worker is a lie.” Trouble is, admin has no interest in making this realization, because adjuncts are very, very, cheap, and every $1000 not spend on paying the professor is another $950 that goes into administrative pockets (with the rest generously allowed by the administration to pay for education expenses).

      It’s a vicious, nasty, exploitative system, and quirks in the laws mean adjuncts can easily be paid lower than minimum wage, and not even qualify for unemployment between semesters (when they get no paychecks).

      There are many reasons our best and brightest allow this level of exploitation. A big part of it is the huge glut of Ph.D.s, a surplus created by the same leaders in higher ed who profit so mightily from all the cheap labor.  To this surplus is added a great number of Educationists (also a big source of Social Justice Warriors), as accreditation allows Education to be used as a “joker” for many lower level college courses.

      A semi-recent article tries to convince adjuncts to keep on slaving away to help administrators buy more lake front property:

     Hysterically, the author giving the advice not to quit actually quit for himself. I’m scratching my head here on why anyone should take this seriously, or how such an article could even be published.
My enthusiasm for teaching was undiminished, but I could see trouble on the horizon, consigned to a single course, semester after semester, no room for growth or new challenges. I didn’t want to be angry, or worse, bitter.

Because I had some advantages, my transition was easy. I was already making more money writing than teaching. I have an emotionally supportive partner who also could support us financially without me earning a dime.

     So, knowing the guy doesn’t actually believe what he’s saying, it’s tough to keep reading his words. For the most part, he’s responding to the common idea that “all adjuncts should quit at once.” Theoretically, it would help, as simple economics means reducing the supply of potential teachers would lead to higher wages and better working conditions.
     “Theoretically” is the weasel word here…all adjuncts aren’t going to quit overnight because they’ve student loan payments to make, rent to pay, and so on.
     Unsurprisingly, the author doesn’t understand either aspect of basic economics and indicates his own reasons why everyone quitting wouldn’t work:
Will this sort of action cause a giant pot of money to fall from the sky?

     Uh, higher ed has billions and billions to spend constructing buildings that no student will ever enter. Higher ed showers insane amounts of money on legions of diversity commissars, Poo Bahs, and deanlings who have nothing to do with education.
      There is a ridiculously huge sum of money in higher education…the trouble is none of it is going to education. I doubt that all adjuncts quitting overnight would change that but…at least in theory it would help a little.
     The author goes further off the rails:
If adjuncts have truly disappeared, credentials for teaching will be lowered or credit requirements will either be changed or offloaded to “alternative” providers

     Credentials have already been lowered dramatically, as I’ve already discussed, it’s easy to find “math education” professors teaching math courses they know nothing about.
      Credit requirements have also been lowered. Computer courses used to be big on campus, but because it was too expensive to hire even dubiously qualified teachers, many campuses have eliminated the programs rather than pay a fair price for teachers of a critical subject for the modern world.
      On many campuses, the vast majority of college courses aren’t even college…admin would absolutely reduce requirements further if all adjuncts walked away.
      It’s curious the author doesn’t mention another idea: make classes larger. We already have courses with a 1,000 students in them…the trouble here is most campuses don’t have enough rooms that large. It’s pretty funny, as I watch yet another administrative palace go up, I at least take pleasure in knowing that admin forgot, yet again, to build more oversize auditoriums.
      The rest of the article is more irrelevancies, but some comments bear mention:
After two years of full-time adjuncting, I'm convinced more than ever that teaching undergraduates is hardly one of the top priorities of higher education. And once you take away the incentive for universities to provide quality education, there's really nothing they won't do to deliver a degree for as little cost as possible, including completely removing the human element in education.

     The above highlights one of the big issues in higher ed: nobody cares about quality. It’s all about just getting those student loan checks into the pockets of administration as quickly as possible.
     The other issue is admin, and a commenter links to an important site. Seriously, the problem is way too many administrators:

     Let the implications of the above sink in. Faculty pay is basically flat (or falling, if you’re an adjunct, which most faculty are nowadays—quirks in accounting mean adjunct pay doesn’t always count as faculty pay), and faculty numbers are flat as well.
      Administrative pay is skyrocketing, stratospheric with no end in sight, along with benefits so luxurious that many faculty, if they forego pay and just got administrative benefits, would be better off.
      And administrator numbers are up 221%, over faculty numbers being up 3%, in a period where student population on campus more than quadrupled.
     Anyway, yes, all adjuncts should quit overnight. Also, we should cure cancer overnight while we’re at it. A more reasonable solution? Kill the student loan scam, as none of that money goes to adjuncts, and all of it goes to the people exploiting them.

Friday, January 19, 2018

Campus Crime Supported By Admin

By Professor Doom

     Our “leaders” in higher ed have focused on growth over all things, and many of our colleges have student bases to rival small towns.

     Now, concentrating tens of thousands of young people into a small area, funding them through the student loan scam, and not providing any sort of discipline or structure (since doing so would cut into growth), is just asking for trouble. Just about every large college or university now is a high crime area, or at the very least has a high crime area nearby, in addition to a “drinking area” loaded down with establishments providing alcohol and other adult recreational activities to students.

     Even when the schools aren’t overly huge, there’s still a crime factor that wouldn’t exist but for the school. Schools no longer focus on education, they focus on warm bodies, particularly people that want checks. Lots of folks fit that description—some are good people that are just being suckered thinking they’ll get an education in exchange for the debt, while others are, well, “not so good.” And some are just kids who make mistakes because they’re plunged into a permissive environment.

     Businesses near universities simply accept the higher crime as a cost of doing business, and stuff certainly happens:

“… three underage black students were arrested for punching and kicking the white shopkeeper, Allyn Gibson. The students claim their only crime was trying to buy alcohol with fake identification, but Gibson says he was attacked after he caught them trying to steal bottles of wine…”

     Now, in times past, students caught in the act of stealing professionally, physically assaulting someone, or even just having fake IDs with intent to use such IDs for criminal behavior, would be punted from campus as “not college material.” Doing all three things in one night? Nowadays that just means “a fine student, welcome to come to campus.” As long as admin gets their money, it’s all good.

     These sorts of activities used to be covered in the “Honor Code” of the institution, but such things have been long abandoned—expecting students to have honor would cut into growth, after all. It’s all about those checks.

      These three black students assaulted a white guy while they were engaged in criminal behavior, which means this story is buried by the mainstream media (doesn’t fit the narrative, after all). Thus I feel the need to examine this story in more detail.

     The kids (all under 21, anyway) are from Oberlin College. I’ve covered this school before. For a moment, Oberlin showed some real spine when the ugly anti-white racism which is springing up on our campuses reared its head there, but they caved, guaranteeing endless riots until the school shuts its doors. For what it’s worth, Oberlin has around 3,000 students…in a town with a population under 9,000.

     Because we now live in a mostly backwards world, the white shopkeeper who was assaulted by the three black students is being accused of racism:

There has long been speculation regarding racial profiling at Gibson's, and students quickly began to boycott and protest outside of the café.

     How much more frightening can this world become? This guy was literally attacked, and HE’s the problem? To their credit, the students who committed the assault took responsibility:

But in August, the students pleaded guilty to attempted theft and aggravated trespassing. In statements, they said their actions were wrong and the store wasn't racist. Nonetheless, students continue to boycott the small business over alleged racial profiling.

     Actual facts also support that the shopkeeper, the victim here, is not particularly racist in his attempt to reduce thefts at his business:

“…police figures from the past five years show only six out of 40 adults arrested for shoplifting at the bakery were black.”

     Despite this, the store has been targeted as RACIST, or so the owner claims. Oberlin college is facilitating the protests, allegedly, and this has provoked a lawsuit:

“..sued Oberlin and dean of students Meredith Raimondo for slander. The lawsuit accuses college staffers of encouraging protests against the bakery by cancelling classes, distributing flyers, and supplying demonstrators with free food and drink. It claims that in a protest, Raimondo used a bullhorn and distributed flyers that said the bakery is a "RACIST establishment with a LONG ACCOUNT of RACIAL PROFILING and DISCRIMINATION.”

     Now, the school has completely denied these charges…but I’ve sure seen this before. Outside of court, admin tells the most outrageous of lies and denies everything no matter how well-founded the accusations here.

     In this case, we have a claim that the Dean was using a bullhorn and passing out fliers…I bet there’ll be a few witnesses and probably a cell phone video or two. So, good luck with those denials.

     I’m sure what will happen here is, in time, they’ll settle out of court, make a big payment to the baker, who admittedly has it coming. The Dean won’t lose her job, and tuition will go up another few percent.

     It’s no big deal, it’s all paid for by the student loan scam anyway.

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Laptops in Class, Yes or No? (Hint: No)

By Professor Doom

     The world is so dramatically different from what it was 20 years ago, it’s shocking. It used to be a big deal to have a cell phone back then, but nowadays not only does everyone have a cell phone (except me, when not travelling), but these phones have literally all the information of humanity available.

      When I walk into a classroom today, nearly every one of my students has their eyes glued to their cell phone. Hopefully they’re gaining knowledge, and if so I don’t blame them.

      The cell phones also beep or whirr or play a jingle every time someone (or some thing) wants to communicate with the cell phone owner…when I look at the class during the lecture, I invariably see at least one student texting away. Considering the student is generally paying several dollars a minute just to hear me talk, I hope they’re making a wise investment to text instead.

       I’ve tried banning the things, but, always, the excuses come up. “My grandfather is dying and I need to know right away when this happens” is a typical excuse, and it’s just not worth my time to try to enforce any such ban, even though I know in my heart the students would be far better off without the distraction. Besides, a student might complain to admin that he’s unhappy with my ban, and then the Dean will tell me not to ban the things…or else.

      It’s not just cell phones, computers have changed. Now some students are carrying tiny laptop computers, with all the power of the phones, and with a keyboard for easy typing. Students with laptops thusly don’t spend as much time texting…but now they’re playing games or surfing the ‘net.

     Again, I really want to ban these things, since I know that’s the right thing to do. And, again, I know admin would only punish me if I tried to help my students get an education.

     A recent article at the Chronicle of Higher Education highlights so many of the problems in higher education right now, albeit inadvertently:

     Just the title is worrisome: when did fear of insulting the class become a part of higher education? More importantly, when did fear of not providing quality education leave higher education?

     It doesn’t stop at the title, however, as the author provides some information about himself:

I’m a professor of human sexuality at Dalhousie University, on Canada’s Atlantic coastline. In my classes we discuss everything from the history of homosexual persecution to vaginoplasty to the cultural importance of Fifty Shades of Grey…in a lecture hall with some 400 students.

     It’s only one paragraph, but it says so much about the state of higher education. I’ve mentioned before how our course catalogues are loaded down with sex courses…human sexuality, female sexuality, male sexuality, adult sexuality, deviant sexuality…so many variants on this one topic.

      Pick up a catalogue from 50 years ago, and you’ll see courses primarily on academic topics, but today the bulk of the campus is devoted to sex, pop culture, and ideological indoctrination. The change comes from admin, who just want to provide courses which please the students.

      Now, don’t get me wrong, sex is certainly something worth studying, as is pop culture (not so much the indoctrination), but we’re teaching this crap in rooms with 400 students at a time.

     So look at three things this article is telling us about higher education. Higher education fears offending the students, provides empty coursework of no value, and does so in massive lecture halls.

      Now let’s talk about having laptops in class. The author gives the usual spiel about how technology enhances education. He tells us we should ignore the empirical evidence every professor can tell you he’s seen with his own eyes: these technological toys are an incredible distraction.

       Again, I acknowledge the toys have their uses…but not in an auditorium with 400 students.

     The professor continues to highlight the issues with higher ed:

Telling them they can’t use their laptops or smartphones in class is treating adults like infants. 

      No, it would be treating students like students. When you go study martial arts, the first thing they do is force you to wear a martial arts uniform. Gee, your sensei is telling you how to dress? That’s treating you like an infant, right?

      No, it’s treating the martial arts student like a student. It’s not infantilizing the student, wearing that uniform will facilitate developing the physical skills in martial arts.

     It’s just common sense. Similarly, putting the toys aside will help the student pay attention, which is a big part of learning something. Common sense, honest.

…if they choose to check Snapchat instead of listening to your lecture, then that’s their loss…

      While there’s truth in the above, why not help the student learn? Why not make it easier for him to learn? Why isn’t the professor taking responsibility for his students? What happened to higher education where it became difficult to make decisions in the student’s best interest?

      Part of what happened is faculty are beaten down. The abuse has been ongoing for so long, that it’s only natural for some faculty to have Stockholm syndrome, and the author is exhibiting the symptoms:

Besides, it’s my responsibility as an educator to ensure that my lecture is compelling. If my students aren’t paying attention, if they’re distracted, that’s on me.

     He actually blames himself! Much like an abused wife figures she brought the beating on herself, so too do we have faculty who think the same way about students not enjoying the work (they call it “work” for a reason…) more than playing on the computer.

     Living in the culture of terror that is higher education, faculty are trained to fear everything they do, as the slightest micro-aggression can lead to a dressing down from admin at the very least.

     So, now we don’t really care about helping students, we care about making the lecture “compelling,” and the professor above is not alone in thinking it’s his fault if he can’t compete with literally all the entertainment in the world sitting in front of the student in the form of a laptop.

The latest calls for a laptop ban were prompted by a recent study of students’ using laptops for note-taking versus note-taking by hand. This is a remarkably narrow view of how laptops can be used in a classroom — and an unfair method to measure an impact on learning.

      Look, I admit that my line about what professors are seeing with their own eyeballs is just a bunch of anecdotes, but here we see the author cite a study saying what we already know.

      And still the empirical evidence of the completely obvious is tossed as he argues for keeping laptops in the classroom. Then we go to the next problem in higher education:

Like any good academic, I decided to conduct a study. Over the 2014 and 2015 academic years, with the help of a teaching assistant, I examined the effects of using the teaching app. We published our findings last year. We ran surveys and focus groups with 1,100 students, and found that the app promoted undergraduate engagement. More impressively, the integration of the app in the course had a noticeable impact on the perceived quality of education and increased critical-thinking skills.

      So, the guy does of his own teaching methods and—surprise!—turns out he’s awesome. Yeah, maybe.

     Thing is, every year when I was at a fake community college, we’d have an Educationist come in and do the same thing. They all have new teaching methods which, in their own classrooms using their own highly massaged data, work awesomely. Admin looks at this study, has no training in research methods to understand the concept of “conflict of interest” and then crams the new methods down the throats of the faculty.

       However, in controlled conditions, every single time, the new method fails, often spectacularly. Of course, the failures don’t get published, or at least don’t get promoted nearly as much…and so these useless methods based on blatantly flawed studies get sold endlessly.

     So, no, I’m not buying the author’s claims here, especially with him exhibiting the pathology of Stockholm syndrome.

     The comments section, key to any legitimate news source, almost entirely agrees that the author is laughably wrong. The sole exception is one graduate student who says laptops in the classroom are fine, based on his own theories.

      I rather expect when he starts teaching, he’ll change his tune. Eyeballs are like that, after all.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

Study: Students Leave Hard Majors. No Kidding!

By Professor Doom

     I’ve seen it far more times than I can count: a kid walks onto campus, picks a tough STEM major like Engineering, then, after seeing he can’t cut it there, switches over to something less challenging (but still hard) like Chemistry or Pre-Med. Then after flunking those classes, changes major again and again, until finally getting a degree in Theatre or African Studies or Gender Studies or well, something not exactly associated with high difficulty…or pay.

     I suppose this sort of thing has always happened, but I worry that today’s “take a huge loan for a college degree” system of education is creating far more victims of higher education than there used to be. Toss in those endless “if you’re female, we’ll give you extra to go into STEM because males and females are the same” programs and it only adds to the issues here as I’ve seen many females caught in this trap due to those programs.

     Changing your major adds a year, or two, or even three to your degree programs. Even if you don’t fail your classes, your new major probably won’t even accept the old major’s courses except as electives…an extra few years taken to get a degree can easily add up to another $100,000 to the cost of the degree once loans, interest on loans, and lost income are factored in.

      Anyway, I’ve seen students downgrade their degree many times, so I don’t really need a study to tell me what I already know: students who major in African Studies on day 1 of college generally don’t switch over to Engineering nearly as often as the other way around.

       All that said, I want to talk a bit about a study showing the obvious, because it reveals some things less obvious:

      I won’t crow much about my own discipline being the one most likely to chase away students, it’s well known, and I like job security. In several ways, mathematics is actually an easy discipline: you don’t have to write papers, reading assignments are a few pages at most, and you usually don’t even have homework. All you need to do in mathematics is understand…if you don’t understand what’s being said in the courses, you change your major. I always felt bad for my friends in other degree programs, spending hours in lab work or writing extensive papers or other unpleasant things, where all I ever had to do was actually follow the conversations my professors would (attempt to) have with me.

     …students who started out in mathematics and the natural sciences are likelier than others to switch fields,

--seriously, who didn’t know this already?

      Around 33% of all students change their major at least once. It’s more like 52% for those who start in math. What’s funny about this study is the author is puzzled at the bleeding obvious:

What does it mean that math majors are likelier to leave their major than students in other fields? Given the marketplace demand for math majors (and students in other STEM fields), is it a problem that STEM majors are abandoning their majors at a greater rate than other students are?

     It really is sad that we as a people are so ignorant of basic economics that there’s a question of how it can be that the most profitable fields are also the ones people are least likely to be able to do. It’s a pretty big reveal that this question is being asked, because it displays the common ignorance so well.

     An educationist in our government is wheeled in to address this “problem:”

Given employers' strong demand for math majors and other students with strong quantitative skills, and by extension the desire among students to pursue such majors, it's essential that educators seek ways to make those fields less off-putting to students -- and not by reducing rigor, Venit said.

--emphasis added

     It’s so laughable that they can be so puzzled by the concept that “rare skills tend to be more valuable” that they think the issue is the subject matter is, and I chuckled when I read it, “off-putting.”

     Yeah, that’s the problem. They’re probably also puzzled why plumbers make so much, and have no idea working with raw sewage is off-putting, too.

     I reckon everyone who has seen a great pianist or incredible singer perform has thought “gee, I could do that, too, except it’s so off-putting.” Where’s the great push to make courses in singing or piano more accessible?

     Professional basketball players make great money…why is there no push to make the game less “off-putting.” You, gentle reader, need to realize this is how utterly lost our government-sponsored Educationists are when it comes to understanding of how the world works, and should keep this in mind before subjecting your children to government-style education.

       For all my amusement at their confusion and ignorance here, something is said that is very relevant:

Colleges and universities also should strive, Venit said, to create desirable "off-ramps" for students who get waylaid from their original academic goal...

     Our higher education system really does need to be more able to have students change their major, there’s simply too much money involved not to provide better options for students who want to change.

     Thing is, this problem has been well known for decades…and still nothing has been done. It’s basically unsolvable, and allow me to explain why:

     Students are paying ridiculous amounts of money to get their degree, and as long as those dollar signs are there, students are going to go for the degrees most likely to pay back the cost of getting a degree…and they’re always going to want to take the shortest path to get that well-paying degree.

     Let’s take that previous paragraph as axiomatic: just assume it’s all true.

     Any “off-ramp” path, will, obviously, be slower than a student taking a direct path—we already have those off-ramps, that’s how students can put two years into one degree, change degree, and not necessarily be two years behind…a student could optimize their off-ramp path, but any such optimization will mean they’re not taking the shortest possible path.

     Bottom line: if you spend three years studying to be an astrophysicist, and then decide you want to herd goats instead, the only way you won’t have wasted 3 years of your life is if some of those courses you took for astrophysics actually have material equally useful for goatherding…and you wouldn’t take those courses because those courses (eg, Gender Studies) are just as useless for astrophysics…you won’t take such courses because you were taking the shortest possible path to your astrophysics degree.

     The only solution here is to destroy one of the axioms, the part about “ridiculous amounts of money.” There really was a time when higher education was cheap, and that time was before the student loan scam. We need to get rid of that, and then we won’t have people spending the rest of their lives in debt slavery for making a very common mistake when they were 18 years old: picking an inappropriate major.

Thursday, January 11, 2018

Higher Ed Building Spree Continues Even As Students Flee Campus

By Professor Doom

     “Because we don’t have enough offices, we’ll be putting you in temporary trailers…”

--Admin announcement. It sounds reasonable enough, until you realize the school has less faculty than ever, despite having more students than ever…the offices were all being taken over by the new administrative hires. When I resigned from the place years later, they started moving us to abandoned student dorms so decrepit that the stairs were unsafe. Despite faculty having no place to go, the school opened at least 5 administrative palaces over the course of 4 years.

     Every year or so I talk about a part of higher ed that very few know about, even people that work on campus every day: the insane real estate buying and building spree. Students have no means of knowing about it—all they care about is being able to get to classes, so as long as construction doesn’t shut down access roads for too long, it never makes their radar. Similarly, faculty usually have no idea, because we have no input or control over such things.

     The buying is really remarkable; New York University gives a good example of how these places snap up mansions and spend ridiculous amounts of money on renovating administrative palaces (and such knowledge is only known because researchers decided to specifically look). Thing is, NYU is not exceptional, as I’ve seen other schools also spend mind-boggling sums on real estate, often explicitly paying more than market price--almost certain in exchange for personal kickbacks to admin making the buying decision, though that’s just a guess on my part. I’ll leave it to the gentle reader to conjecture why absolutely nobody in any position to do anything about it can even guess why else our grotesquely overpaid administrative caste are incapable of making decent real estate deals.

      Now, it takes years to make all the bribes plans necessary to get something built, so I totally understand how a school can be opening buildings even as the student base is dropping. Trouble is, across the country the total number of college students is dropping, and this trend has been for five years now—more than long enough for even highly incompetent administrators to go “gee, maybe we should stop building up the campus.”

      Now, we pay our “leaders” in higher ed a great deal of money so they aren’t that incompetent right? We’ve stopped the madcap building spree, right? Not a chance:

     It’s so bizarre to watch this madness continue unabated, but I can see what’s happening here. Our higher education system is massively overbuilt, we easily have enough capacity now to slam the entire population of the country into college or university. So, here’s the reasoning:

     Because our institutions are so overbuilt, their only hope for survival is growth.

     This growth, absolutely necessary growth, can only come from one way: cannibalizing students away from other schools in the system.

     The only way to attract students at this point is to offer the newest, most luxurious accommodations. Dorms which are already 5 years old are ancient by today’s standards, and need to be knocked down to put up something more chic. Bigger climbing walls, longer lazy rivers…whatever it takes.

     It’s so infuriating that our leaders in higher ed have squandered the huge money pouring in from the student loan scam. Imagine if they’d invested it wisely, instead of ploughing it all into insultingly huge salaries, golden parachutes, and sparkling palaces.

     Because our leaders failed to build prudently, because they overbuilt, their only chance is to continue to overbuild. How bad is it?

Colleges and universities collectively owe $240 billion, the Moody’s bond-rating service reports. That debt rose 18 percent, to $145 billion, in the last five years at public universities, Moody’s says.

Last year alone, colleges and universities borrowed a record $41.3 billion through municipal bonds, their principal source of debt funding, the financial information firm Thomson Reuters reports. That’s up from $28.7 billion a decade ago.

      Consider how staggering this is. These schools were overbuilt five years ago, and after five years of falling enrollments, the schools are now borrowing more than ever, to build more than ever. Our universities have great tax advantages, but, like everything else, our leaders squandered those advantages, especially at the public institutions:

Just the interest payments come to the equivalent of $750 per student per year at public universities, the Berkeley researchers found, and $1,289 at private colleges.

     A real business would probably be paying twice as much interest. I'm amazed just the interest is more, on a per student basis, than tuition was a few decades ago. Such huge mismanagement, it saddens me that the idea of clawing back the money from the scammers who stole it just isn’t on the table…and again I’ll leave it to the reader to consider why that’s the case.

     Even with all the flags flying saying there’s a major problem here, expenditures on building just go up and up and up:

Colleges and universities collectively spent $8.4 billion on new construction and renovations from January through August of this year, up nearly 10 percent over the same period the year before, according to Dodge Data & Analytics

     The article I’m quoting from highlights a particular school, one which has lost over half their student base in the last five years:

But student numbers didn’t rebound. Instead, they continued to contract, from a peak of 8,339 in 2010 to 4,081 last fall...

     For laughs, consider the kind of money spent to attract more students:

Among other things, it spent $54 million to buy Honolulu’s iconic Aloha Tower and convert it into an anchor for its downtown campus by adding dorm rooms, community spaces, a fitness center, and venues for concerts and lectures.

     Do the math here: for the sake of 4,000 students, the university spent $54 million on just that one tower project. That’s $13,500 per student. The “leaders” could have literally bought a car for every student threatening to leave. I suspect that would have been far more effective than buying out a tower and making a bunch of renovations. Heck, they could have used that money to cover the education costs of every student—actual costs of education represent about 5% of whatever the tuition is.

       And, instead, they bought some more real estate and built it up, paying extravagantly to do so. These guys have control over far too much money considering their extraordinary incompetence.

     Now, I’m not brilliant, but I thought of the “buy everyone a car” and “give everyone free tuition” ideas all on my own, and I trust the gentle reader will concede both of these ideas would have been vastly more effective than the demonstrably failed ideas our horribly overpaid leaders at this school can come up with.

     In the face of such gross mismanagement of funds, I again find myself wondering: why is nobody in a position to do anything about it willing to stop our “leaders” in higher ed from wasting ever greater amounts of money?

Monday, January 8, 2018

Should We Worry About Nazis On Campus? No.

By Professor Doom

     It’s so funny, when a conservative speaker comes to campus, cries of “He’s a NAZI and must be stopped!” spring up. Even Ben Shapiro gets called a Nazi often, despite his well-documented Jewish faith. The mainstream media constantly warns us of the "growing" Nazi threat, with Nazi broadly defined as White Supremacist, Right Wing, Alt-Right, or, heck, anything not Leftist.

      Hundreds of people will show up to shut down an alleged Nazi speaker. Reasonable people have long conjectured that it isn’t Nazism that’s the issue, it’s the “dangerous ideas” the speakers want to expose our kids to, as opposed to the lethal Leftism that is the usual fare on college campus. Still, we have legions of anti-Nazi protestors running around the country looking for Nazis to yell at, or so it seems.

     How many Nazis are there, anyway? Those are a rare breed despite what the Left keeps screaming at us. Most everyone with a Leftist finger pointed at them is demonstrably not a Nazi. One would presume, if one could find a real Nazi, anyone supporting that Nazi would likewise be a Nazi. But where to find a Nazi, a “patient zero” which would allow us to have some idea if the Nazi problem is as bad as the Left keeps screaming it is.

       As luck would have it, however, we got a break. Turns out University of North Florida happens to have a student with swastika tattoos, shouting crazy stuff like “It’s ok to be White!” and giving open disapproval of Black Lives Matter. Eh, for lack of a better specimen, let’s suppose this guy is a Nazi.

     Because he made the incredibly violent threat against a Left-wing student group, promising to (gasp!) “shut them down,” he was suspended from campus. Don’t get me wrong, I respect admin’s decision here but…my admittedly feverish memory seems to recall Leftists making far more aggressive statements than this, without punishment.

      Anyway, as is his right, the suspended student was going to protest his suspension, and he publicized his intended actions. So, here we go:

      We have about the clearest Nazi-type person we’re going to get, advertising for supporters against the “oppression” from admin. How many people did we get in support of this Nazi, who, by extension, we might conjecture are Nazis themselves?

     Now, the gentle reader should keep in mind that this number of protestors, 4, is an upper limit to the number of Nazis we have here. Some of those supporters might very well be showing up because of the free speech issues, and some might be showing up because of the hypocrisy issues.

      But, worst case scenario, we have maybe 5 Nazis on this campus (including the guy being victimized for "hate speech").

Many white supremacists attending public institutions have had the expression of their views protected under the First Amendment, though UNF officials said that the combination of the gun and the caption constituted a threat, which was why Parker was suspended.

--emphasis added. Seriously, this stuff is way overblown, every time.

     It really seems like the media is exaggerating the “Nazi Threat.” The same article telling me that all of 5 Nazis showed up doubles down by telling me “many” white supremacists (here used as a synonym for Nazi) exist elsewhere who are getting their views protected under the First Amendment (a rather weird claim to make on the face of it)…but we seriously are looking at a handful, perhaps, at each large institution.

     The counter-protest to this handful of possible-Nazis numbered over 50, by the way. University officials didn’t want the counter-protest, because those guys tend to turn violent, but, at least this time around, it was peaceful.

      One commentor pretty much sums it up:

Four knuckleheads, huh? So much for the rise of fascism in America under Trump.

     The media breathlessly promised us a plethora of apocalypses based on Trump’s election, and one of those was, indeed, that we’d be drowning in Nazis. Like every other such promise, it has not come true, and I have no belief that the mainstream media’s other portents of doom will come true.

    Well, there is the promise of economic doom for this country, although the mainstream media seldom mentions it…but I don’t think Trump should be held totally responsible for that, since the foundations for such an apocalypse were laid a century ago.