Monday, June 8, 2015

New Walker regent says the UW is like a "company that has multiple manufacturing locations."

Scott Walker’s latest appointment to the board of regents pretty much signaled the end of the UW as a place to learn. Who is he, and what tie does he have to the conservative power structure overseeing our neo-fascist state now?
Gov. Scott Walker has appointed the son of a president of a foundation that supports conservative causes to the University of Wisconsin Board of Regents … Mike M. Grebe, son of Michael W. Grebe, president and chief executive of the Bradley Foundation … that has backed a number of conservative public policy experiments, including welfare reform and voucher schools. Michael W. Grebe also has served as chairman of Walker's campaign.
It takes balls and endless amounts of partisan arrogance to take cronyism to this level.

But it was Grebe’s breathtaking suggestion that the UW strive to be more like a manufacturing company with specialized products that fined tuned Walker's objective.

Grebe suggested getting rid of similar UW programs offered up by a number of campuses to save money. Never mind how it narrows your UW choices, or how local students will have to move to another campus costing them room and board. Spoken like a guy with lots of money already. From WPR’s Shawn Johnson:
Grebe: "Why we would need to duplicate those programs...spread around the state in a rational way, but in a way that doesn't unnecessarily expend to think about how we operate the UW system. Again it gets to, if you work for a company that has multiple manufacturing locations, you might not do the same thing at every one of those locations, because your customer base will be different. You might specialize in one area or another on certain products."
He is talking about a place where people learn, right, not a "manufacturing" plant specializing in products for a certain "customer base?" Amazing.

Coincidentally, today’s Salon offered up this article, “Massive endowments, massive tuition, massive debt: Our colleges are out of control and crushing students,” that also made that same connection:
“…turning the university into a revenue-maximizing business inevitably subverts the institution’s central purpose, which is the pursuit and transmission of knowledge.”
Here's a brief overview of the article:
The Art of the Gouge,” a 14,000-word report published by a group of more than 400 NYU faculty members. They are fed up with seeing a distinguished research university transformed into a multi-billion dollar student loan-funded vehicle for real estate speculation. The school’s recent charitable activities include things like purchasing a $5.2 million condo on Central Park West … features many other eye-popping examples of how the revenues from the school’s more than $70,000-per-year cost of attendance are being spent, while at the same time some students find themselves homeless, underfed, and desperate enough to trade sex for tuition money.

This is all part and parcel of the increasing corporatization of the American university … One problem with this little laissez-faire fable is that this particular market depends heavily on taxpayer subsidies. Another is that turning the university into a revenue-maximizing business inevitably subverts the institution’s central purpose, which is the pursuit and transmission of knowledge.

1 comment:

  1. Riiiight… just like a manufacturing business that:

    -Has a product that cannot be shipped (or off-shored)
    -Requires an extremely specialized PhD-level workforce willing to work for a barely (if they're lucky) middle-class salary
    -Has thousands of people living on-site, and must provide for their safety and wellbeing
    -Funds its main operations (student instruction) entirely from 2 revenue streams, one of which (state tax $) has been declining for 40+ yrs, and the other (tuition/fees) is arbitrarily capped by the state legislature

    And how specialized are we talking here?
    All the engineers to Platteville and business majors to Whitewater. If you want to be an effective communicator, you'll need to go to Green Bay. And biologists to Stevens Point. If math is your thing, you'll need to go to Eau Claire. And definitely banish the social scientists to Milwaukee and humanities majors to Superior. Can't have these bleeding-hart leftists clouding our business majors' minds with concepts like empathy, ethics, and justice, right?