I've been trying to think of how to post about this, as I feel like it should be a Big, Important Post, but I can't manage to make it into that. So here's the deal. My uni, like many if not all other regional state universities, is bracing for yet more cuts and is already after last year's cuts not exactly rolling in the dough.
Now, in theory, faculty did get a meager raise last year, and in theory we're in but a "soft" hiring freeze as opposed to a full-on one. In theory we still have money for travel.
But what's becoming apparent as we head toward the new year is that all of these theoretical things are kind of bogus. Because at the same time that these theoretical things are the case, what's really happening is the following:
1) Travel money that's already been given the ok is being "reviewed" and will unless gold falls from the sky be slashed. Note: research is ever more important at my university. Apparently we will now be expected to do this on our own dimes, which doesn't matter so much for people who have tenure, but will end up mattering a lot for people who have a few years to go on the t-t. It will also keep newly tenured people stuck at the associate level longer, which also keeps power centralized in certain ways longer. Funny how that works out.
2) Parking went up, health insurance went up, etc., and so that meager raise? Yeah, not so much a raise.
3) It's being strongly hinted that faculty should give money to keep certain things afloat.
4) Course releases seem to have gone the way of the dodo, for in these tough fiscal times we should find a way to do all of the extra things on top of everything else. Sleep be damned!
I get really angry when it comes to all of the above. The bottom line is that I work at this place, and every such request that faculty "do their part" makes me feel like my work isn't valued - like I'm not already doing my part by teaching in fucked up classrooms without the equipment that I need, quietly accepting that I have an office with no heat and that's 400 miles away from the printer, teaching four freaking maxed out classes a semester, etc. I feel like people have their hands in my pockets and like they're taking money that is mine and that I earned. And while I get the fact that a university is a special kind of place, blah blah blah, I kind of want to tell everybody that they can fuck off and that I don't make enough on a humanities salary, no matter how giving a heart I possess (and really, I don't possess one of those, but for the sake of argument), to keep a university in the black. Shit, I'm not in the black just in terms of my personal finances. And yet, because of all of the PR surrounding this shit, I feel guilty when I don't give. You know what? Screw it. No more guilt. I'll feel guilty when my student loans are paid off. Until that time, they'll just have to be happy that I do my freaking job.
2 years ago