Thursday, April 9, 2009

For whom does the university exist?

The Board of Trustees treats the university as if it were a place for political patronage jobs for their friends or political allies. The primary losers in the process are the students and the faculty committed to serving students. The Board is indifferent to the task of educating the students, overwhelmingly relatively disadvantaged black and a few latin students. It really is racism, a culture of indifference or insult to the students' needs that can be seen from the financial aid office (the memorable "CSU students are ghetto" as an explanation of why students apply at the last minute for financial aid) to the dirty "smart" boards in our classrooms, to the failure to approve UPASS for the students, to the policy of not letting students retrieve their own books from the bookstore, to the poor condition of so many physical facilities, including bathrooms. Of course, it starts at the top, with inadequate funding of the university. It is made worse by the racist society that creates so many needs, particularly financial ones, for students. What we see most clearly is the manifestations of this indifference or insult locally in policies that needlessly ignore important student needs and interests. Faculty suffer along with students because our ambition to teach and be useful is made more difficult.

That said, I must congratulate Phillip for starting this blog and for stating so clearly how wrong this search process has been. I agree with him that the students seem to be taking up the struggle, and this is good. Faculty should do what we can to help students to learn how to fight for themselves, and we should learn from their energy and initiative. Let's all wear black Monday and Tuesday and inform our students of the protest.

Can we hold up signs at the interviews? I have some ideas. I'll bet you do too.

1 comment:

  1. I should have added that the problems with funding education in general and CSU in particular are also related to the priorities of U.S. imperialism at this juncture as it continues to prosecute wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. These priorities are connected to the struggle for control of Mideast and Caspian Sea oil. So an understanding of our local problems takes our thinking into the wider world situation and the U.S. role in it. I should have said that in the beginning.