a letter in the N&O on the university in crisis

A 3Cs member has a letter to the editor in today’s News & Observer on the crisis in the university:

The controversy surrounding Mary Easley’s appointment is indicative of a much deeper problem in higher education today. Universities are spending increasingly more funds on administrative and managerial costs, while proportionally much less money is spent on teaching and learning, the supposed objectives of higher education.

At UNC-CH, for example, lecturers, often responsible for three courses a semester, receive less than $40,000 a year with little job security and few benefits, and graduate students, responsible for much of the teaching and direct interaction with undergraduates, receive less than $20,000. Class sizes are rising, students’ tuition is increasing and adjunct faculty are often forced to teach at multiple schools to make ends meet. Yet our universities continue to pay administrators hundreds of thousands of dollars despite the budget crisis.

This is not a problem that can be rectified by a handful of resignations, but rather a problem that requires systematic change in the way our universities operate. Universities must be run transparently and democratically by those who make them up: the students and faculty. As long as universities are run as businesses, controlled by politicians and the corporate elite to generate profit and prestige, we will continue to see these conflicts on our campuses.

See it in the N&O here