As regards your front page article on the budget it is my impression that you missed an opportunity for starting a critical discussion on how universities are funded and how those funds are spent. To focus on the top fiver earners, compare those earners to industry averages and analyze the budget woes of simply the past year are to ignore endemic and systematic problems that plague higher education as a whole.
Two trends in particular are of concern for students. The first is that universities have increasingly come to rely on low paid, part-time workers to shoulder an increasing amount of an institutions teaching load. For large schools like U of I, this would be done by graduate students. For smaller schools like Elmhurst this burden is taken up by adjuncts.
The second is an increasing amount of spending being put into ‘periphery’ uses. By periphery, I mean those uses that do not directly contribute to the primary good that universities are said to provide: education. This is caused by increasing amounts of being spent on expanding bureaucracies and non-core uses.
Generally good economic times, the perceived great value of higher education, and the ready availability of credit on generous terms for educational purposes (student loans) have allowed universities to in the past generally ignore the tension created by an expanding administration and skimping on core teaching staff. These problems plague the entire industry and are hardly unique to EC.
Yet, the result is for students to be paying for what in many respects is a sham product. Many adjuncts can be found teaching for only slightly lower rates at local community colleges. Hence, it is the same product with different labeling and it is that brand that students end up paying the difference for.
In this respect EC’s current budget woes and need to increase tuition are merely the result of intractable and endemic problems that have been plaguing universities for years. It is this story that your article on the budget has missed and it is this story that students across the country need to be concerned about.
Adjunct professor of philosophy