[lbo-talk] Amid tougher times, spending on payroll soars at Michigan universities

Alan Rudy alan.rudy at gmail.com
Mon Apr 11 11:46:02 PDT 2011

Apologies for the top post, it was going to get too ugly to intersperse this...

Charles, what you said, you could have checked for youself, but I'll do it for you...

At first, accepting the argument and implying administrator pay was an actual problem:

CB: Must be that "they" are part of the creative Randian elite.

In your first response, defending the Freep’s/MC’s not half truths”

CB: We should consider whether there is any motive for the Freep to tell half-truths on this…It's just that sometimes the bourgeois information services just confess.

Followed very soon thereafter by an embrace of “the facts” as you do at the bottom of this last note: CB: Hasn't tuition been going up steadily for decades, at Michigan's state schools, pushing them further and further from the reach of the lower incomed?

Then you further defend, rather than unpack the “facts”:

CB: I think the bourgeois press may be making an accurate claim that profs and administrators' pay is going up when so many others , including teachers in secondary and elementary school, face cuts.

So here's the question, what does the accurate claim mean to you? That profs shouldn't be paid more - public university profs in MI, beyond UofM and those in select departments at MSU and the compass schools - are generally underpaid relative to those in peer institutions? You do know that many campuses have faculty unions, should we make them collapse just because MEA's having trouble? You're making the common conservative public argument, "Hey, I'm suffering, it is not fair that those other people like me aren't!" If your concern is administrators - which is what the article actually focused on - rather than profs then don't bring up the profs. But, again, not only does the Freep/MC article not prove that administrative numbers and pay are what is driving up tuition - something you implicitly accept in every argument you've made, specifically questioning me on whether reduced monies from the state could be a legitimate concern, or that health benefits costs, or building, or energy, or maintenance costs, or even increasing enrollments, could also be important - but, until now, you've never noted that this stuff isn't some kind of conservative administrator-led Randian conspiracy, but a structural feature of the neoliberal destruction of public institutions.

What I actually said about the Freep was that I couldn’t believe you were posting that particular article from that particular paper with that particular source… YOU threw in the idea that such a post, with the snide comment above, was OK because you’ve also posted things from other pretty conservative papers, not me. And you’ll note, perhaps, that I’ve not responded negatively to most of those posts from those other rags, indicating that I don’t have the aversion you attribute to me.

If you didn’t have anything to say to the contrary w/r/t my arguments, why continue to post as if you disagreed with my positions? This is the first time you’ve said anything about the roots and it is not true that your metapolicy position from earlier in the day acknowledges the neoliberal roots of administrative growth in numbers and salaries. It is easy to imagine liberals wanting to reinscribe higher taxes on the wealthy and corporations w/o wanting to do a single thing about the restructuring of higher education… many think that university-industry collaborations, increasing emphases on external grants and cost recovery and shifting the mission of public universities towards becoming centers of regional growth is a great idea. What would your policy be towards the many kinds of staff, pedagogy, administration and university/public-university-private agreements? Would you simply slash administrators? their pay? faculty? their pay? everyone's benefits? How would you deal with rising energy and food costs? Buy local food? Retrofit old buildings? Nationalize health care?

Finally, in your last paragraph again you 1) ignore the fact that long ago in this exchange I said that tuition had gone up and 2) that the fact that it has gone up is not significantly driven by increasing numbers of administrators and means absolutely nothing unless you want to explain why and the fact that you keep appealing to the "fact" rather than the "why" is where your position continues to run parallel to the Mackinaw Center and Freep… the “fact” is true, therefore policy must react... I completely disagree, appeals to objective “facts” are usually an indication that someone doesn't understand where the facts come from or that they are engaged in deceptive politics. I don't think you're engaged in deception, and I accept that you understand that the number and pay of administrators is a neoliberal product, but it'd be nice if you thought of such things before repeatedly engaging in posts that don't show it and, in fact, point in other directions.

I'm done, you can have the last word on this.

On Mon, Apr 11, 2011 at 1:41 PM, c b <cb31450 at gmail.com> wrote:

> Alan Rudy
> Yes, you have and yes you are (though with a twist that actually
> undermines your position).
> You refuse to unpack, or accept any of my unpacking (or the unpacking
> provided by someone to both of us off list), of the Mackinaw Center's
> and Freep's "fact" that compensation for administrators - and faculty
> in some instances - has gone up during the recently intensified
> downturn and that this is a problem worthy of criticism.
> ^^^^
> CB: I haven't refused to interrogate or unpack anything.
> ^^^^^^^
> At no point have you responded to any of the substantive and
> extensively researched arguments I've made
> rooted in the history of neocon/neolib education policy and the ways
> in which it has both encouraged and forced the expansion of
> administrative staffing and paying professional administrators higher
> salaries than traditional academics promoted from within.
> ^^^^
> CB; I don't have to respond to your arguments on the neo's policy ,
> because I never said it wasn't a neo's policy. All I did was post a
> newspaper article claiming the pay has gone up. Then u said something
> about my never posting stories from right-wing papers; and I said I do
> post from the Wall Street Journal and NYT , which are as right-wing or
> more than the Detroit Free Press. I also asked whether tuition has
> been going up for a while now at state universities.
> Of course , all this is a result of Reaganism. Duhh. I never said
> otherwise, and in fact agree. . I didn't give any explanation for the
> Free Press' claims.
> ^^^^^
> At no point have you responded to the thirty-years-of-fiscal-crisis-
> used-to-discipline-and-restructure/privatize-public-education
> argument.
> ^^^^^
> CB: I didn't respond to it because I hadn't said anything to the contrary.
> Generally speaking, I've been criticizing Reaganism, including its
> impact on education, since 1981, when it started ( giggles).
> ^^^^^
> At no point did you respond to the increasing-demands-for-externally-
> funded-research-causes-fiscal-and-pedagogical-deficits-while-forcing-
> more-administrative-oversight-and-infrastructural-costs argument.
> ^^^^^^^
> CB: Why would I respond to that ? I didn't say it was caused by anything
> else.
> ^^^^^^^
> Claims like the unsupported one above - particularly one's like the
> one above which operates at the wrong level of abstraction AND skirts
> the real issues at hand (are you going to address the roots of the
> "problem" so as to understand it or are you going to treat the "fact"
> as if it has no roots and can therefore be legitimately used to back a
> reactive politics, whether left or right - don't add anything to
> genuine debate.
> ^^^^^
> CB; Here's the "claim" I made above. Is it your position that the
> Mackinaw Center would not hate my proposals ? The "roots" of the
> "fact" are as much in my "claim" as what u talk about.
> CB: I ain't refusing to interrogate anything; or supporting the
> > Mackinaw Center's position. My position is raise taxes on the rich and
> > corporations , cut the military budget , moratorium on state and local
> > bond payments to Wall Street, and that the federal government should
> > bailout the states like it bailed out Wallstreet. The Mackinaw Center
> > would hate that.
> >
> ^^^^^^^^^
> Last, what your actual desired policy program is has no bearing on
> your insistence that the MC/F are pointing to a real problem... unless
> your solution intends to do nothing about the "fact"/"problem" at
> which point you'd need to say so but then that could undermine your
> argument that the "fact"/"problem" is actually a problem. At that
> point you'd, perhaps, also be inclined to see that maybe my arguments
> against posting stuff from the Mackinaw Center printed in the Freep,
> and then insisting that they've got their finger on something real
> enough to be worth taking seriously are legit (esp. since I never said
> that EVERYTHING printed in the Freep is crap, all I said was that THIS
> was... and that there's good reason to be suspicious of that paper
> anyway).
> ^^^^^^^
> CB: I didn't insist that they've got their finger on something real
> enough to be worth taking seriously, which are legit or whatever. I
> posted an article claiming admin and faculty pay have gone up.
> Have admin and faculty pay gone up or not ? Has tuition gone up in
> recent years ?
> ___________________________________
> http://mailman.lbo-talk.org/mailman/listinfo/lbo-talk

-- ********************************************************* Alan P. Rudy Dept. Sociology, Anthropology and Social Work Central Michigan University 124 Anspach Hall Mt Pleasant, MI 48858 517-881-6319

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