Let us harbor no illusions about who is pro-education: Republicans from the President and Congress all the way down have told colleges and their students, past and present, to go @#!% themselves. (For instance, here’s a list of current articles on the Pell Grant woes. And here’s another list about the NSF budget freeze; without the NSF, not much happens in scientific research at major universities.)*
And now, UMass is forced to redirect its priorities to getting cash from the private sector:
On a campus that lost 100 of its permanent professors to budget cuts inthe last three years, Chancellor John V. Lombardi has increased thecampus fund-raising staff by 40 percent.
Of course, if you talk to anyone who works or studies there, you know they’ve been cut to the bone. That’s a disgrace. Education spending is an investment in an area’s economy — cutting it is like decreasing your retirement contribution so that you can afford a Hummer. Marginal short-term gains, long-term consequences.
You can have a reasonable discussion about how much of UMass’s budget should come from the state, and how much from the private sector, but this kind of Third World shock therapy is extremely unfair to people who are there now. And in the long run, we’re all dead.
*[Update: David just handed me a note in the news room here: "just FYI, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) actuallyhas a substantially larger budget than NSF (about $28 billion, as opposed to under$6 billion for NSF), and I think funds a good deal more basic research thanNSF. Which is not to say that the NSF budget freeze isn?t significant ?it is ? just that one has to consider NIH in discussing funding of basicscience generally." Here’s an article on the NIH budget: very tiny increase, which is causing them to drop some programs that otherwise might have gone on.]