Today I will be writing to several people, telling them I will not be able to hire them next semester. In reality, I won’t be able to hire them the next academic year either. They’ve been with us for 15-20 years, and now they are unemployed.
Yesterday, a new round of budget cuts was announced. We are losing our travel money. Our entire winter course revenue is being taken away. More sections are cut, which means not only no jobs for lecturers but also delayed graduation for students who can’t get into the already overcrowded classes.
This is the result of the Democratic governor of Illinois promising “free college” and removing tuition for families with incomes of under $65,000. Obviously, the colleges aren’t getting a crooked dime from the governor to compensate for losing the tuition money. As I’ve been saying since the moment I heard the words “free college.” We have record enrollments but less money than ever.
For families this means longer times towards graduation, added difficulties for students who work and can’t find courses that fit into their schedules, fewer services, fewer opportunities, a lot less individual attention from professors, etc. For academic programs, this means less research, fewer (on none) books, no new equipment, and a crowd of fired colleagues.
When I write to the lecturers who were counting on this income and who find themselves fired right before Christmas, should I mention that free (or very cheap) college worked in 1962, so I’m sure it’s going to start working any day now, so just sit tight?
I honestly respect more the hard-nosed neoliberals who openly want to destroy public higher education than the good-intentioned folks whose brains are stuck on the mantras of the 1970s.
I feel very heavy-hearted today because these are good people, and I have to deliver terrible news. Oh, and did I mention that I will never vote for another Democrat for any office under any pretext ever EVER again? Screw these neoliberal bastards. The other bastards are also neoliberal but at least they don’t dupe the naive folks into self-destruction.