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Beware the Enthymeme!

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It's bad enough to debate complex issues in slogans, but even worse when the slogans so cheerfully lie.

In Florida, as in many states, there are a variety of license plate designs for car owners to choose from. I always think that these, like bumper stickers, are a strange way to express oneself, though I’ve been known to slap a bumper sticker on my car now and then. Last presidential election cycle, I had two Obama stickers stolen off my car, and I have a long-term one that says, “Please don’t breed or buy while shelter pets die. Opt to adopt.” Other than one time when a friend at first thought it protested the breeding of humans and was an insult to his parenthood, that one has been uncontroversial. At least as far as I know. And I guess that’s the joy of broadcasting one’s opinions this way. Unless you meet up with a crazy person who will bash into your vehicle, you are safe from argument.

One of the popular license plates around here is a yellow one with red crayon-like boy and girl figures that imply they were drawn by a child and that says “Choose Life.”

It might be an okay message if it really meant what it says. Of course, most of those who sport this license plate don’t actually mean that. What they mean is that they would rather force every pregnant woman to bring any pregnancy to term. What they mean is not “choose life,” but “choose to support laws and organizations that offer no choice to women.” And, as this Slate article reports, “the legislation in most states [that have these plates] expressly provides that any program offering referrals or even discussing the option of abortion is barred from funding.” In other words, these plates support lack of choice, not a choice.

There is an odd way in which the language gets twisted like this. Of course, progressives and liberals do it too, but what I notice lately is the way that Republicans and right-wingers do this all the freaking time. No doubt, we are gearing up for a maelstrom of misused language in this coming election season.

What I also notice is that progressives have a hard time correcting these misuses of language. I guess they don’t want to be accused of nit-picking about semantics or something like that. But the use of language is one of the most important things we can pay attention to. This is one of the things that rhetorical analysis is good for, and it pains me that so many can get through high school and freshman comp and even four or more years of college and still not be able to understand the manipulations of language to which they are subject on a daily basis.

I will never forget one of my early teaching experiences, when I was laboring as a freshman-composition TA at Penn State during the fall of 1991. At the same time, playing out in the media, were the Senate confirmation hearings for Supreme Court nominee Clarence Thomas. Anita Hill, who had worked as his assistant some years earlier, arrived on the scene with her testimony about Thomas sexually harassing her.

Hill’s testimony lasted only a few hours, but the discussion of it went on for weeks and months, even years. The issue even resurfaced in 2010, when Clarence Thomas’s wife called Anita Hill and suggested she should apologize.

In spite of the fact that Hill subjected herself to a polygraph test that indicated her testimony was honest, whereas Thomas refused a polygraph, and in spite of another woman’s affidavit that she had received similar treatment, Hill’s testimony was vehemently called into question. And one of the prime reasons people gave for their disbelief was that Hill had continued to work for Thomas rather than quitting her job, had in fact even worked for him at a second position after the time during which she said he harassed her. This line of discussion had been begun during her Senate testimony when Republican senators Arlen Specter and Orrin Hatch strove quite clearly to discredit her. (The entire hearings are available via C-Span. About half-way through Day 1, Part 3, Specter grills her about why she continued to work for Thomas).

This discussion nagged at me and nagged at me. Finally one day when I was set to teach the enthymeme, I realized why. Dully, I had been writing a traditional enthymeme lesson (that had been provided to us new TAs) on the chalkboard:

Johnathan lives in Japan.
Johnathan speaks Japanese.

And then out to the side the missing link: People who live in Japan speak Japanese.

In a fit of inspiration, I erased it and wrote instead:

Anita Hill claims she was sexually harassed by Clarence Thomas.
She’s probably lying.

“How many of you agree with this?” I asked. More than half the class raised their hands, most of the men and a few of the women.

For the next half hour, we explored the possible unstated assumptions behind the conclusion. The students eventually had to admit that the basic assumption they were making was that women should always put their “purity” above their careers. Certainly, that was the assumption that the all-male panel of senators who had grilled Hill clearly made. If this were not true, there might be a host of other priorities that Hill would put before quitting her job to escape Thomas’s advances and inappropriate comments.

Once we teased these assumptions out into the open, there were very few students (maybe only one) in the class who agreed with the statement that women should always put their “purity” over their career advancement. Most of them found themselves confronted with an assumption they didn’t agree with but that they had allowed to underpin their opinions on a matter of national importance.

A few of the young women in class began to make the connection to their own experience. “Oh, yeah,” one said, “I have a manager who is so offensive—he always stares at us waitresses too much and puts his hands on us whenever he can—but I haven’t quit my job! We all just ignore him. And it’s a nothing job.” Every female in the class could cite at least one instance of sexual harassment that she had let slide. We agreed that none of us would quit a job over it unless there was actual threat of rape or a high level of severity and directness in the harassment, but that this did not erase the fact of the harassment. It was a daily part of our collective lives.

By the end of class, because they could understand why Anita Hill might have stayed in her job in spite of harassment, they no longer deemed her a liar. I will never forget their mouths hanging open in disbelief at what they had been duped into repeating from the media to friends and family members. They rushed off after class to correct themselves. Thomas, of course, had already been approved as a Supreme Court justice.

I wonder about this kind of thing in the media. It seems to me that both the “neutral” media and the progressive factions do too little to correct this kind of blatantly stupid and unsupported claim. They do too little to monitor the use of language in blatantly deceptive ways. Some, including, of course, FOX News, are notorious for participating in this kind of ridiculous bias themselves (several examples here and one here that’s particularly about twisting of language). Lately, even our senators and representatives have felt free to make utterly false and ridiculous claims, and later to say they didn’t mean them as factual or to insist on defending their mischaracterizations. Only in these most blatant of examples are they called out on it.

For instance, in response to an email I sent to Florida Governor Rick Scott’s ridiculous decision to sign off on establishment of a new (unneeded) state university in Florida, I received a reply containing this statement: “Governor Scott’s top priority this legislative session was adding $1.06 billion in new funding for K-12 education.” First, nothing in Scott’s email responded to the subject I had addressed. And second, this is bull. Scott has been ballyhooing his great increase in state funding for K-12 education this year, after he cut $1.3 billion last year. A few reporters note toward the end of their articles that Scott’s budget doesn’t even replace what he has previously cut, but the headlines mostly remain that he is raising the budget. (Notice that this blogger put a more accurate headline on the same article published with an innocuous-sounding headline in the Palm Coast Observer. But, hey, at least the reporter mentions the facts.)

I believe that these twisted uses of language are one of the reasons why our society has become so divided and discussions so disharmonious. I think that we need to do all we can every time we hear these false uses of language to stop them in their tracks, even if it means making conversation halting. The fact is that it’s one thing to disagree about the substance of things and another for someone to lie in order to exaggerate our disagreements.

There are many examples, but I have gone on long enough. Today’s exhortation, again in support of so many friends who are ending long semesters of teaching freshman comp (and other courses that attempt to teach critical thinking), is: REMEMBER THE ENTHYMEME! Talk about the enthymeme. Pick apart the enthymeme.

“Why Don’t He Come In Here?”—Crying for Public Education

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The osprey is a common bird in Florida, but like problems with public education is also ubiquitous further afield.

I have been meaning to delve more into education issues since writing about Rick Scott’s attacks on higher ed in Florida last fall, but have been following different avenues lately. Fortunately, my friend and colleague Terry Thaxton has provided this terrific guest post, a tapestry of thoughts about childhood school days, her time in the public school trenches, and concerns about today.


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“Why Don’t He Come in Here?”–Crying for Public Education

by Terry Thaxton

Just mention public education, and I’m likely to walk away. Or cry. I cannot fathom where to begin with what needs fixing. I don’t know how to articulate the enormous inadequacies of our education system. I’m a product of public education, and at one point I attempted to teach in our public school system.

I lasted two years as a teacher. The first year, almost every day, on the way to school, I had to pull my car off the road, open the car door, and vomit, worried about what lay ahead that day. On the drive home, I cried because of the conditions of the building, the poverty many of the children were living in, the lack of support for teachers to do their jobs, the expectations that created Catch-22s for students, teachers, and administrators. I cried because of the media which usually reported what some politician in power had to say, that all society’s ills lay at the feet of public school teachers. For my own sanity and health, I left high school to teach part time at the university, taking a huge pay cut, but I was no longer sick every morning or crying all night.

I still live in Seminole County, Florida, the county where I taught for those two years (1997-99). Last year, the School Board closed one elementary school despite community protests. The closing, the Board claimed, was a necessary measure because of state budget cuts by Governor Rick Scott which he began touting at a Tea Party meeting in February 2011, suggesting cutting the State’s education budget by $4.8 billion. By March—due in part to public outrage—he’d reduced the cut down to $1.75 billion. That money would not be lost, he assured us all. No, it would provide tax breaks to corporations. By December 2011, he declared an “increase” for this upcoming year’s education budget of $1 billion. Perhaps because of his low approval ratings, Scott changed his tune, but this still in reality represents a net loss to schools of $.75 billion over 2 years.

Just a month ago, January (2012), the Seminole County School Board announced the impending closing of at least two more elementary schools with several others on the chopping block. Thanks to the parents, students, and teachers of these schools, the Board has agreed to not close the schools (at least for now), and to look for other options for saving money. Teachers, however, haven’t had a raise in three years, and I’m betting most are still purchasing their own classroom supplies (as I did during the two years I braved the classroom). I know of at least two teachers who, in the past three days, have said after this semester, they’re leaving.

When I was in fourth grade, the Florida Education Association staged and successfully carried out a teacher’s strike. Teachers did not show up in their classrooms–in some schools for a couple of months. Before the strike began, the teachers at my elementary school told us they would not be in class during this time period because they were concerned, like all teachers, about budget cuts and lack of support from the State (I can’t recall how long our teachers were on strike, but I do remember it), and I remember all of the parents supporting them. I’m not sure why teachers aren’t uniting in a strike now, but perhaps it has something to do with the state of the economy.

In May 1970, Sarasota County School Board threatened to close Osprey School, the six-classroom schoolhouse where I attended elementary school. Parents, led by my father, protested. My father, already Vice Chairman of Osprey Chamber of Commerce, formed “Osprey Citizens Committee” and attended every School Board meeting from the moment the Board announced this possibility until the Board backed down. My father rallied parents and teachers, presented the school board with “petitions signed by about 450 Osprey residents.” His petition argued that “closing of the school would halt growth of the area and virtually assure that no school would ever be built or reopened in the community.” It was a valiant, and successful, effort to keep our small neighborhood school open.

At the time, I was in sixth grade and I had siblings in fifth, third, and first grades. The school had been built in 1927, and though there had been updates on the building, each grade level had one room. I still remember the hard-wood floors, the scoop of honey-peanut butter Mrs. Reardon gave us for dessert if we cleaned off our lunch plates, the parent and teacher organized Halloween party that included games like bean-bag tossing and (my favorite) the cake walk, which was held in Mrs. Draggoo’s classroom.

I should point out that there are of course, many factors that enter into a school board’s decision to close schools. In 1970, there was of course, the issue of desegregation. Osprey was an all-white school. This complicated things, but the “Osprey delegation indicated…they would have no objection to Negro children being bussed in”; however, they did not want their children bussed out.

My father’s motives to halt the closing of Osprey School were not pure, and were even tinged with racism. But 1970 wasn’t the first time the Board had threatened to close the school, nor would it be the last. In 1975, the Board again announced the closing of the school, and this time they succeeded, closing at the end of the 1975-1976 school year. In addition to desegregation, Osprey School served only about 145 students with another small school, Laurel School, two miles away serving another 100, and another larger school, Nokomis, about five miles away that could absorb the students from Osprey and Laurel. Fiscally, it was a wise decision.

And the school has continued to serve the community in other ways. For a couple of years, the building was used as a continuing education center for public school teachers, and then leased to the Spanish Point Historical Society, then eventually sold to the Historical Society. The building is still there, serving as the Visitor and Welcome Center for Spanish Point. Last time I visited, I walked through each of the old classrooms, each now serving some type of educational purpose—though no teachers standing in front of their group of students—now updated into gift shops, historical information about the Palmers and Webbs (wealthy land owners), displays of old ships, explanations of burial mounds, and meeting rooms.

Osprey School today has become the welcome center for the Spanish Point Historical Society.

I loved Osprey School. I loved knowing all of the other kids’ parents, knowing each teacher.

With less funding coming from the state, local parents here in Seminole County have realized the only way to keep their neighborhood schools open is by increasing property taxes. Last year, Seminole County residents voted down a property tax increase. This coming fall, I’m expecting it will pass because the parents are eager to do whatever they can to be able to walk their children to school where they know all the teachers.

While there are a few teachers who do less than others, and there are teachers who abuse their students, most teachers deserve much more than the even modest pay raises they’ve been denied in recent years. Every morning I am aware of the teachers who make an attempt at teaching our children. They do this in spite of their pay not keeping up with the cost of living, in spite of larger class sizes, in spite of inadequate supplies and buildings, and some do it in spite of the lack of parental or administrative support, mostly in spite of the lack of State and Federal support rather than with it.

I remember the day in 1997 when Governor Jeb Bush came to “tour” our school. I was teaching tenth grade English. I had forty students in a room with thirty desks. I’d gotten my own desk from “the shed” at the beginning of the school semester. I had no idea what color the carpet was originally because now it was stained with urine, gum, dirt, sweat, and who knows what else. The only markers for the marker board were ones I’d purchased at the office supply store. My students were referred to as “general” students, meaning they were not “honors,” a designation primarily for students whose parents had insisted they be in those types of classes; honors had very little to do with intellectual ability.

Anyway, as I was teaching in that classroom, Bush’s entourage of security, media, and school administration came down the exterior hallway. I knew this because all of the students in my class stopped whatever they were doing and ran to the side windows. They asked me what was going on. “Oh, Governor Bush is touring the school. He wants to see how well the school is doing,” I said.

“Why don’t he come in here?” several of them asked.

“He’s going to the Magnet Program classrooms and the IB classrooms.”

In the IB classrooms there were a maximum of fifteen students; in the Magnet Program classes, twenty. And though all of my classes had at least forty, the ratio of teacher/student at our school was well within the State’s requirements.

“He need to come in here,” my students argued. “We should be the ones showing him what be real.”

When politicians use education as platforms, I can only roll my eyes. They have no idea what happens in most classrooms every day. Like former Governor Bush, they see only the “pretty” parts of the schools. He saw the delightful art in the hallway of the IB building, the eager students, the caring administrators, and the bountiful supplies in the Magnet Program building. I’m sure this confirmed for him the need for the FCAT which began that following spring in 1998. Created to hold schools and particularly teachers accountable for their students’ learning, FCAT hassles have been the reason for many teachers, good teachers, leaving the school system.

For the most part those two hundred forty students I “taught” that year graduated. I watched them walk across the stage. I knew which of them still could not write, could not spell, and could not read a paragraph and comprehend it.

Despite what some politicians think, teachers do know what they’re doing and parents do care a great deal. Sadly, many politicians can’t comprehend what teachers and schools really need—an end to posturing and slashing and a start to genuine and consistent financial and practical support.


A French tarot card

I have a tendency to believe in chance over direct and linear divine intervention. Maybe they are different ways of talking about the same thing.

But just last night I was bemoaning to Bruce how we have ended up where we are socially and politically today, and how I can’t believe that we could arrive at this situation after the sixties, the seventies, and even the eighties and nineties. So much for progress (though I have to admit I was always suspicious of that idea). I wondered aloud if the 9/11 terrorists have, after all, succeeded in their goal in destroying any semblance of shared values in this country and of emboldening the devil of hate.

Bruce and I were talking about the letter sent by Governor Rick Scott to university officials all over the state of Florida requesting—no, demanding—certain “information” about various courses of study. On the surface, like so many things, it looks not unreasonable. But there are two things disturbing about it: first, most departments and other units at state universities have never had a budget or staff to collect this kind of extensive data, which Scott demanded in one month. More disturbing is the fact that Scott’s letter doesn’t just make it clear what he intends; rather, he has assumed that we will all fall in line with his intention, and the mission he intends to force is that of vocational training for our students. I have nothing against job-production, and higher education is key in that effort, but to define it as the main or only mission for universities is scary. And changing the game on faculty and administrators everywhere without even saying that’s what you are doing—just slipping it in—is downright imperialist.

Another one of my tendencies is to careen downhill like a snowball collecting snow. Last night, the horrors of being an educator in Florida these days picked up my more personal dissatisfactions with my work and employment situation. At one point I said to Bruce these exact words: “I never imagined my life would turn out like this.” (I know, big violin.)

In the wee hours of the morning, when my insomnia becomes the provider of quiet reading time, I was therefore extra delighted to find this passage in Pascal Bruckner’s Perpetual Euphoria, which I’m also delighted to still be reading. Unlike so many books about happiness that I read, and so many of the books published now in the U.S., it is actually taking me days and days to read instead of a few hours. It has substance and breadth. I thought I would wait to mention it again until I was finished, but this coincidence (or divine intervention—take your pick) was just too good to pass up.

And chance goes beyond the juxtaposition of last night’s conversation with this morning’s reading. I discovered this book by sheer chance, not by some plan of information-gathering related to the subject of this blog (though I have been doing that). No, I was working on another project, a proposed textbook, and was thinking about Paul Auster in relation to a discussion of memory and memoir. When I looked at my decades-old lesson plans about Auster, I found a quote from the introduction to The Invention of Solitude that I had copied out. It was by Pascal Bruckner, and I wondered who the heck he was since the name was unfamiliar and he’s definitely not one of the literary creative writing insiders in the U.S. So I looked him up, and as chance has it, his book on happiness was just translated and published in English earlier this year. That’s what we call serendipity.

Lost illusions: since the Romantic period, they have been frequently contrasted with the heroic dreams of youth. Life is supposed to follow an inevitable itinerary from hope to disenchantment, a perpetual entropy. However, it is possible to oppose to this commonplace of dashed hopes another model: that of the blessed surprise, illusions rediscovered. The world of dreams, contrary to what is usually said, is poor and mean, whereas reality, as soon as we begin to explore it, virtually suffocates us with its abundance and diversity. “I call spiritual intoxication,” said Ruysbroek, a Flemish mystic of the Renaissance, “the state in which pleasure transcends the possibilities desire had envisaged.” To the principle of anteriority, which judges life in relation to a program, we must oppose the principle of exteriority: the world infinitely surpasses my ideas and expectations, and we have to get beyond them to begin loving it. It is not the world that is disappointing, it is the chimeras that shackle our minds. Answered prayers are dreary: there is something very profound in the wisdom that warns us never to find what we are seeking. “Preserve me from what I want,” keep me from living in the Golden Age, the garden of wishes fulfilled.

There is nothing sadder than a future that resembles what we had imagined. We are disappointed when our wishes coincide with what we are experiencing, whereas it is especially moving to see our expectations diverted by particular incidents. (The literature of happiness is usually a disabused literature: hopes have either been betrayed or, more disturbingly, fulfilled, and desire satisfied, that is, killed.) Pleasure arises more from a project repeatedly thwarted and turned in a different direction than from a realized desire. While boredom is always associated with equilibrium, joyous overflow occurs when the imagination has to yield to the greater marvels of the real: “I had to choose between the hammer and the bell; what I remember now is mainly the sound they made” (Victor Segalen). Every inspiring life is both an achievement and a defeat, that is, a marvelous disappointment when what happens is not what one desired, and one becomes sensitive to everything that makes life opulent, fervent, and captious. The defeat of an illusion always opens the door to miracles.

Florida Governor Rick Scott Takes Aim at Tenure

Margaret Haley, an early supporter of rights for female teachers, including decent pay and job security.

I am a tenured associate professor at one of the largest (though, let me emphasize, not one of the highest ranked) public universities in the U.S. How can I explain why it is that this often makes me want to cry?

Don’t get me wrong. I love my work, and, although I am not an academic superstar, I’ve done reasonably well. In economic times when so many are losing jobs, my job is relatively secure. The work that I do has pleasant and meaningful aspects that I value, in spite of sometimes snake-pit politics and bureaucratic burdens that often make it very difficult to focus on the things that are actually my job.

However, the future of public higher education, and especially in my area of the humanities, is truly in question. Even though more than half of all Americans attend at least some college courses, and 30% over age 25 have a bachelor’s or higher degree, what we do in academia and the value of it is still largely misunderstood by the public. When the governor of the state of Texas can blithely call for higher education reforms that include “treating students as ‘customers,’ judging faculty by how many students they teach and how those students rate them, and de-emphasizing research that doesn’t produce an immediate financial return,” it becomes clear that our future is in the hands of people who either don’t know what they are talking about or harbor a truly vile and anti-intellectual agenda. Or both.

There are many angles on higher ed and its issues, and I hope to be able to sort some of these out in the blog in coming posts. But today I am inspired by yesterday’s article in the Orlando Sentinel that reported on Florida Governor Rick Scott’s agenda for the coming year, in particular his desire to abolish tenure for public university employees. (He’s already done it in K-12 education.)

Tenure is often resented by people outside the college and university system–because they don’t have it, after all, and therefore it’s unfair that anyone does. The largest complaint about tenure by the general public seems to be that it protects lazy and low-quality teachers. The laziness issue I will have to give its own separate post because it is one of the most offensive and false of all these claims. But part of that is the idea that tenure keeps in place bad employees.

This is an absurd claim on many levels. First, to become a tenured professor at any college or university requires years of investment. At numerous points along the way, those who are bad at what they do are drummed out of the system: they can fail to get into a graduate program; they can fail courses, which, unlike in undergrad programs, gets them booted in fairly short order; they can fail to complete language and other degree requirements; they can fail to finish or defend successfully their thesis or dissertation work; they can fail to get a tenure-track job or any job at all; they can work temporary jobs for a number of years, moving from place to place; and they can fail, after six years at a tenure-track job, to get tenure. If the system has not identified and excluded the poor quality work by this point, then something else is wrong with the system, not tenure.

In addition, the public perception of tenure is that it’s virtually impossible to be fired if you have it. That is simply not true. If a university has cause to fire a tenured person, then the university can do so. If a faculty member doesn’t show up for classes or turn in grades, if he or she behaves in unacceptable or unprofessional ways, if a faculty member violates ethics codes–or for numerous other reasons–a faculty member may certainly still be fired. Granted, it’s harder to fire a tenured as opposed to an untenured faculty member and requires a long process of documentation rather than an arbitrary decision by an administrator. Granted, it doesn’t happen very often. But maybe this has more to do with the fact that most tenured professors have already run the gauntlet mentioned above and have spent at least 9 to12 years on probation (in grad school and earning tenure) before becoming tenured than with the fact that it’s too easy for them.

There are many other reasons why tenure is important to the healthy functioning of colleges and universities, but I’m only going to mention one other here today—and that is the traditionally cited protection of faculty with unpopular or controversial ideas, aka academic freedom. Tenure was designed to protect faculty from arbitrary complaints by parents, students, and administrators who otherwise might paralyze their teaching and life-choice options. It’s only been around for about 100 years, and, I might add, it’s the 100 years when someone other than white men of a certain conservative bent could reach for the intellectual life. It prevented, among other things, administrators from firing female faculty members who married or got pregnant.

Many in the right wing these days claim that tenure, however, rather than protecting a diversity of ideas and opinions, now is a screen behind which liberal prerogative is preserved. From what I can see in the articles I’ve read, they don’t cite any real evidence for this except that professors are notoriously liberal. How it is that tenure produces this supposed effect, I’ve no idea, but it is certainly true that tenure prevents conservative politicians from exerting pressure on university administrators to just fire professors whose politics the politicians don’t like. And this is exactly why we need tenure right now.

I feel certain that if some radical right politicians have their way, and if they manage to make arbitrary, without-cause firing of faculty possible, they will create an atmosphere in which faculty will become fearful to speak their minds honestly and in which they will be punished if they rise above their fear.

Frequently, these men who speak out against tenure (they’re usually men) have spent some time in academia themselves, but have since moved on to business or conservative think-tanks for their employment. I don’t have access to the details of these changes in their lives, of course, but one of two things seems to have happened: either a) they didn’t get tenure and were thus excluded from further academic life, or b) they decided that the benefits of an academic career were not enough to offset the relatively low pay-scale and demands of the work. Either way, they are out for the blood of those who have made different choices and had different successes than they have had. Their goal is complete eradication of protections of any sort for faculty and the imposition of non-academic standards for academic work.

If I’m being alarmist, and the goal in abolishing tenure is not to clean house based on a political agenda, then the fact is that abolishing it would likely have very little effect at all. Perhaps some increased costs as faculty constantly seek to move to better positions and universities take on increased supervision, expanded evaluation tasks even for long-term faculty, and constant interviewing for new faculty. Mostly, though, we would keep doing what we do.

However, my fear is acute. It’s bad enough as it is right now. Much university funding already comes from private sources and cooperative efforts with private businesses abound. As it is, that’s often a mutually beneficial thing. But if these people get their way, public higher education will become even more a servant of private business interests, not designed for the public good.

People, private industry has one goal: profit. It and its CEOs do not have your best interest at heart. That is one reason why running universities like businesses is a bad idea.