If you haven’t noticed, over the past 40 years, since the Uranus/Pluto conjunction (1965-1969) fired up a rebellion, the slow insidious corporatization of the university has mirrored the same in society. In every college in the country now, administrators outnumber faculty. And of those faculty, as of 2007, 70% of them were adjuncts and other contingent employees, scrambling from one poorly paid part-time gig to another.
Instead of speaking truth to power they have more often become servants of power. The consequences for academe have been catastrophic for the institution and its mission, for the general public, and for the wellbeing of democracy. If the university fails to perform its functions to teach students to think critically and to serve as the conscience of society, what other institution in American society will assume these responsibilities?
. . .
Through a combination of government contracts, corporate and foundation funds, joint projects involving university and corporate researchers, and wealthy individual donors, universities (especially research universities), intellectuals, scholars and researchers have been seamlessly integrated into the system…
My friend Mark just alerted me to a story from Alberta, Canada, where four tenured professors have banded together to apply for the lucrative President’s job:
Of course, had they been contingent adjuncts, they could not have pulled this stunt without losing their jobs. But not to worry. Once these professors retire, the university will hire adjuncts to replace them.
However, student debt is now greater than credit card debt and auto debt, second only to mortgage debt. Moreover, while delinquency rates for all other types of debt are falling, they are rising for student loan debt.
Unlike other forms of debt, student loan debt cannot be forgiven through bankruptcy. Does this put a damper on Uranus square Pluto (2012-2015) rebellion now? You betcha. And/or, it drives the problem deeper, so that the resolution will also have to come at a deeper level.
I’m no economist, but I can see the writing on the University, Inc. wall. It may look like graffitti, but it’s very hard to rub off.