I swear I just saw a tumbleweed blow by my door.
The front office is locked, there’s a sign that says it’s no longer staffed. It’s a euphemism for, “Here is what layoffs look like. Hear the echo?”
The classroom across the hallway sits unused. We need the space, but one of these days they’ll start demolishing it to construct administrative offices. I have no idea who will be in this space, but I do know that offices are more important than classrooms here. Administration is more important than education. Offices trump students.
There are fifty-one students in my “seminar.” More want to enroll. I’d say no, but they have nowhere else to go. Other classes are filled or cancelled. I’m told that I was “lucky” to get a classroom. Not deserving, since I teach here. Not expected, since students paid tuition to take classes. But “lucky.” Hurrah, I won the classroom lottery. The winning number is 5-7 p.m. Colleagues who want to teach before the dinner hour or after breakfast time, I’m told, have not had my good fortune.
Our student assistant has no more work-study money. We don’t know if we can pay her. It doesn’t matter much, since there’s no money to fix the photocopier, which now makes an ominous grinding sound and spews grey matter over every sheet it spits out.
Tuition has risen, again. Faculty are “furloughed” (but not on teaching days, in other words, faculty have received a pay cut). Staff are being laid off. Those lucky enough to keep their jobs are doing the work of two or three. Our big-A Administration thinks the answer is to get more international students, who have to pay four times the amount of tuition as California students do.
There is no money to help students with weak English skills. Apparently, the international students we will court already have perfect English.
This is what public higher education in California looks like right now. Welcome to the future.
One laid-off friend has discovered that antidepressants really do help.
I prefer martinis.