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LETS MAKE UW AN ENDOWMENT FUNDED PUBLIC UNIVERSITY

!!1The UW AAUP (below) is advocating  “a Fully-Funded, Democratically Run UW.”  This seems to me to be a very poorly thought out idea. 

Here is my alternative.


  • Of  course most liberals believe that our state should fully support the costs fo all higher education.
  • Of course we. as a community of faculty, believe in democracy.The problemisthe juxtaposition of “fully funded” with  “democracy”  in a  post Citizens United era.   If the University is fully dependent on  funds  allocated annually by a legislature, it is likely that the university will be dominated by exactly the corporate and other interest groups that fund politicians.  That may pass as democracy but imagineJamesImhoffe refusing to fund climate research!  Not to pick on a Republican, imagine if Olympia  got involved with a faculty decisiontoimplement  a core curriculum.tkat included Howard Zinn and Angela Davis
     
    There is a radical alternative.  ..privatizing the University but doing so by creating an endowment that would make the University of Washington independent of state funding.  A non profit, fully endowed University would still serve the children of this state but do so in a more stable fashion less liable to the oversight of the radical world of politics.
     

    This idea of a publically owned but endowed institution may seem outlandish but in effect most of the country’s elite “private” schools are already public institutions.  For example, Harvard, with a 40 billion dollar endowment, now provides tuition free education to most of its students.  It is CHEAPER to get a BA at The College than it is to get the same degree from the UW! I suspect that the large endowment at Texas 

    I  suspect that Michael Young left the UW to became president of Texas A&M University less for the salary and more because the Texas School has a very large endowment.

     
    One practical objection to such a plan would be the idea that creating such an endowment is impossible.  I am not sure this is correct.    The effective current value (the amount needed in an endowment fund that would replace the annual budget) is certainly in the tens of billions.  Investing in such an endowment over a period of a decade would free the state of the need to provide those annual funds,  This new UW would only need to go to the state for new initiatives, like the effort underway now at WSU to create a medical school.  Other costs would come,  just as they do at the elite private schools, out of endowment and tuition.  The endowment could stipulate that tuition would be low or free.

    Such an effort would stabilize funding and might also also make the job of President of the Univesrity attractive enough that we could stop hiring itinerant academics as we have done for the last several decades.  Consider the burden on our next President (or Anna Mari) of the 
    current fund raising effort of the UW.  Our goal  is going after $5 billion. This will all come from private sources, exactly the sort of corporate sources the AAUP proposal fears.  Is there anyone at the AAUP who feels Nike, the Koch brothers or Saudi Arabia  do not get their money’s worth by donating to elite schools?

    THE AAUP PROPOSAL

On Fri, May 15, 2015 at 9:21 AM, Ann M. Mescher <mescher@uw.edu> wrote:

Many thanks Rob and congratulations for delivering this powerful and timely message to the Board of Regents!

Ann Mescher
Associate Professor of Mechanical Engineering

University of Washington

Seattle, WA  98195-2600
(206) 616-8517

AAUP ICON thumbOn Fri, May 15, 2015 at 9:04 AM, Robert Wood <uwaaup@u.washington.edu> wrote:

On behalf of the AAUP-UW Chapter, Rob Wood delivered the statement (below) on the corporatization of the UW at the Board of Regents meeting.

Join AAUP-UW in supporting the Campaign for a Fully-Funded, Democratically Run UW.

This was one of a total of nine public comments presented to the Regents at their May 14th meeting. Other public comments were all from students and included:

  • A statement from Alex Lenferna from Divest UW, who won a significant victory yesterday in persuading the Regents to take an important symbolic step in divesting from coal stocks.  
  • A student comment on the increasing problem of unaffordability of student housing. Are there ways in which the UW and also its employees could invest in new affordable housing developments in the region?
  • Six students from the Reclaim-UW coalition stating their demands for a more democratic and equitable UW, which include more openness in leadership and budgets; a racial equity fund of $1M to fund minority faculty and students; fair pay for practicums in Social Work, where currently students pay to work; restoration of UW custodian positions eliminated since 2008; affordable and accessible childcare for UW students, staff and faculty; a call for a tuition freeze not only for resident undergrads but for graduate programs and out of state students: graduate program tuition increases are expected to be in the range 3-10% per year over the next few years.

Shared Governance News: On the Presidential Search, it appears that only one of the Faculty Senate recommendations for membership on the search advisory committee was accepted. Despite this, there are six faculty members (and five students) on the committee. 

AAUP-UW Statement to Regents on the corporatization of the UW

The bedrock idea of higher education as a public good that serves to provide knowledge and education to the state’s citizens is under great threat. The state revenue crisis, another departed UW president, and a budget model that devalues academic quality, is leading the University of Washington to act more like a private corporation than a flagship public university.  The UW needs leadership who will prioritize instruction and full funding for education over their personal or corporate interests, and we need a democratic process to find these leaders.

  • State funding for UW collapsed by 45% from 2008-2012 and has only recently started to recover.
  • Meanwhile, undergraduate tuition has skyrocketed, rising by $4,000 between 2009 -2012. Half of UW students graduate with student debt.
  • As a result, the university has become dramatically more corporatized over this period, has solicited record amounts of corporate donations, has expanded corporate partnerships dramatically, and taken out billions of dollars in bond debt to drive up student demand.
  • Former Presidents Emmert and Young, and many former and current regents, have been some of the strongest voices arguing for the corporatization of our university. In true corporate fashion, both Emmert and Young left for better paying jobs.
  • Four Regents are up for re-appointment by September of 2016.  Many are closely linked to employers who have fought against creating new sustainable revenue for higher education, either via them lobbying for huge tax breaks for themselves, or directly fighting against sustainable, progressive revenue for education.  The Regents have also been criticized extensively by UW stakeholders and the media for breaking state rules 24 times to meet behind closed doors.
  • We need an open and inclusive process to select the next UW President, who will rally the UW community in defense of its proud history as a public university.  This includes genuine input from faculty, students and staff, rather than simply soliciting opinions.  
  • Moreover, we need an open and inclusive process for appointing UW Regents who fully support the interests of the University, and are not compromised by their links to huge corporations.  Those seeking re-appointments should re-affirm their commitment to higher education by signing our petition on corporatization, fighting for new revenue, and pushing your employers to do the same.
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American Association of University Professors - UW Chapter

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