OU+AAUP has long argued that our upper administrators and trustees need to recommit themselves to our core mission: education. Athletics – while a worthy part of college life – should not be immune to cuts while academic units have been told to plan for 10% smaller budgets, maybe worse.
At the last Faculty Senate meeting, senators were told that health insurance costs will be shifted onto employees to the tune of $2.5 million per annum. Severance incentives will cut deeply into our faculty and other staff, impairing our ability to offer our students an excellent education. When asked how we can maintain the quality of education, the provost told faculty senators: Quality is up to you. Yet Athletics is merely being asked to set a 3.5% higher target for external fundraising. (We’d link directly to the provost’s plan, but it’s behind a password-protected firewall. OU employees and students can find it here under Deficit Reduction Plan, February 16, 2011.)
The PBS news magazine, Need to Know, recently visited Ohio University to report on how athletic expenditures are squeezing the academic budget at large public universities. To be sure, this is a national trend. To be sure, OU overspends on other areas – such as high-level, corporate-style administration and its private plane – not just on athletics. Still, this is a sobering look at how our university’s priorities are skewed. (Don’t miss the comments of long-time OU+AAUP member John Gilliom and – nearly at the end – the analysis of David Ridpath, whose research on the athletics arms race helped draw PBS to our campus in the first place.)Vodpod videos no longer available.