The economy rings in, the stadium expansion stops now

Fabrikant in the NYTIMES: Colleges struggle to preserve financial aid.

Lewis in the Times on Tough times strain colleges rich and poor.

Across the country, universities are delaying capital expenditures, as they pull in their belts to deal with the rough economy.  Universities are also faced with cutting financial aid to deserving students. In NJ there is no doubt — none — that state funding for Rutgers will take another, huge hit for the next academic year.  Rutgers — because of its proximity to the imploding financial services sector — will be hit harder than will many other universities.  That is just reality.

So right there is RIP for the stadium expansion plan.  We consider this discussion at an end.  Were the university to continue with the expansion we will perforce conclude that the leadership is derelict (stupid to the brink of criminality) and we will cease any and all support for the institution (although we will work for a change in the leadership).

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13 Responses to The economy rings in, the stadium expansion stops now

  1. Robb says:

    Based on this awful logic you propose, I would infer from your statement above that when the stadium expansion plans continue you’ll be resigning from your position? If you worked for me and “ceased supporting’ me I would stop paying you.

    As an Alumni and a NJ taxpayer I find this RU 1000 website to be a disservice as a whole to the University and State of New Jersey. Rutgers is the “State University of New Jersey” as such you should feel obligated to provide your students and your tax base with a quality services. Yes your tax base, you receive State Funding so you work for us.

    Over the last couple of years the Football team brought a sense of pride to this State. You now see more Rutgers Stickers on cars then I’ve ever seen in the 30 years I lived in this state. Why? Because Greg Schiano took nothing and turned it into something. That is why he is getting paid what he is.

    As for the Academics with all this renewed interest in the University via the success of the football team, I can only sit in astonishment at the academic bodies (This means You) inability to secure funding for what they need. You mean to tell me that you’re not smart enough to drum up any funding? from anyone? I negotiate contracts with the Federal Government for a living and I can assure you if you look you can find money. I don’t think that’s a “criminal act” on the Universities part as you claim. I believe it to be a failure on your inability as a self proclaimed academic to out wit a football coach and athletic director.

    Additionally, in the real world (what you prepare your students for) you don’t achieve business objectives by airing your dirty laundry in public. You sit down at a table and you work out a deal.

    Maybe it’s time for you to move on.

  2. grad student says:

    The word university is derived from the Latin universitas magistrorum et scholarium, roughly meaning “community of teachers and scholars”. (Source: Wikipedia)

    In other words, discussion about university problems needs a different “logic” than corporate business mind. University is not a R&D facility of a company (or a contract negotiator who seeks profit for its businesses) that the “workers” obey the directions and support the “boss”. The university, by all means is dynamic, responsive to the world around it, and driven by its students and faculty according to the priorities set by the university community. So nobody needs to resign from their duties, or being punished by getting fired or not being paid, just because they are opposing some decisions of the administration. That kind of governance has another name: Dictatorship.

    In ideal, universities produce for the mankind and the world. For example, discovery of antibiotics in Rutgers (which is a more relevant issue to be proud of compared to a touchdown) is not something done for NJ residents only. Of course, universities research priorities are set based on its environment. That’s why one would prefer to study in Florida for coastal engineering, agriculture in a midwest university etc. But university is not factory that you pay and get a product. With this brilliant real world logic, one would abolish all social sciences departments.

    One can make a long list of services that a university should provide to its community but providing entertainment (if it is on the list) will be among the last ones. If one seeks for pride from a university, a nobel price should be the reason, not the football team ranking. It is NICE to have a good football team for sure, but think of the priorities of an institution which is declared as a “research university”. So, Even with a business mindset, first things first, right?

    “Paying for bunch of academic bodies that sit all day, read, write and talk about ancient Greek philosophy? Go and get yourself a job! Make money! What? You cannot access some online resources in the library while writing proposals, because football stadium expansion needs money and people has to work to restore the funds instead of restoring library resources? Hey come on guys, what do you expect, don’t you see the stickers all around? You expect NJ residents to leave their weekend fun and pride? Stop whining, there are federal institutions that pour money for philosophy! OK, STOP!! I pay and I want a ranked football team, discussion is OVER!”

    If that is what you call “real world”, thanks, I’ll stick to my “academic bodies”.

  3. Diogenes says:

    Robb — You’re entitled to your thoughts, but you’re not entitled to disgrace Rutgers with what looks like a substandard education.

    You can’t say “I am an alumni of Rutgers.” “I” is a singular pronoun, and “alumni” happens to be a plural noun. So you’ve just said the equivalent of — supposing you were a physician — “I am a doctors.” A librarian might say, under similar circumstances, “I am a librarians.”

    I read recently that in the 21st century there is going to be an easy separation of the sheep from the goats in American higher education. You wait for someone to graduate, and then you listen to see whether he says “I am an alumnus” or “I am an alumni.” If he says the first, he went to a decent school — Harvard, Swarthmore, Columbia, Amherst, all those places where students come out as genuinely educated men and women.

    If he says the second — “I am an alumni” — he went to some third-rate diploma mill, very often a sports factory, and doesn’t have the least idea that he’s advertising the deplorable quality of the “education” he got . He is, in a word, not only semi-literate but clueless.

    The Rutgers booster board is absolutely crawling with people who say “I am an alumni,” or “as an alumni or Rutgers,” or “my wife is also an alumni.” They too don’t have a clue. Sadly enough, there’s not even one person on the board literate enough to tell them that they’re disgracing themselves and the school.

    You say that Rutgers football has produced a lot of “NJ pride.” Mightn’t it be more a matter of pride to both the school and the state if Rutgers were turning out graduates who were able to sound like educated, thoughtful, literate people when they went out into the world? Mightn’t it be better if the thousands of Rutgers alumni who leave their houses very day did so as representatives of a top-flight university? Wouldn’t THAT be better than having a bunch of lower-level professional players wearing the Rutgers name on their jerseys run back and forth between the commercials so that guys watching on TV could go into work on Monday and say “AS A RUTGERS ALUMNI, I’M REAL PROUD OF THAT TEAM “?

    Just asking.

  4. RUSupporter says:

    Holy crap, Diogenes, are you serious with this alumni/alumnus garbage?? Do you have any idea how ridiculous you sounds trying to attribute a very common grammar mistake made by an alumnus (yes! maybe you won’t crucify me too) to the football team? Get off your high horse.

  5. Diogenes says:

    RUSupporter — Ah well, there is a problem here. It’s an unfortunate fact that we live in a society where your level of intelligence and education is judged by the way you speak and write. The people who are decently educated, it’s true, never say anything about this to those who aren’t — why increase their misery? — but they do make judgments about them, and those judgments affect the lives of the people who are speaking ungrammatically, writing illiterate prose, and say things like “grammar mistake” when they mean “grammatical mistake.”

    We do all want Rutgers, don’t we, to be an institution known for turning out bright, thoughtful, well-educated men and women? Articulate and informed young people who will be prepared to make something of themselves in the world? Isn’t that what a university is supposed to be about? And we do want those young men and women to have the best chance they can for success in life, right? Well, they’re simply not going to get it if they go around saying things like “I am an alumni.”

    I’m not trying to attribute anything to “the football team.” But it’s a fact that football — I’m not talking about Ivy League football here, or Div III, but the “sports factory” type of Div IA franchise — does draw to a university vast hordes of semi-literate goons who have, how does one say, a bit of trouble with the English language. They’re violent, they’re obscene, they write and spell like not-very-bright 3rd graders, but they’re not in the least hesitant about screaming bloody murder — with, for instance, expletives like “Holy crap!” — when anyone holds up a mirror and lets them look at their own faces.

    If you doubt for a second that I’m exaggerating, just go visit the Rutgers booster board. There are literally hundreds of people who post there. If you can find more than five who sound like they’ve had a college education, come back and report it. It will mean that things have changed since we last visited that board. But if you only find the usual mob of morons — losers in society, losers in life — you’ll understand (“holy crap!”) what we’re talking about.

    Are you an alumni, by any chance?

  6. RUSupporter says:

    You have to be joking with all of this. First you tear apart people who say “I’m an alumni,” “grammar mistake,” and “holy crap” on an internet forum. This makes you look like an elitist a**hole. Then you claim that a 1A football team attracts the “uneducated” crowd that uses such phrases to Rutgers and therefore causes the school’s standards to plummet… as if people don’t use slang or misuses the word “alumni” at schools with small athletics programs. And to top it all off, you ask me if I’m “an alumni, by any chance.” I’ll let this one speak for itself. To answer your question, no, I’m currently a student at RU.

  7. Robb says:

    Diogenes, I agree my grammar is terrible. I blame the English Department at Rutgers. Lucky for me I predominantly work with numbers so I can mask my ignorance of the English language. I actually am in need of an assistant with good grammar skills you can come work for me when you “cease any and all support for the university”. However, since you seem to lack any reasoning skills I’m not sure I’m going to have much down the road in terms of a promotion for you.

    Now that we’re done being petty, Grad Student, that is a very interesting retort you’ve put together. You say “discussion about university problems needs a different “logic” than corporate business mind.” Really? “According to the Rutgers Revenue Source Document on the University budget web site roughly 19% of the universities revenue comes from Federal, State and Local contracts. (http://budgetfacts.rutgers.edu/). I’ll give you ten to one odds those contracts pertain to R&D type work which is what is in line with the universities mission statement. There is a lot of money in Federal Contracts that Rutgers could procure. I work hand in hand with Syracuse university on the development of a sophisticated radar system. They are not for profit branch of the university. The revenue they generate from this program is distributed across the university decreasing cost and increasing available funding for discretionary funding.

    What I’m trying to say here is that instead of being reactive to the Universities budget allocations you should be proactive in trying to increase the Universities revenue stream so that you don’t have to cut funding for the programs you favor. What I’d like to see you do here, is instead of wasting your time arguing with people like me is you spend more time developing a viable solution to the problem at hand. I believe everyone can get what they want here if you just work together.

  8. Robb says:

    Wow, I wrote that in a hurry, Diogenes proof that for me and correct any mistakes…. 🙂 God for bid my message is convoluted by bad grammar.

  9. grad student says:

    Robb: It is funny to be lectured about projects, revenues etc. because I am PhD student in engineering and my 4 years has passed working on various projects, writing reports, preparing grant proposals and so on, and worked on my thesis on the side as an “academic” work. Most of the time, I felt like I am working in a consultancy company than a university, because I had to do “real” research (things that do not necessarily be cashed immediately) on the side to make my living (stipend, tuition etc). So, I know what you’re talking about by heart and I am doing my part (more than enough) to increase University revenue. And I’ll return to another project report right after writing this. I think your way of accusing people in this blog as black holes that suck money and produce nothing (in monetary terms) is not nice overall, and way off the target at least for my case. Plus, I would expect that not being reactive about the university problems should be pitied, not spending time to discuss about how one can make the university better. And I think it is not a “waste of time” to discuss the university related issues, oppositely, it is a necessity of being a member of the university community. As I said before, this is not a company that the workers follow the directions (“You pay, I do”). In university, the university community shape the research. the culture, the governance.

    Rutgers’s priority is being a “research university” (this is not my claim, the official website tells so), although the university management do not act like so. What I wrote before was nothing against departments trying to find funding opportunities. I was opposing your view of university staff as a worker that obey the directions and raise money. Actually, you also wrote about the use of the revenues to fund the university in overall, so we are somewhat at the same page on that issue. Still I can discuss the effects of external funding dependency on academic freedom (your research is good as its cash value), but I won’t do it. Briefly talking, university community needs to be aware of its mission, and use the R&D revenues more cleverly to maintain funding for its academic research incentives (the main goal!).

    I gave an example from a social science point of view deliberately, to emphasize that not all the departments can run for these funds that you are talking about. Unfortunately, the revenues earned that the money driven research are no way enough to raise enough money for all the departments in the university, especially for state universities. Private universities have more freedom to open/close departments that they think not profitable/productive/necessary, but a state university must provide a more diverse curriculum for many different areas (that brings additional financial burden). Plus, most of the prestigious universities has huge endowments to keep their university running in a decent level, but that is not the case for Rutgers. That’s why every penny in the budget is worth investigating to be spent properly. That includes the money spent on the football stadium too. Let’s say, it will self-finance as declared. What about the time spent for finding funds, preparing projects, assigning people on the tasks for the stadium project? Isn’t that a real waste of time while the world economy is in crisis, the university funds are cut continuously, research resources of the university are crippled? Couldn’t that time be spent on things that is need of urgent attention?

    Last, but not the least, I wish (and I’m sure you too), you could have written that you are pursuing a project on the development of a fancy technology with Rutgers instead of Syracuse. You already might have, or will have projects with Rutgers as well. But, what I (and some people on this blog claim) say is: with inappropriate spending of the university’s already scarce resources, you may not have the chance to do a cutting edge project with Rutgers in future, if you haven’t done so. Because there is a positive feedback between the project revenues and the academic resources of the university. You have adequate academic resources –> you get projects –> you earn prestige –> you get another funding and provide better research resources with the fund–> you complete the project and earn more prestige –> way easier to get a project and with funds in magnitudes higher –> a world known medal/price –> you are up on the top –> things were never that easy! Unfortunately, there is an opposite version of this cycle and I feel like Rutgers is going that way. More, while trying to make its name heard with football team, the process is just accelerated.

    Regarding the pride, I’m sure Syracuse University alumni will be really proud of your project’s outcomes if you become successful. And I’m also sure they won’t remember their loss against Rutgers in football few weeks ago while they are celebrating the success (or maybe worse, they will laugh at it).

  10. Diogenes says:

    RUSupporter — You’re a RUTGERS STUDENT? Oh dear.

    Well, they warned us about this when Rutgers went Div IA. We were specifically told that (1) top NJ students would stop applying to Rutgers, (2) that their places would be taken by substandard applicants who couldn’t get into any good university, and (3) that said subliterates would accuse anyone who suggested that college students ought to write and spell at a college level, was an “elitist.”

    It’s funny, isn’t it, that nobody accuses the boosters or the “new breed” of RU applicants of being “elitists” when they dance around the room because Schiano has talked some 4-star recruit into joining his franchise. Of course not: a football wants the best players it can get, right?

    But if anyone suggests that a university — especially one with Rutgers’ 200-year-old tradition of intellectual commitment — should aim to get the best STUDENTS it can, cries of “elitist” suddenly ring out across the state.

    All this means is, as far as one can tell, is that the “new” Rutgers cares about football and doesn’t care about the university.

    Well, to go by your writing, spelling, and diction, they’ve got the right student body for the it. But for the alumni, it’s getting very hard to be proud of the school.

  11. Jeff says:

    Robb: We all get it. You’re successful. You make money. You have so much money that you can hire people to think for you and you have no need to think for yourself. I’m glad that you made it to this place in life. Would that the rest of us could be so lucky. Instead of telling Diogenes (without any reasonable argument) that he has no logical capacity, you should have hired him to explain logic to you so that you could have said something meaningful.

    This argument is one between two completely different types of people: those who see education as a means to make money and do “real stuff” in the “real world” (whatever that means) versus those who see education as something valuable in and of it self. The former group often has a consumer model of education- they pay for it and so they should get the best product- as if it’s analogous to cereal or shampoo. This is perfectly exemplified in the statement “I agree my grammar is terrible. I blame the English Department at Rutgers.” Why didn’t the Rutgers English department develop a better product? Why didn’t they wrap grammatical capability in a little box with a cute little bow and hand it to you? After all, you paid for it. It’s clearly their fault. The other school of thought- the one which I subscribe to if you couldn’t tell- believes that education is 1) self motivated and 2) an end that has intrinsic value with no “real world” benefits attached to it. Therefore, I would argue that your grammar is terrible because you weren’t motivated enough in college to fix your terrible grammar. I guarantee that if you had sought the aid of your professors in the Rutgers English department, they would have been happy to help. This is the bit about self motivation. You can’t make people learn things they don’t care to learn. I’m experiencing this more and more as a new teacher. The second part about intrinsic value has to do with this whole argument about the purpose of a university. I understand that you subscribe to the business model of a university, Robb. However, I don’t think I know anyone who learns anything valuable for the “real world” in college. I had many friends who were business majors, and I don’t think they learned how to be accountants, financial analysts, investment bankers, etc. at university. I think they learned how to do those things when they started working their jobs. One can however make the most of a college education. Many would suppose that studying Classical Philosophy and reading ancient literature is useless for any “real world” output. But it’s meaningful and those who study these things have something to take with them wherever they go. You can continue to view education as a means to an end in the business world. But there are those of us who seek a little more out of life than this constant obsession with production and output. Some of us want more than money. I’ll stick with the second school.

  12. RUSupporter says:

    Diogenes,

    You’re not an elitist because you want Rutgers University to succeed, as we all do, you’re an elitist because all you’re doing in this very informal setting is correcting people’s grammar.

    The funniest part is that you repeatedly called out my spelling, but I challenge you to find JUST ONE WORD throughout all of my posts that I misspelled. You’ll find that there are none (unless you count where I typed “misuses” instead of “misuse” in my previous post, an obvious type-o which isn’t really a spelling error anyway).

    By the way, in case you’re wondering, I’m in the honors program at Rutgers and I am on academic scholarship that covers full tuition. Sorry my writing doesn’t shine so brightly here in this internet forum where I spend 2 minutes typing away at each post without proofreading.

    One more thing… get a life (outside of correcting meaningless or nonexistent errors).

  13. Robb says:

    Grad Student,

    Well Said, I’m working on trying to get a few things started with Rutgers. You have a firm grasp of what’s going on up there. You’re a dead on about wanting to work more with RU over Syracuse. Maybe I’ll get that chance in the future. Good luck in your Engineering career…what type of Engineering if you don’t mind me asking?

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