The economy rings in, the stadium expansion stops now

November 11, 2008

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).

A Grad Student’s Lament

November 11, 2008

A guest blog:

“I am an underpaid international PhD student in one of the engineering departments from which I will graduate (hopefully) soon. Although I said it as if it is important, I don’t give that much damn about being “underpaid” and I don’t ask for half of football coach’s salary to be divided equally among all GA/TA’s (but man, that would be a relief!) or any other actions that will reduce the money spent on sports. My only concern is my research, variety and richness of resources that I can access. I don’t even ask for a reasonable office with windows so that I will know it is raining before I go out from the building, or proper air conditioning that will not make me sick because of extreme high temperatures in winter, or icy cold deep freezer environment in summer that cannot be adjusted due to the age and technology of the equipment. My desk and my computer is enough. In brief, I am very modest and expecting the least from my university.

My only concerns are slight increase in university rankings and academic reputation of the school so that I may be hired by universities that I have heard the names before. If that does not happen, that’s still fine, because reputation is not something that you can buy from and related to what I (and the others in the university) produce as well. At the end, companies will not hire according to the football team’s ranking but the academic reputation, so I have to do my marginal part to reach the level, so that people coming Rutgers for the new stadium can also have better chances when they graduate.

But to do what I ought to do, AT LEAST, I would like to be able to download academic papers from Rutgers Libraries online directly, instead of trying to catch my friends from other universities (no need to mention names, their football team is not even ranked) online at various IM tools to ask for journals that Rutgers used to have access, but do not have anymore.

I was complaining until very recently. However, solution is very simple, of course, thanks to our university administration for showing the way: WE HAVE THE HARD COPY VERSIONS AVAILABLE AT THE LIBRARIES!! How lazy I am… I want to download a paper in few seconds and understand whether it is what I am looking for and continue searching for more. Hey! I can do the same by going to a library, spend hours to go over the journals and papers trying to locate what I really need.

For only couple of hours more, what the hell, right? Couple of hours more so that our university administration can spend more hours to find out more funding opportunities for the stadium (I am sure it will finance itself, no doubts!), instead of spending their precious time to find some funds to provide access to online resources (at least recovering the ones that are cut) so that a lazy grad student will save approximately 1-2 days per week. We are a research university, so we must research it by all means, with all pains, walking in between the aisles, hoping on&off buses to reach to the sources, get wet under the rain… so that university will fulfill its mission, right?

I really pity myself for my lazy nature, which I happen to understand lately, and I want everybody reading this blog to support our university administration showing their academic excellence priority in a crystal clear fashion, working hard to find funding for the stadium and giving so much to make our university’s name known “worldwide” with its football team, so that everybody in the nation will distinguish the university Rutgers and the cartoon Rugrats without a moment of hesitation.

As clearly stated in the Rutgers website, Rutgers is “one of the nation’s leading public research universities”. Read it again and think once more: Even without the proper academic resources! I cannot even think of how our reputation will be after the stadium is completed and our football team has 4 wins in a row. That is beyond my imagination…”


November 10, 2008

Where were the students Saturday? is the question asked by Matthew Stein in today’s Daily Targum.

And I want to know why they are building a bigger stadium if the students can’t be bothered to fill the seats they already have.

“College Sports Has A Spending Problem”

November 2, 2008

That’s from the Knight Commission, which reports: “It’s clear that college sports has a spending problem that must be addressed,” said William E. Kirwan, Knight Commission co-chairman and chancellor of the University System of Maryland.  “In the aggregate, athletics spending continues to escalate while instructional spending has remained stagnant and has even decreased at many institutions.  The current economic climate and the needs of our universities require a change in this imbalance.”

And pretty much simultaneously, Big Bobby Mulcahy’s gang of money wasters in the Rutgers Athletic Dept. announced five new hires.  What is so shocking — disgusting — is that simultaneous with real decreases in spending on academics at Rutgers, spending on sports is skyrocketing.  And all those new expenditures are in the red because Rutgers has an annual loss on sports over $10 million, possibly much over.  (The University still declines to provide meaningful financial reports for the major money losers, that is, football and men’s basketball.)

Meantime, signs mount that NJ voters are sick of the state’s indebtedness (as in the $100+ million slated to be poured into the wasteful, extravagant football stadium expansion).  Per Bloomberg News`The state is seen as being overextended in its debt,” said Joseph Seneca, an economics professor at Rutgers University’s Edward J. Bloustein School of Planning and Public Policy in New Brunswick, New Jersey. …New Jersey, the 11th-largest U.S. state by population, has the third-biggest debt load relative to personal income, or $32 billion. The amount has tripled in a decade as governors sold bonds to help balance budgets and avoid tax increases. 

Consider that the unofficial RIP for the stadium expansion, particularly as experts warn that the NJ economic realities will only worsen next year.  

The only real question is why the BoG has not officially pulled the plug on the stadium expansion — and other than that the BoG is dominated by cretinous jocksniffers, we don’t have an answer.