Ned Flanders wrote: green union terrace chair wrote:
Ned Flanders wrote:We "need" to bust into those overstuffed endowments and start throwin' that ka$h around.
That should deal with the issue without putting me on the hook.
Ned, sometimes I really appreciate your opinion and when you can attack an issue with humor wrapped around solid truths.
This is not one of those times.
Thanks, but you see my point. These institutions sit on billions of dollars in some cases and plead poverty. There is also questionable allocation of available resources. If they or their students are suffering financially, they should examine their priorities before asking for more. When driving through the UW and U of M campuses on a regular basis, I'm not feeling the poverty vibe.
That's because you don't know how state budgeting works. You see buildings going up the hell all over--the majority of the funding for those is private, and given with specific earmarks such as "a new dorm named after my dearly departed Schnauzer, Twinklesphincter." The gyms are paid for primarily with student fees which the students themselves vote up or down in a crude simulation of a property tax referendum. You may remember that there was a kerfuffle on the Madison campus recently because the Athletic Department was felt (by the Teaching Assistants Association) to be shirking on its own responsibilities to the larger campus, spending millions for tutoring facilities for a handful of varsity athletes without serious debate while nickle-and-dimeing general student facilities. Labs (such as WID, the new Genetic Engineering building, etc.) are paid for with a mix of private donations, industry donations, and federal grants.
On the other hand, the humanities-type programs that you so dismissively labeled as "lesbian" are actually run on a shoestring. Witness the fact that the desired performing arts building is a grass rectangle, and will remain so for the foreseeable future. There is no potential source for funding for that building other than private donations, and musicians and dancers are not exactly rolling in the dough. In terms of instructional cost, again the humanities are very very cheap to pay for--so called "chalk and talk" classes with minimal needs for infrastructure and relatively low instructional salaries. They actually subsidize departments such as Chemistry, a lab class for which costs more per seat than a given student's tuition for that class.
Faculty and instructional salaries primarily come out of the state taxbase, athough at the UW millions of dollars in specific kinds of instructional salaries (foreign languages, for one) come from the US Dept. of Education and, as such, are subject to arbitrary cuts by both Congress and the White House. USED Title VI, which funds almost all non-European languages on the Madison campus, was arbitrarily cut nearly 50% a few years ago--by the White House, incidentally--and will not return to previous levels. Among the languages funded by Title VI: Arabic, Peshto, Ukrainian, Persian, Korean, all South Asian languages, most Southeast Asian languages....
Endowments for faculty salaries, by the rules set by the State and the UW Foundation, have to cover the full cost + benefits of the faculty salary without eating the principal, because endowments aren't sitting somewhere--they are invested. This didn't used to be the case, but with state budget cuts to instructional salaries the last few years, the university can't commit to filling in a contracted salary if an endowment runs out. Do you understand how much money we are talking about? The Foundation only allows an absolute maximum of 8% of an endowment to be used in a given year. Suppose a faculty salary of $60,000 a year plus roughly 40% fringe for a total of $84,000. To provide that amount using no more than 8% of an endowment requires a minimum endowment of a bit more than $1 million. And that assumes that the market is doing well so that the principal is actually growing. The Foundation prefers a hefty pad so that, in bad years, the salary + fringe can continue to be paid without seriously damaging the principal. They like to see an endowment, then, of a good $2-2.5 million. For one faculty line.
This is what you don't see when you drive by campus.