Saturday, December 3, 2011

A Hard Time

This is a difficult time to be a Californian. The great universities of the state are imploding. Yesterday I spoke with a former professor who told me that the French department had closed, lecture series and chairs had been eliminated, and the whole place was generally folding.
Since we came here in 1980, I remember when the University was much smaller, and it would not seem so bad to me should it return to those earlier days, since there is always the chance it could wait for better days and unfold again, like a lungfish cocooned in mud to await the rains. But I am not sure it is that benign, this diminishing, that impermanent.

8 comments:

liz said...

sad story, absolutely beautiful turn of phrase Robbi. humans and their institutions, the graceless adapters?

Robbi said...

Which phrase, Liz? Yes, it's sad. Richard is lucky to be retiring now. There isn't going to be a professional writing center next year, I fear, or perhaps thereafter.

liz said...

your descriptive metaphor of the lungfish laying low awaiting the rains.
my MBA cohort always bemoaned how surplus at fiscal year end in government budgets created a smorgasbord spending spree to justify and inflate it for the next year rather than creating a set aside for lean times or impending disaster
as we are facing now.

Robbi said...

Yes, that never made any sense to me either.

marly youmans said...

The information on California's top-heavy administrations and pensions on the web is pretty startling. My feeling is that all institutions tend to toward destruction because eventually the administration believes that they are the important ones who do the essential work--and thus begin feathering their nests and adding vice-presidents and buying allies. They forget who teaches or takes care of patients or whatever the central activity is. Wisdom curbs that; if not, doom will arrive eventually.

It's not restricted to California, that tendency. But the sad results show pretty clearly there.

Robbi said...

All too true. The administrators are giving themselves a raise, but they don't realize that soon they will be administering nothing. They remind me of tapeworms that kill off the creature they are sapping.

marly youmans said...

Mmm. It is a struggle against their tendencies everywhere. The nature of the adminbeast.

Robbi said...

Yes, perfect. The adminibeast.