A brief story from Capitol Fax on the governor's "solution" to the higher education crisis. Rich Miller's link back there via the lovely phrase squeeze the beast gives further help on what passes for a positive agenda for public universities among the state GOP leadership. It's basically the same garbage I tried to refute in this post about the Illinois Policy Institute report excerpted in the DE the other day.
One little point here for my friend Tony Williams, who may be the only one reading this in any event: calls to cut administrative costs may be justified in their own terms but also play into the hands of the GOP. If we cut every unnecessary deanlet, trimmed every bloated administrative salary, and eliminated every unnecessary layer of bureaucracy, the savings would be a pittance compared to the savage cuts the governor is proposing—much less the 100% cut he's imposed this year. So I'm starting to think that our administration's defensiveness on this issue may not only be self-interested (though it certainly is that) but perhaps also smart politics on behalf of public education.
Whatever Rauner's precise intentions may be (I'm not in the intentions business), the effect of his actions will either be the destruction of public universities as public institutions (in the best case scenario, should we somehow survive on tuition money) or complete destruction of them. Probably some of both: some regionals, perhaps including SIUC, go under, while the others survive as de facto private universities. "Underpresented" populations will graduate to unrepresented populations; first-generation college students will be last-generation college students.
Any interest in reforming public universities pales in comparison with this basic truth. They are privatizing us, and they don't care if they have to put half of us out of business to do so.