Colleges prepare to sacrifice the queen
in case it slipped our minds amongst the better news of more media coverage, successful organizing, Congress asking for adjunct stories, conferences, and so on… the iceberg is still there and odds do not look good that we will miss it (is it bad luck to change metaphors mid-crash? sorry about that, Bryan) . Guess what? Adjuncts travel in steerage – the SS Higher Education does not have enough lifeboats or life jackets. It’s time to stop worrying about seating arrangements.
Some American campuses are still cutting programs and faculty five years into the Great Recession/some-sort-of-recovery. The most recent examples: twelve Pennsylvania universities. One Minnesota university. One in Washington, D.C. One in Vermont. Adjuncts go, of course, but also tenure-track and tenured faculty. These schools are cutting programs and departments, which means tenure’s protection doesn’t matter as much.
Let’s call this strategy academia sacrifices its queen.* That’s a risky chess move where one player gives up their most powerful piece in order to win the game.
I picked this metaphor not because chess is cool, but because it represents the combination of self-destructive sacrifice and hope for gain that administrations are selecting. They cut some academic programs – their core mission! – to save money and their reputation.
And the thing of it is, the thing…
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