The facultyosphere has been buzzing recently about this YouTube video of a young prof’s public comment at a meeting of the University of Minnesota board of regents. Just three minutes long, the clip presents an powerful case against the budget cuts that have been sweeping the UM system — and the nation.
It should be said that Eva Von Dassow, a professor of Classical and Near Eastern Studies, has a somewhat theatrical delivery. She goes in for language a little more flowery than you’ll see at most student protests — “financial stringency leaves undiminished the numbers of vice presidents, not to mention the salaries of top coaches” is a representative passage, and the words “etiolated” and “verbigeration” make appearances in her speech.
But her arguments are impassioned, informed, and convincing. “The present financial crisis” is, she says, being “deployed … as a tool for starving certain parts of the university in order to feed others.”
What we’re facing in American higher education today is not merely a retrenchment but a restructuring. Von Dassow lays out the facts of that restructuring cogently, and with an admirable focus on the undergraduate experience.
Her speech is well worth a listen.