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George Mason University economist Walter E. Williams has said many times over many years that “Nothing opens the closed minds of college administrators better than the sounds of pocketbooks snapping shut,” see examples here, here and here. And now thanks to rise of “campus crybullies,” who have largely been tolerated, if not actually enabled, by spineless and feckless college administrators on many campuses with safe spaces and trigger warning policies, we’re starting to hear that snapping sound become louder and more frequent than ever before.
Exhibit A: The recent New York Times article “College Students Protest, Alumni’s Fondness Fades and Checks Shrink” provides some evidence of the “pocketbook snapping shut” sound growing louder:
Scott MacConnell cherishes the memory of his years at Amherst College, where he discovered his future métier as a theatrical designer. But protests on campus over cultural and racial sensitivities last year soured his feelings. Now Mr. MacConnell, who graduated in 1960, is expressing his discontent through his wallet. In June, he cut the college out of his will. “As an alumnus of the college, I feel that I have been lied to, patronized and basically dismissed as an old, white bigot who is insensitive to the needs and feelings of the current college community,” Mr. MacConnell, 77, wrote in a letter to the college’s alumni fund in December, when he first warned that he was reducing his support to the college to a token $5.
A backlash from alumni is an unexpected aftershock of the campus disruptions of the last academic year. Although fund-raisers are still gauging the extent of the effect on philanthropy, some colleges — particularly small, elite liberal arts institutions — have reported a decline in donations, accompanied by a laundry list of complaints.
Alumni from a range of generations say they are baffled by today’s college culture. Among their laments: Students are too wrapped up in racial and identity politics. They are allowed to take too many frivolous courses. They have repudiated the heroes and traditions of the past by judging them by today’s standards rather than in the context of their times. Fraternities are being unfairly maligned, and men are being demonized by sexual assault investigations. And university administrations have been too meek in addressing protesters whose messages have seemed to fly in the face of free speech.
Scott C. Johnston, who graduated from Yale in 1982, said he was on campus last fall when activists tried to shut down a free speech conference, “because apparently they missed irony class that day.” He recalled the Yale student who was videotaped screaming at a professor, Nicholas Christakis, that he had failed “to create a place of comfort and home” for students in his capacity as the head of a residential college (see two videos below that contain footage of the hysterical “shrieking girl”).
“I don’t think anything has damaged Yale’s brand quite like that,” said Mr. Johnston, a founder of an internet start-up and a former hedge fund manager. “This is not your daddy’s liberalism.” “The worst part,” he continued, “is that campus administrators are wilting before the activists like flowers.”
MP: As Amy Alkon suggested on Twitter, “Free speech-supporting alumni could redirect the money that they would have given to their universities instead to campus free speech defenders like FIRE (Foundation for Individual Rights in Education).”
And alumni might also want to consider the extent to which their donations to their alma maters are helping fuel the “higher education bubble” illustrated in the chart above. There is no other consumer good or service whose price has increased over the last 20 years that even comes close to the soaring cost of college tuition and college textbooks, which have both tripled in price and increased by 200% since 1996. In contrast, overall consumer prices (based on the CPI for all items) have increased only 55% over that same period, which means that college tuition and college textbooks have increased in real terms by about 94% (see formula here) since 1996. Or we could say that after accounting for inflation, the real cost of college and textbooks have nearly doubled in the last 20 years! And what is one of the main reasons that the cost of college has doubled in just 20 years? Professor salaries? Hiring more professors? Increases in instructional spending? Not at all, none of those have contributed much at all to the increased costs of college over time. Rather, it’s the increased number of college administrators and the increased salaries for those educrats that have largely driven up the cost of college and therefore college tuition, i.e. “administrative bloat.”
More and more college administrators get hired at higher and higher salaries, which fuels higher administrative costs (“administrative bloat”) and contributes significantly to higher tuition for students. Then the college development officers appeal to alumni for increased giving to fund the increasing need for student scholarship funding so that students can afford the escalating tuition, much of which goes to support the growing class of educrats and the escalating “administrative bloat.” In addition to their concerns about the growing “crybully activism” that is being tolerated and enabled on college campuses today by wilting educrats, alumni might also want to express discontent through their pocketbooks about the growing “administrative bloat” on college campuses today.
Let’s hope the sound of pocketbooks snapping shut grows louder in the future, and opens the closed minds of college administrators, who are now experiencing another sound: it’s the sound of the legions of chicken broods coming home to roost after years of liberal policies that have led to today’s “crybully culture” on college campuses.
Update/Related: See Amy Alkon’s post “College Alumni Dollars Are Flapping Their Wings, Flying Away From Their Crybully-Coddling Alma Maters,” which features the videos below showing some Yale crybullies/snowflakes getting triggered and shouting hysterically at Yale Professor Nicholas Christakis (sociologist and physician), who resigned in May as head of Silliman College, a Yale residence where he and his wife (a lecturer at Yale) served as social and intellectual mentors to students. Can you blame him? Not after you watch these eye-opening videos.
Update: Amherst and Yale alumni might also be interested to know the ratios at their alma maters of full-time non-instructional staff to full-time instructional staff: At Amherst College it’s nearly 3-to-1 and at Yale University it’s nearly 4-to-1.
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