Thursday, May 8, 2008

notes from a plea to Machen

Today I attended and sat horrified as Bernie Machen justified his arbitrary degree eliminations to the Senate Steering Committee.  Go figure, much like our federal government there is a system of checks and balances put into place to ensure that no one entity (faculty, administration, board of trustees) has power to wield in an abusive fashion.  Bernie said point blank that he had by-passed the system of getting approval from the departments, the colleges, or the senate committee itself.  I listened as person after person told Machen how his decision to cut Philosophy Ph.D.  will deeply damage the reputation of the university as a whole and tarnish the national and international views of the university.  How cutting Ph.D programs in general was an awful idea, especially the ones designated to be eliminated which had been around for 40+ years. They went on to tell about how highly ranked each department he was fucking with was on the national level... these arguments came from all nine present committee members ranging from departments all over the university, except Rick Yost.  Yost acted as Machen's monkey and was outright rude to the audience and other committee members.  Carol Murphy kicked ass and eloquently made her points receiving a round of applause each time she spoke.  She spoke up and asked if these program eliminations could be reconsidered.  Machen sat begrudgingly, clearly not listening or taking what was being said into consideration.  Machen simply repeated that "the money had to come from somewhere".  When asked why specific programs were being not just suspended but eliminated, again the answer was "the money had to come from somewhere".  Machen did welcome evidence for keeping particular faculty and programs to be presented to him.  However, that information couldn't be presented until the next Senate meeting next week, which would be after his meeting with the Board of Trustees to approve the new budget.  Pretty much making it null and void.  It was also brought up why institutes, such as the water institution were getting funding cuts, when a stipulation of their creations was that they would be free standing and not receive any portion of the budget.  What the FUCK!  How could this have happened?  How do you just forget that something was to remain funded by federal grants only!?  And why is this secondary program made up of a coalition of people holding various positions throughout the university being given extra funding when we're slashing Ph.D. programs?!  Outrageous!  

I had to leave 20 minutes early when the floor was opened to faculty members to ask questions and voice their comments.  I wanted to stay and get my two cents in but, undergraduates were not going to be permitted to speak.  I knew Yost wouldn't let it get that far.  I just couldn't sit there any longer as Machen ignored and down right refused to listen to the people his decisions were directly effecting.  A professor from Political Science asked, "Bernie?  Bernie?  Are you even listening?"  To which he responded "I didn't hear the question."  Translation:  I've made my decisions.  I don't care what you or anyone else has to say.  I'm cutting these programs because I want to.  I realized then that the university operates as a microcosm of our nation.  Much like President Bush, President Machen doesn't care about anyone but himself and his own personal interests.  I sat in a bathroom and cried for all the people that would be effected by this goddamnedmotherfuckingpieceofshitexcuseforahumanbeing, and wondered why it seemed only fucktards were in positions of power.  I also wondered how they got there, and how we as a populous have been deluded for so long.

Overall, judging from the discussion I'd say if any program as the potential for being saved the Philosophy Ph.D. and French Ph.D  programs have a pretty good shot.  That said, I think the entire meeting demonstrated the hopeless of the situation and laid out UF's destination to go down the shitter.

Today, it's not so great to be a Florida Gator.  We're watching the "Foundations of the Gator Nation" crumble and burn. 

There is a slight glimer of hope.  The budget posted online is not the finalized one.  There is still a snowballs chance in hell that something could be changed before being submitted to the Board of Trustees next week.

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