The Fall Quarter “No Duh!” Award – in the category of “It’s About Fucking Time” – goes to State Assemblymember Jenny Oropeza (D-55th District) for her brilliant public realization that the UC system is a throbbing, hairy, sucking, 70-pound testicular tumor.
This Fall, Oropeza recommended that the State Audit Bureau do a thorough physical on the Testicular Cancer of California, saying meekly, “We want to ensure that the University’s priorities are in the right place – on educating students.” Then Oropeza’s spokesperson Beverly Hunter said it a little better: “We think the public will be surprised to see how much money is spent on administration instead of instruction.”
No, Hunter, a properly done audit – fully exploring the puss-filled nether regions and heinous colon polyps of the UC Tumor – would make the simple masses lose all bowel control in disgust. If and when the theory-less public sees evidence of the revolting, sycophantic, wasteful UC Tumor in action, it would not hesitate to pull the plug on the whole notion of mass higher education and toss it into the nearest incinerator.
Part of the blame lies with a schizophrenic student body that turns over faster and faster as the UC Tumor demands more cash-blood flow while delivering less services. Academic fees across the country continue to bloat at a rate that dwarfs inflation, and kids go to school for four years, five years tops, because they can’t afford much more. The student body has no memory of cheaper college days before UCen lock-in fees and jacuzzi bonds, and we schizophrenically acquiesce to fee hike after fee hike, because, “Shit, man. I don’t care – I won’t be around to pay the higher fees.”
Lining up all the UC schools like sorostitutes and circling their fleshy tumors will cost the State Audit Bureau 3,000 hours and more than $200,000. Despite the endeavor, it is overly optimistic to say things won’t change for the better after the accountants get done. Even if the State Audit Bureau does a world-class job and leaves no bean uncounted, it runs up against the obvious question in auditing universities and other nonprofits: “Are your services worth the cost? Are these kids getting educated? Are they getting their money’s worth as the UC Tumor grows a luscious, useless tit of a RecCen and an extra pair of jurisdictional teeth?”
It’s a good question. Are we getting educated? It depends. If the prime lesson is don’t confuse a teacher with a tumor – then yes, run me off another one of those newfangled degrees. If, however, the essay question is about rationalizing mass hire education and its accompanying bureaucratic ball cancer, happily fail me and send the report card two weeks late.
If Daily Friday editor David Downs were a Glade plug-in scent, he’d be Piss and Vinegar Summer Bouquet. His columns run every Wednesday.