I got an e-mail yesterday explaining that I’m not getting a raise this summer, again. (We haven’t had a raise of any kind since 2008, and we faculty only get merit increases anyway. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a cost of living increase in my life.) Here’s the boffo list of valuable, money-saving coupons I’m getting in lieu of a raise:
- “The Board of Governors has approved our recommendation that there be no increase in [Baa Ram U.] parking permit fees again next year.”
- “Beginning in the fall, we will be increasing the dependent tuition scholarship from 25% to 50% of resident tuition.”
- “We will be increasing the Employee Study Privilege benefit from 6 to 9 credits per year, starting this summer.”
- “Faculty and staff will now be able to apply their study privilege credits to [Baa Ram U.] Global Campus courses [i.e. online classes], starting this summer.”
- The uni has purchased new space for expanding the campus childcare center and it has adopted a new policy to accomodate breastfeeding mothers. (Funny how this is being touted as a special bonus, isn’t it?)
- Baa Ram U. will offer Zipcar services starting in the fall term to faculty, students, and staff, for a fee.
- The Veterinary Teaching Hospital will offer a 20 percent discount on veterinary services to [Baa Ram U.] employees.
Too bad for folks who don’t have cars, kids, or pets and who already have all the terminal degrees they want–they’re really getting nothing. (Maybe that’s why they’re doing Zipcar this year–is it a sop to those responsible, green, athletic types who don’t have children and already ditched their cars?)
I think that I have remained remarkably cheerful and good-natured through the twin crises of global economic precarity and the continuous political and budgetary attacks on public education at all levels in the U.S.A. I was just discussing the economy with my senior seminar students last week, and I said to them as I have said repeatedly, “I feel very fortunate to be a tenured professor these days.” I haven’t had my salary effectively cut by furloughs, or taken an actual salary cut. And yet–even the Pollyannas among us are growing anxious about these crises being used to justify this as the “new normal.”
Why wasn’t the subject line of this e-mail “Baa Ram U. employees will give each other discounts on their own labor,” because it’s clear that nearly all of this magical list of bargains and benefits are burdens for our own backs? Re-read the highlighted items–that’s all on us employees. (And, can you believe what a crummy tuition benefit we had to begin with? Twenty-five percent? Jeebus. That’s an embarassment, especially considering that our in-state tuition is only $7,000 for 2010-2011. If they’re going to offer an employee discount, let’s push the boat out.)
Oh well: at least they’re not going to charge me more for a parking space when I drive to campus for the privilege of doing more work for no money. Maybe I should take the hints embedded in the list above and enroll in the MBA program. I’m sure no one at Baa Ram U. will object when I resign my tenured position to sell out as a consultant or a banker–after all, as crappy as my stalled-out salary is, they can buy two full-time lecturers with it, and continue the further adjunctification of my department.
Is that my uni’s vision of its future? That all faculty will be at-will adjuncts and lecturers, and they’ll all take classes from each other and pursue endless, meaningless degrees infinitely? Hello, University of Phoenix! It looks like we’re half-way there already.