Thursday, January 31, 2008

The State of our Statements Is, ummm, Strong

... if by strong you mean - in a brilliant Orwellian twist - weak.

Today the president of my esteemed university delivered his State of the University address, proclaiming some great news:
"I am very happy to report to you today that the state of our university is strong."


If by fiscally strong, you mean that we haven't yet heard what academic programs will be slashed to stanch the hemorrhaging budget.

If by academically strong, you mean that the university's leadership has promised that faculty salaries will rise to match our peer institutions' - but not delivered on this - and some of our brightest professors are being lured away by competitive salaries elsewhere.

If by athletically strong, you that mean our handsomely paid football coach hasn't been busted for DUI since the end of 2005.

If by ethically strong, you mean that administrators' awkward efforts to spin the publicity around a plagiarism case have now spawned civil litigation.

If by equitably strong, you mean that adjunct instructors with Ph.D.s earn $5000 in gross pay over three months with no access to health insurance for teaching two courses per quarter (a half-time position), numerous janitors have been laid off, and administrators continue to receive handsome annual raises.

If by democratically strong, you mean that the provost has not signed a single resolution sent to her by the Faculty Senate since the middle of spring 2007.

Say, this strength meme really rocks. All the embattled autocrats are grooving on it! I haven't heard if Putin has picked up on it yet, but it's been a constant drumbeat in Dubya's State of the Union addresses since 2002, as the Daily Show found out. (The player may be very slow to load, sorry 'bout that.)

In that Orwellian vein, I could sure use a limp shot of weak whiskey.

Image of OU President Roderick McDavis from his official university bio.

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