Last week, the Oregon State University Faculty Senate approved faculty pay cuts/furloughs in spite of overwhelming faculty disapproval at large.
This gesture fails on many counts: forced redistribution of wealth away from capable economic citizens, selective taxation of targeted citizens (faculty members) to support a public institution, and the abrogation of faculty contracts.
The biggest failure is the lack of thought that went into redundant university organizations.
I attended a faculty meeting Friday afternoon where representatives of WAGE (Women's Advancement and Gender Equity) advertised their mission while twice explaining how they are not redundant to affirmative action or the Women's Center (if you have to explain how you are not redundant, you probably are!)
This led me to research and learn that OSU sponsors at least five different women's groups, at least three gay organizations, at least three African-American groups, and many other similar organizations.
Now, I am not arguing that the missions of these organizations are unimportant. I, in fact, believe they are very important. But do we need multiple organizations pursuing the same mission, or are are we being railroaded because no one wants to say, "We don't need that group; we already have one."
We are so afraid of being labeled "anti-" or "-phobic" that we won't say no to unnecessary bureaucratic expansion.
So, I just took a pay cut in order to pay for dozens of redundant organizations. These organizations have a total budget far in excess of any savings generated by a faculty pay cut. Let's make meaningful cuts rather than shortsighted symbolic gestures.
Robert P. Garrett
Asst. Prof. of Entrepreneurship
Oregon State University