July 23, 2020

From Gerald R. Lucas

Dark Clouds Ahead covid-19: day 135 | US: GA | info

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Ah, another summer semester come to a close, and the fall semester is looming. This one weighs heavy in the midst of a pandemic that grows worse everyday—record numbers are reported daily. We have a “governor” who is living in a fantasy world built by the right-wing delusions who “elected” him and ’rump in the first place. Autumn just had a friend die from COVID-19; he was her age, seemed to be getting better on the fourteenth day, went to sleep, and never woke up. We already have two-dozen cases associated with the university, and the administrators are just following the orders of the powers-that-be, paying lip service to keeping students, faculty, and staff safe, but refusing to do the one thing they know will accomplish just that: close the campus and go online.

Everyday we do not close the campus will make the eminent disaster worse.

That’s my prediction. I keep getting emails from admins about enrollment numbers—“enrollment health is employment health” one wrote.[1] And so far, the good news is that numbers are up for the fall. I get it,[2] but I think the issue’s gonna be that when you have to close the campus—and we will have to close the campus—this will do more to wreck our enrollment this fall and in subsequent semesters than if we had just planned to be online in the first place. I hate to say it, but the worst is yet to come. I hope I’m wrong.

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For a governor who is so worried about money, Kemp’s decision to open up Georgia too early will have devastating effects for the state. I guess with billionaires getting richer, this might be exactly what’s supposed to happen? We can keep the wealthy doing great and destroy higher education at the same time. Robert Reich: I think Jeff Bezos could (should?) do something for higher education. He should use a small part of his immense wealth to pay off all student debt. Too much? OK, how about all student debt over ten-years-old?[3] Why not? He’d make it all back next week, and I think we’d all find his jolly, laughing face a bit less punchable.



notes

  1. The context of this statement was: count your blessings, folks; you’re lucky to be employed: “In a moment of existential economic crisis--with furloughs and such just narrowly averted within USG this fall. . .” Yes, we averted them this time, but if we continue with our plan to open the campus, we’re not gonna be so lucky in the future, probably the spring 2021.
  2. And I am happy to have my job, and I am lucky to have had no financial hardship up to this point. Also, I’m not being critical of what this admin writes. I can sympathize with the position of the administration. However, the hard stuff is gonna be left on faculty, front-line staff, and students. This is problematic, since we have no say in the matter.
  3. I swear, because the government charges me interest for my education loan, I have paid my $60K off at least 1.5 times by now. That’s more interest than Amazon has probably paid in taxes the last few years.