Capital construction projects bankrupt universities as underwriters rake in millions
Andrew Ross recently wrote a piece for Dissent that is very good. It concerns the capital construction projects that are appearing at colleges and universities all over the country. You can read it below:
Why has the price tag of an American college degree skyrocketed (500 percent in the public sector since 1985) in recent decades? Instructional cost is not one of the reasons. Salaries of full-time faculty have been stagnant for a long time, and the massive conversion of tenure track jobs into contingent positions (more than two-thirds of professors are now off the tenure track) has sliced the teaching payroll at almost all institutions. Aside from the obvious factor of shrinking state inputs, there is common agreement that the addition of many new layers of administrators, combined with rapidly rising salaries at the senior ranks, has played a leading role. Throw in the heavy investment in all kinds of extracurricular amenities, sports facilities above all. And then there is the less tangible factor of buoyant demand for places. Colleges raise their fees because they can—there is no shortage of applications—and also because a higher price connotes more prestige. Even if domestic demand falls off, the shortfall will be more than made up from overseas. Indeed, some analysts estimate that the global market for higher education will grow by 80 percent over the next decade, as the rising middle class in rapidly developing countries pursue a brand name degree for their offspring.
Other factors are less well understood. Expansionary growth is foremost among them, and there are few colleges that have not embarked on ambitious new building campaigns in the last two decades (students joke that UCD is the acronym for “Under Construction Daily”). Contrary to the truism so cherished by developers, growth does not pay for itself, and it is even more costly in cities where land is scarce. Yet many of our urban research universities have been expanding their footprints. This is not simply to meet their needs, but also because city managers are relying on them to do so, often permitting them to behave like quasi-sovereign planning entities in the neighborhoods that host them. Universities, in short, have become a vital part of the urban growth machine.
We tend to speak about urban renewal in the past tense, but the truth is it never really ended—we have just given it different names in the years since its heyday in the 1950s and 1960s. The first phase of urban renewal was accompanied by the building of urban freeways and mega-project construction, which involved the green-lighting of sports stadiums, convention centers, and eventually museums. All of these were super-block complexes, built with vast public subsidies, and often with limited public economic impact. Famously, a Chicago economist once estimated that if the public monies spent on a downtown football stadium were dropped in dollar notes out of a helicopter they would have much more economic benefit.
If you are interested in seeing just how many of the colleges and universities in the United States are building playgounds for the rich while cutting classes take a look at :
In this article, which is four parts, I specifiy exactly what universities are building the playgrounds for the rich we pay for with both inability to access classes and taxes. At Sonoma State University, criminal Sanford Weill, the Wall Street bankster gave $12 million for a music center. Like a diamond studded junk yard dog he has turned the university into his own backyard when he should be in a for-profit prison doing hard time. He had help, of course. The president of the college sits in his lap and assures that proejcts are built not to benefit students, but to benefit bankers and neo-liberalism. Ruben Arminana the president of Sonoma State University has built one and one half million sqaure feet of construction for a school that only has 8,500 students. Yes, 1.5 million square feet.
But he is not alone. He just happened to Occupy Sonoma State. The real issue is financialization of the commons and this four part article, though lengthy, will allow readers to see how bonds, taxpayer monies, and student loans are used to supply the money for these billionare criminals.
The privatization of education has been in the news for some time but the fianancialization of education has often been left out of the news. Why? The millions and millions to be made from using the govedrnment as a collection plate. the philanthro-pirates will tell ou all this is done with endowments but this is a lie. At Sonoma State, where the Green Music Center and Weill Hall cost $147 million, what is never stated is that $47 million was taxpayer monies and the bonds will be in perpetuity. Sonoma State is bankrupt now. It owes, yes are your ready: $300 million dollars to investors.
These are some of the other ´resorts´they call higher Degradation:
University of Houston Campus Recreation and Wellness Center,
Trinity University – Trinity Center,
University of Virginia – Aquatic & Fitness Center,
University of Illinois at Urbana – Champaign – CRCE,
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – ARC,
George Mason University – Aquatic & Fitness Center,
Georgetown University – Athletic & Recreation Facilities Master Plan,
Georgetown University – Multi-Sport Facility,
University of Texas at Brownsville – Health, Kinesiology and Wellness Center, University of Texas at Arlington – Maverick Center,
Shepherd University – Wellness Center,
Delaware State University – Wellness and Aquatic Center,
Virginia Tech – Additional Recreation, Counseling and Clinical Space,
Young Harris College – Wellness Center,
Coastal Carolina University – Student Recreation and Convocation Center,
University of Delaware Carpenter Sports Building,
Georgetown University Yates Field House,
Kennesaw State University Recreation & Wellness Center
None of this has to do with education. This is Disneyland for rapacious and rabid junk yard dogs. and who do you think was hand and foot at the opening night a week ago? Governor Jerry Brown, arm and arm with Sandy Weill, the criminal who broke the back of Glass-Steagal. This, while he is cutting billions from education. This is the shame that is America.
Check it out, and thanks Andy!