Talk about your basic destructive nihilism.
Sen. Kevin Bryant offers nothing positive, but simply gives us a Sanfordesque trashing of USC, in his column today in The State.
Go ahead and read it, and tell me where he offers any kind of solution. Show me where he suggests how we might see to it that the university become a better steward of our money. He does not. When he complains that “USC, like much of higher education, sees itself as a sovereign empire,” does he offer a remedy?
No, he does not. He does not, for instance, offer the solution I have offered for 20 years — likely long before Kevin Bryant was thinking about such things — for the fact that our respective universities are, indeed, too autonomous: A state board of regents, answerable to the governor, that would govern the entire system of public higher education.
Or if he has some other idea (which I doubt), he could offer that.
But he doesn’t. Why not? I fear that this is the reason: He’s not sufficiently interested in solutions. What he’s interest in doing, it seems to me, is further eroding the already pathetically feeble public will to support higher education in our state.
As things stand, do you know how much of USC’s operating funds come from state taxes? 9 percent. The state general fund is like the university’s 5th source of funding in order of magnitude. When I was in school, it was closer to 90 percent. So yeah, the university does tend to act rather independently of state government as it seeks to serve our state.
I don’t think it should be that way. I think USC should be clearly a state institution — adequately funded by the state, and held accountable to the state. But I’m not holding my breath, not when our state is run by people like Kevin Bryant.
His column presents no proposals, no arguments, but merely regurgitates what has been reported in news media, only with scornful modifiers added.
His aim, or what I take to be his aim, is best expressed in his trite, hyperbolic conclusion:
The giant sucking sound that you hear is the siphon running from your wallet into the tank at USC. You might want to let your politicians know that enough is enough.
The only point to be gained from this is that he wants us all to be angry. And since he offers no program or solution to address that anger, we can only suppose that said anger is for him an end in itself, as long as you see the university as something that exists purely to waste your money (an impression he creates by ignoring how little of the taxpayers’ money the institution gets), and that you let your lawmakers know that you don’t want them ever spending another dime on that bunch over there.
Never mind that North Carolina has adequately funded its higher education system as an economic development engine (just what the senator despises), leading to the result of having a wealthier and better-educated citizenry. Every word in Sen. Bryant’s column is well designed to make sure that, if there is even a scintilla of desire remaining in the heart of the electorate to invest in public higher system in this state, it gets drowned in the proverbial bathtub.
If he had a different aim, he would offer a solution to the problems he cites. Instead, he urges us to get mad, and be more alienated.