Tuesday, March 08, 2011
Meanwhile, In Las Vegas . . .
UNLV's President has released his own budget recommendations. These include, but are by no means limited to, the loss of twelve departments, thirty-three degree programs, and 120 faculty positions (some tenured). There's lots more, but I'll let you read the list for yourself.
The mood at UNR today was somber, as you'd expect. I was careful to be good to myself: I swam for forty-five minutes this afternoon, practiced the viola for forty-five minutes this evening, and ate a square of dark chocolate after dinner. It's very important to find things to enjoy right now.
And, hey, it's Mardi Gras! Talking on the phone with my sister -- who's embroiled in her own very grim job woes in the Philadelphia public-school system, and who says higher ed in Pennsylvania's being gutted too -- I commented, "Yeah, tomorrow's Ash Wednesday. Nevada's giving up education for Lent." Liz usually finds church references annoying, but she chortled at that one.
If only the cuts were slated to last a mere forty days.
Today I talked to my friend Katharine in the music department. She's trying to figure out some way to set up a UNR-only version of Craig's List, internal to the university, so that faculty who, say, have extra rooms to lend or rent in their houses can share that info with other faculty who may need to find inexpensive housing. I think that's a great idea; one of the problems right now is that faculty who aren't currently threatened are feeling a certain level of survivor's guilt, and also simply don't know what to say to their less fortunate colleagues, who feel even more isolated as a result. So everybody's miserable, and anything that anyone can do to restore helpful, civil communication will be invaluable. (I spent an evening last year being guilt-tripped by someone who'd been laid off in the first round of cuts. Although my heart ached for this person, I didn't -- and don't -- agree with the premise that I should quit my own job in solidarity. That's not going to restore anyone else's position, unfortunately. A more focused discussion of what kind of material help this person needed, and how the rest of us could offer it, would have been more helpful all around.)
I've tried to think about what I'd do if my own job were on the chopping block, but the prospect fills me with blithering terror rather than productive energy, so for the moment, I'm backing off that issue. If I have to confront it, I'll confront it when I have to.
I don't know if our cruise next week is perfectly timed or howlingly irresponsible, but it's mostly already paid for, so we're going. Who knows when we'll get another chance?
I'll attempt to give up apocalyptic anxiety for Lent. Well, no, that's probably too ambitious. How about this: during Lent, I'll attempt to spend at least forty-five minutes a day free of apocalyptic anxiety.