The Arizona Desert Lamp

You get what you need

Posted in Campus by Evan Lisull on 2 February 2009

Let It BleedI’ve long been of the opinion that “You Can’t Always Get What You Want,” the climax to the Rolling Stones’ astounding Let it Bleed, should be the official theme song for the Recession of the Aughts. (The Oughts? The ‘Bama Blues? Tom Wolfe, a lonely nation turns its eyes to you. . .) When one sees stories about increased savings rates, of citizens choosing to repair shoes rather than simply buy new ones, of financial holdings almost entirely removed from reality brought back to earth, the London Bach Choir echoes:

And you can’t always get what you want,
Honey, you can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometime, yeah,
You just might find you get what you need!

By chance, Jagger was serenading (berating?) me as I read President Shelton and Provost Hay’s staff-wide email today on final budget decision:

Combined with a 5% reduction in operating budgets across the University, the steps that were initiated 6 months ago have positioned us to approach the current significant cut in a coherent fashion.  These actions will result in fewer class offerings, larger class sizes in the future and increased time to degree for our students.

This doesn’t have to be true, if the university gets very serious about its online offerings. Anyways, most the email is stuff that you’ve already heard before, with the important exception of two major points. The first is a list of proposed cuts in outreach programs:

We will also be forced to eliminate or greatly reduce many of our outreach and community-based activities.  This will result in:
a.. The suspension of three-quarters of University funding for UApresents.
b.. The current Flandrau Science Center facility, Planetarium and UA Mineral Museum will be closed to school groups and the public later this spring.
c.. The Arizona State Museum will be open to the public fewer days per week, and many outreach and educational activities, including public  events, will be cancelled later this spring.
d.. The UA Museum of Art will be open fewer days per week, and will eliminate its engagement in university-level education as well as educational  outreach.
e.. A significant portion of the UA’s outreach and extension operations across the state will be suspended.
The new partnership creating the Colleges of Letters and Science allows us to reduce the number of academic colleges from 16 to 13, and we have previously announced the closing of University College, the functions of which are being absorbed in the new Colleges of Letters and Science.

Obviously, I’ve got no great love for UAPresents — any institution that determines Jim Brickman, a political inauguration, and “Bjorn Again: The ABBA Experience” to be “world-class performances” deserves a cut. I have been fortunate enough to have visited all of the listed museums, and when I have visited I saw at most five other people in the building. When budgets are hurting, and certain hours are less popular, it simply makes sense to stay open for a shorter period of time. The last listed item is so meaningless as to signify nothing, which means that will probably be taken as a rallying flag of discontent in the coming weeks. The Colleges of Letters and Sciences finally brings us to the level of the Ivy League Schools, the Cal schools, U. Michigan, U. Virginia, and most other decent universities across the country, and the closing of the University College is the best UA-related news that I’ve reported on all year.

There will be workers and other supporters of these various institutions who will cry foul, reading press releases with meaningless anecdotes of ‘community engagement’ and ‘intellectual resources’ and what-not; thankfully, a simple reply has already been penned:

You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you might find
You get what you need

Secondly, and more seriously for employees, it looks like we’ll be following ASU in forcing unpaid vacation days:

By imposing an additional 5 percent cut that all deans and vice presidents have been directed to implement, we will balance the books at the close of the fiscal year.  But as we said at the beginning, this budget crisis must be addressed as a two-year challenge, and there is simply no way to bring about the needed reductions without a furlough in the 2009/10 year.  As a result, and based on our current projections, all faculty and staff on state and locally allocated funds will be required to take 5 furlough days (days off without pay) between July 1, 2009 and June 30, 2010.  Details of the furlough will be forthcoming.

The Wildcat, meanwhile, has honed in on the library beat, with its second article on the imminent closings in as many days. Today, we get more details:

Carla Stoffle, Dean of Libraries and Creative Photography, said the Fine Arts Library, located in the music building, and the Center for Creative Photography library would close this summer if there were no increase in the “information technology/library” student fee.

She also said that the hours of the Special Collections library would have to be reduced to 20 hours a week.

. . .

The current student library fee is $30 and the libraries are asking for it to be raised to $180 per student, per year, she said.

The article, naturally, gets the “(wo)man-on-the-street” view discussing the potential closure:

“Wow, all the music students would be terribly inconvenienced,” Islas said. “I don’t even know what would happen, it would be … catastrophe.”

Inconvenience = catastrophe? This is a very lame defense — business students have long been ‘inconvenienced’ by their isolation from the main library; non-Fine-Arts students seeking art-based materials have been ‘inconvenienced’ whenever they discover, at the main library, that the book they’re looking for is a fifteen minute walk away; freshmen have long been ‘inconvenienced’ in trying to find the Fine Arts library, which is squirreled away on the third floor of the music building.

The truth is, these botique libraries are exactly what need to be cut. So long as the materials are preserved (which, the article assures us, they will), it really doesn’t matter where they’re placed. In fact, I’d frankly prefer to have everything right by the Main Library — one-stop shopping, if you will.

Now, I know that the CCP library is nice — I spent many a pre-class half-hour reading there. I appreciate the selection at the Fine Arts Library. I’m sure that arts students are going to learn to hate the stroll out to the main library that the rest of us have put up with for the entirety of our time here. But you know what?

You can’t always get what you want (no, no baby)
You can’t always get what you want
You can’t always get what you want
But if you try sometimes you just might find
You just might find
You get what you need, ah yes…

The great pulling back is gonna hurt, from the UA all the way to the federal level; any recovering alcoholic, however, can you tell about that kind of pain.


One Response

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  1. […] The ABBA Experience” and schmaltz-king Jim Brickman. Now, the program has had its funding cut by seventy-five percent (and you’re complaining about your budget cut), and we still have […]

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