I am as distressed about the lack of funding for higher education as is ASI President Tylor Middlestadt. I hope students don’t think that faculty and staff are profiting at their expense. We went for 3 years without a pay increase, and the 3.5 percent salary boost that was just granted falls short of keeping up with inflation.

The fact that our employee salaries are increasingly uncompetitive makes it difficult to hire and retain people. My department lost a faculty member several weeks before the quarter started partly because of salary and cost of living considerations (the 70 percent pay increase to move to industry was enticing).

I understand that public safety officers on campus are underpaid relative to others in that line of work, so we train people and then they leave for other law enforcement jobs.

To make a deteriorating situation even worse, Congress is evidently on the verge of cutting back on Pell Grants and other forms of financial aid for needy students (as well as trimming Medicaid and other programs for the poor).

That is how the Bush administration will find the funds to award more tax cuts to the rich. And those people really don’t care all that much about public institutions and the underclass, since they can send their children to private schools and pay health care costs out of pocket.

Jay Devore

Statistics professor and chair

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