Sunday, June 21, 2015

Budget Cuts, Layoffs, and a $1.5 Billion Campus Remodeling—What’s Wrong With This Picture?- Michelle Chen, the Nation

Altogether, the planned cuts, reported in Crains Chicago Business, will result in 5-6 percent cuts to non-academic programs and a 2 percent cut across academic departments. Announced on the heels of a downgraded rating on the university’s swelling debt by Moody’s, the administration’s “cost containment measures” are coupled with plans to add fancy new features to the University’s academic and lifestyle offerings, including the construction of a new residence hall and engineering institute—aimed at making the university more “competitive.” Over the next few years, the university is planning a $1.5 billion remodeling, financed largely through institutional debt, real estate sales and budget cuts. The plans reflect a nationwide pattern of the financialization of higher education: administrations compete for prestige and invest in lavish high-rises while cash-strapped students sink into debt and eat out of food pantries.

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