Drexel University’s white genocide nightmare in 2017

Boy, I am really glad that I am not a trustee of Drexel University.  They are in a no-win siuation, with the stakes very high.  Assistant Professor George Ciccariello-Maher has created a huge problem for his employer and those who guide its survival.  His Christmas Eve tweet wishing for “white genocide” created an understandable firestorm, and the school has already undergone layoffs and pay cuts because not enough tuition checks are coming in. 

Pathetic attempts to justify expression of genocidal intent on the eve of the biggest holiday of the year, one that celebrates the Prince of Peace, are less than useless.  Crucial to the nightmare that lies ahead for Drexel is this information, via the TaxProf blog (hat tip: Instapundit) “Drexel Freezes Faculty, Staff Staff Salaries Due To Decreased Enrollments.”  Professor Paul Caron cites a Philadelphia Inquirer story published the very day of Ciccariello’s tweet:

Drexel University will withhold merit raises from faculty and staff this fiscal year as the school continues to adjust to less revenue as a result of an admissions strategy designed to attract fewer, but more serious and better qualified, applicants.

President John A. Fry announced the move in an email to the campus this week.

"Our decision to change from a 'volume-based' approach to recruiting students will result in a period of decreased revenues from smaller incoming classes," Fry wrote. "During this five-year transition period, we have to adjust our spending to maintain our financial strength."

I interpret the “decision to change from a ‘volume-based’ approach to recruiting students” as meaning that Drexel is attempting to raise its average test score and class rank statistics and is turning down more students than before, and thereby getting fewer checks for tuition.  This strategy makes sense if one assumes that fewer and fewer families will be able to afford tuition at the levels private universities charge.  So only the more selective institutions will be able to attract the affluent families investing in their children’s career prospects.

A relatively less prestigious school will have a harder and harder time persuading families it is a worthwhile investment.  Drexel, like all but a handful of well endowed colleges and universities, depends on parents and students coughing up huge checks for tuition, much of it borrowed.  Anything that persuades parents to send their precious offspring somewhere else for college threatens Drexel’s very existence.  Long-term survival depends on raising those admissions stats that influence rankings of colleges and universities. 

The senior faculty and staff are on notice that their welfare depends on the college attracting more tuition-paying customers.

Professional staff and faculty who are paid $75,000 a year or less and were hired before July 2016 will receive a 2 percent cost of living raise, Fry said. If the university ends the 2016-17 fiscal year better off than expected, Drexel officials will consider a salary increase for those earning between $75,000 and $150,000, he said.

Drexel has been in trouble for a while:

The announcement follows several other belt-tightening moves by the private West Philadelphia university. For fiscal 2015-16, Drexel cut $20 million from its operating budget, including several dozen layoffs. For this fiscal year, Drexel reduced expenses or increased revenue by $43 million to balance the budget, Fry wrote.

Professor Glenn Reynolds of the University of Tennessee Law School and Instapundit has been warning for years of the higher education bubble, and his 2012 book of the same title is proving prophetic.  Drexel’s problems are characteristic of most private colleges and universities. 

The next stage of the nightmare will unfold as Professor Ciccariello-Maher becomes a cause for the academic left.  Inside Higher Education, a trade journal, reports:

More than 3,500 people -- including many scholars -- have signed a petition backing Ciccariello-Maher and calling on Drexel to defend him. "Preserve academic freedom (and wit and intelligence and anti-racism) in this nasty new era of living in the United States of internet trolls," the petition says. "Support George. Let Drexel know -- in the midst of the deafening, organized troll-storm -- that racist trolls deserve no platform in dictating academic discourse, let alone the off-duty tweets of academics. They are being VERY noisy; we can't be silent."

In calling people stupid for not understanding the wit of the genocide-wishing colleague, the professors think they will persuade those they regard as witless, a delusion shared in the outer reaches of the left media.  Coming from the same academic left that screams about safe spaces, triggers, and microaggressions, the arrogance is startling and off-putting to most Americans.  They do not understand this because they live in a bubble and because their sense of self-worth depends on the belief that they are smarter than the rest of us.

If Drexel caves to the radical left and does nothing, there will be more layoffs.  You can count on the word getting out that leftist crazies are what you get for your quarter of a million dollars or whatever spent on a Drexel degree.

But if Drexel takes action of any meaningful sort, count on withering criticism and much more from the left.  Hiring the sort of faculty who help improve the presitige rankings by US News and others will be difficult.

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