Friday, July 17, 2009

Is George Orwell’s phantasm “Big Brother” reborn?

Is George Orwell’s phantasm “Big Brother” reborn in the twenty-first century as the Corporate CEO disguised as the “University’s Top Dog?”

In the 1980’s American Corporations were given huge tax breaks as an incentive to fund higher education. However, the goals of the corporate sector have now caused a drastic shift in the mission of Higher Education. What is the result of replacing the power of scholarship with the accumulation of wealth, the development and ability to think critically with ability to fit into a corporate workplace?

Faculty, once the primary body of decision makers, are now like the corporate employee, pressured to align their research and opinions with those of the institution.

The New American Dream seems to define education as being employable within the limits of a constrained economy. “Success,” the ability to fit in and contribute to the environment of a huge corporation rather than pursue an individual idea or vision. This view may seem realistic given unemployment rates, however, is America still the exporter of the original idea? Are we graduating men and women with the critical skills necessary to be able to contribute, to act and to criticize their leaders as franchised citizens in this republic?

I urge the faculty of the CSU and UC public education systems to force the administration or the Governor to open the books, to immediately initiate a State Audit in order to reveal how tuition dollars, corporate investments, private and public funding was allocated in order to suddenly thrust upon the faculty and the people of California a budget deficit of over 800 million dollars. I'm sure most of you understand that this action by the administration has been initiated without DUE PROCESS, the 14th amendment of the US Constitution. There are labor lawyers within your universities that must be contacted in order to review faculty contracts and rights.

Your colleagues across this continent are being targeted and blacklisted for speaking out. This is the result of unorganized protests. Please protect yourselves. Do not allow the upper administration to force measures, as drastic as a pay cut, without knowing your rights! Ultimately, this will give a very strong message to students, that faculty in California are essentially "work for hires" in the public university system.

Sharyn C. Blumenthal

Film maker/Professor

Former Chair of Film and Electronic Arts, CSULB

No comments: