Wednesday, February 24, 2010

March 4th: UC Faculty Step Up Their Efforts to Defend Public Education

Two recent letters written by UC senate faculty show how professors are getting engaged in defending the importance of public education in the state of California. One letter, originating from UC Santa Cruz, begins in the following manner: “The future of the University of California, and public education in California more generally, is under extreme threat. Governor Schwarzenegger and the State Legislature have slashed funding, and the UC Regents, Office of the President, and campus administrations have responded with measures that undermine the core teaching, research, and service mission of the university: student fees have been raised dramatically, hiring has been frozen, faculty and staff have been furloughed, lecturers have been fired, and many staff positions have been consolidated or eliminated, even as salaries of the highest UC executives have been increased. Market standards have superseded the values of intellectual creativity and excellence. Next year’s planned cuts will only accelerate these trends. The defunding of public higher education makes a college education inaccessible to many Californians, especially those already most disadvantaged; it endangers the vibrancy and livelihood of the state; it lowers the quality of life of all of its inhabitants” (click here for the entire letter)

Faculty and Chairs from UCSB have also circulated the following letter in support of the March 4th protests and rallies: “We, as Department Chairs in the Social Sciences and Humanities and Fine Arts at the University of California, Santa Barbara, endorse the statewideDay of Education on March 4, 2010. We support the efforts, organized by representatives of the entire educational community--administrators, teachers, staff, students, alumni, and concerned parents and students of
the UC, CSU, CC and K-12 systems--to demonstrate the need for a renewed commitment to public education. As UC faculty, we struggle with increased workloads and reduced pay. We see austere student fee hikes, overcrowded classes, graduate students squeezed, overworked and demoralized staff, worker layoffs, shrinking departmental and curriculum budgets, and eroding funding to student services. How long can the UC maintain itself as a top quality, Tier I research university? Meanwhile, K-12 schools face severe budget cuts and curricular pressures created by the demands for standardized testing, a situation of concern to us since the products of the K-12 system become our students and the country's future citizenry.
It's time to stop and reverse this steady defunding and degradation of our educational system and to defend a first-rate public education. We urge you to support our students' organizing efforts in support of the statewide March on Sacramento on Thursday, March 4.”

These letters show that the UC faculty are not only concerned about their own institutions, but they are also worried about the plight of public education in general in the state of California. Moreover, these letters call for all of us to participate in actions on March 4th. Next week, everything changes.

Monday, February 22, 2010

A Response to Some Critics: Funding and Accountability

Chris Newfield has recently posted a response to my work on his blog “Remaking the University.” I appreciate this opportunity to dialogue with Chris and address some of my thoughtful critics. Perhaps my discourse is sometimes unclear, but I have tried to maintain the dual strategy of arguing for more state funding and holding the university accountable. For instance, I have promoted the California Democracy Act to change the way the state legislature votes on budgets and revenues, and I have also supported Alberto Torrico’s bill, AB 656, to tax oil extraction and use the revenue for higher education. Moreover, we have been told that because of the protests that I helped to organize at UCLA on November 18-19, the governor has decided to increase the funding for the university. I am also aware, however, that it will take a long time before we change how the state votes on taxes, and so in the meantime, it is essential to fight for more funding and to make sure the money we do get will be spent in a transparent and effective manner.

The next area of controversy is the question of how student fees and state funds are spent, and if undergraduates are being asked to fund things that are not connected to their education. I have shown that while students and the state pay more than $20,000 per student, less than a third of this amount goes to undergraduate instruction and related costs. In my most recent calculation, I have included the full cost of a professor’s salaries, and so unlike, Charles Schwartz, I am not splitting off departmental research from instruction. What I am doing is trying to trace how students end up paying for administration and infrastructure that has no relation to their education. 

Yet, I also do want to focus on how undergraduate instruction is a low priority, and even at the wealthiest campus, classes are getting bigger, courses are being eliminated, tutoring and support is being reduced, and students are paying much more. A major reason for this problem is that most of the undergraduate teaching has been shifted to lecturers and graduate students, but the university hides this fact, and continues to fund these positions as if they are temporary. We are now witnessing the results of this non-transparency; due to a claim of a fiscal emergency, lecturers face layoffs and grad students can’t find employment. Someone must be held responsible for this sorry state of affairs, and a state audit will help clarify how money is really spent in the UC system. 

In one of my Huffington Post article, “How American Universities Became Hedge Funds,” I have proposed a solution to many of these problems, which is to develop three forms of professors: researchers, teachers, and hybrids. While the hybrids will be judged on their research and teaching, the researchers will be evaluated for their research, and they will not be forced to teach. Likewise, the people committed to teaching will be given tenure, they will not have to concentrate on research.

In many ways, this solution is only a slight adjustment to what is already going on, but there are three major changes: 1) people whose main responsibility is undergraduate instruction will get tenure; 2) researcher who do not or cannot teach will be allowed to concentrate on what they do best; and 3) we will clarify how money is spent in the system.

One reaction to my proposal is that I am undermining the heart of a research university, which is the combination of research and teaching. However, the hybrids will be rewarded for their ability to combine research and instruction. Moreover, we already have many professors who rarely teach, and some teachers who do important research. If we do not clarify these positions, all we can do is to lie to the state and the public about how we really spend our money.

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Why Tuition Goes Up and Quality Goes Down at American Universities

The New York Times has recently reported that a record number of Americans think that universities are now being run like business: “Most Americans believe that colleges today operate like businesses, concerned more with their bottom line than with the educational experience of students, according to a new study. And the proportion of people who hold that view has increased to 60 percent, from 52 percent in 2007.” People not only feel that the corporate mentality is hurting higher education, but they also think that university’s could do more while spneding less: “colleges could admit a lot more students without lowering quality or raising prices, and that colleges could spend less and maintain a high quality of education.” In other words, people believe that the business people running universities are bad for business, and these schools should be able to increase enrollments and lower costs, while improving the quality of instruction.

In response to this popular sentiment about the failures of American universities and colleges, the Times cites administrators who argue that due to the labor-intensive nature of higher education, costs cannot be contained and quality will inevitably suffer as students are forced to take out huge loans to pay for escalating tuitions. Of course, what these administrators fail to mention is that a major reason for the constant increase in costs is the constant increase in administrators and staff.

As I have previously documented in this blog, what is really going on in higher education is that administrators and staff are receiving a larger part of the budget pie, while practically everyone else is being asked to do more for less. Moreover, while the number of non-faculty employees goes up, administrators demand larger compensation packages and more power to make crucial decisions that were once the purview of professors.

Instead of simply bemoaning this situation, we have asked the state to audit the UC system, and the state has now approved our request. One of our central concerns is to see how administrative positions are funded and what really happens with state funds and student fees. Without this type of budget transparency, it will be very difficult to control the expansion of the administrative class. After all, the only people who can begin to reduce the cost of administration are the administrators themselves. However, we can pressure these people to do the right thing.

Monday, February 15, 2010

State Senate is Considering an Audit of the UC System

On Wed, February 16th, Senator Leland Yee will present an official request for the state auditor to examine the finances of the University of California. This audit request has been developed by Yee’s office in conjunction with the California Federation of Labor, UC-AFT, UAW, AFSCME, UPTE, and CNA, and the central areas of concern are how does the UC spend state funds, what levels of unrestricted funds does the university have at its disposal, how does the UC fund administrative positions, how much money is going to instruction, and what does the university do with the overhead income generated from external grants. The state auditor will also be determining how the university allocates and tracks funding for non-salary expenses, like travel, consultants, entertainment, and supplies.

The unions have been asking the university to provide this type of information for years, and we hope that if the senate approves of the audit, we will finally have the answers to many of our questions. In Senate Yee’s press release concerning the audit request, he stresses the fact that the UC budget has not been transparent, and the university seems to generate a new financial scandal every month. One of Senator Yee’s major concerns is the accountability of UC’s administrators, and he hopes the audit will shed light on how the UC spends funds coming from the state and student fees.

While some faculty and students may fear that this is the wrong time to look at how the UC spends its money because any negative finding could result in a further decrease in state funding for the UC system, the unions and several legislators feel that the best way to ensure future funding is to enhance the university’s budget transparency. Once the state has a better understanding of how the university spends its public and private funds, it will be easier for the state to allocate needed funding for the core mission.

If you are interested in supporting this audit, please write an email to Senator Yee’s office at

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The Gang that Can't Count Straight: Responding to UC's Responses

In response to my Huffington Post article, “How Universities Became Hedge Funds,” Peter Taylor, CFO of the UC Budget called into question my research and some of my claims. Taylor’s first complaint is that I misrepresented President Yudof’s explanation of why the UC system lent the state $200 million in the summer of 2009 after the state cut the university’s budget by $600 million: However, if you look at the video of Yudof’s explanation of the deal, he says exactly what I indicated. Moreover, Taylor supports my claim that the university would rather spend on construction rather than instruction by stressing how the UC lent the money so it could continue with several new building projects: “UC did loan $200 million to the state of California, but what Samuels failed to say was that the state had stopped funding vital capital projects at eight UC campuses, facilities essential to the UC education, research and public service mission. The state spent that money on 18 projects on UC campuses, including cutting-edge telemedicine facilities that will allow medical professionals at hospitals to serve patients in rural and poor communities.”

The next central bone of contention is my claim that the UC lost $23 billion in its endowment and pension funds. Taylor responds in the following way: “It’s laughable to compare UC endowment investments to elite private schools such as Harvard and Yale, whose endowments – and losses – dwarf UC’s.
While it’s true that everyone lost money in the global financial meltdown, the University of California lost several percentage points less than Harvard or Yale. Our investment asset allocation was very different, and much more conservative. Even in the best of times our highly restricted endowment adds just one percent ($214 million) to our yearly operating income.” However, in my article, I wrote about the “pension and investment portfolios,” and if we look at UC’s own audited statements from September 30 2007 and March 31 2009, we see that the consolidated assets went from $74.6 billion to $51 billion. Moreover, if we look at the endowment performance in 2008, we also find that the UC has been underperforming in comparison to almost all of the other major universities. In fact, Charles Schwartz has shown that since the management of the pension investments was outsourced in 2000, the UC has performed far worse than Calpers and Calstirs, the two largest education pension funds in the state.

While Taylor claims that my article lacks facts, and I should look at the UC’s budget documents, I have shown that Taylor’s office continues to put out false information. For instance, in Yudof’s letter outlining the need for a furlough plan, it is clear that he misrepresented the true fiscal status of the university: “For the current fiscal year, the Governor’s revised budget proposes a combination of one-time and permanent State funding reductions totaling $816.6 million, $640 million of which is offset by the allocation of federal economic stimulus monies (American Recovery and Reinvestment Act [ARRA]).The remaining shortfall in FY 2008-09 of $176.1 million is partially offset by the 7% student fee increase in that year, leaving a net reduction for FY 2008-09 of $77.4 million.” This claim that the UC lost $176 million in 2008-09 was used to justify reducing everyone’s salaries through the furlough plan, but if we look at UC’s own audited financial statements, we find that in 2008-09, they UC’s allocation from the state increased by over $300 million (Page 52 of the annual financial statement).

The furlough letter contained many similar misleading representations: “While the recently approved 9.3% student fee increase for FY 2009-10 will generate, net of financial aid, $125.9 million in revenues to offset the $619.3 million reduction, the net State funding shortfall of $493.4 million for FY 2009-10 coupled with the $77.4 million shortfall in FY 2008-09 requires immediate system wide and campus actions.” The first thing to correct is the notion that there was a $77.4 million shortfall in 2008-09. The truth is that the UC got $3.2 billion from the state in 2008-09, and the university also generated an additional $100 million from the initial fee increase. What this tally also does not include is the cost savings from reducing student enrolments by 2,300; moreover, the 2009-10 decrease in state funding was offset in part by an additional fee increase of $126 million, and the addition of more federal recovery money.

While Taylor attacks me for not looking at the UC’s budget documents, it should be clear by now that the UC’s own documents are highly confusing and often missing important pieces of information.

Monday, February 8, 2010

UCLA Hires Tainted Firm to Restructure

While campuses cut classes, raise fees, furlough employees, and lay off instructors, they have been hiring outside firms to help them restructure. A few months ago, Berkeley announced that it would pay Bain and Company $3 million to suggest ways to reduce the Cal budget, and now UCLA has hired the Huron Consulting Group to assist in the campus’ restructuring. Not only should we question the cost of bringing in outside firms to perform tasks that could be handled internally, but we need to ask about the role of shared governance when an outside group is hired to make important decisions that will affect all aspects of the university.

One has to wonder if the administrators who hired Huron looked into this firm’s recent past. As Chicago Business reported last summer, this consulting group has been in disarray since it admitted to its own false reporting of internal profits. It turns out that this company, which is supposed to investigate the finances of other companies, has been misrepresenting its own finances on a regular basis: “Huron said it would restate results for the three years ended in 2008 and for the first quarter of 2009, resulting in a halving of its profits, to $63 million from $120 million, for the 39-month period.” We are not talking here about a small one-time accounting error; rather, this accounting firm has consistently misrepresented its own earnings, and the story gets much worse.

The reason why Huron had to admit to its habit of inflating earnings is that someone found out that thre was a secret agreement between Huron and the shareholders of the companies it was restructuring: “The company said its hand was forced by its recent discovery that holders of shares in acquired firms had an agreement among themselves to reallocate a portion of their earn-out payments to other Huron employees. The company said it had been unaware of the arrangement.” After Huron revealed in the summer of 2009 that it had participated in this kick-back scheme, its stock went down 70%, and it replaced its entire management team.

The Huron Group was created from the remnants of the Arthur Anderson firm after the Enron scandal, and Reuters has reported that many experts believe that the corrupt culture of the old firm has found its way into the new company. Just as Anderson concentrated on maximizing their own fees at the expense of the companies it was investigating, Huron appears to be profiting by forcing companies to pay them off while they are restructuring their business practices.

According to another business news outlet, the SEC is currently investigating Huron for the way it bill its clients,and while one of the main functions of this firm is to make sure that institutions follow accounting laws and regulations, they are now facing numerous investigations and lawsuits.

Some UC faculty might be interested to know that the head of the company, who has been forced to step down, has been accused of forcing employees to contribute to Mitt Romney’s run for president, and the management has had its own inflated compensation requests rejected by the company’s shareholders.

Didn’t UCLA looked into any of these issues when they decided to hire Huron to restructure the campus? It only took me a few minutes of using Google to find several articles documenting this company’s questionable practices and horrible reputation. We have to ask why didn’t any of the highly compensated administrators sitting on the new restructuring committee examine this company before they committed to paying a large sum of money to do the job they should be doing themselves in the first place.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

Reading Yudof’s Playbook: An Inside Look at the Future of the UC

James Garland’s Saving Alma Mater: A Rescue Plan for America’s Public Universities is a great summation of everything that is currently wrong with American universities. While the intention of the book does not appear to be to provide a framework for how to destroy higher education, the text provides the playbook for any administrator who wants to justify the privatization of public universities. Garland’s main argument is that public institutions should wean themselves off of their dependence on state funds by raising tuition to whatever level the market will handle. In fact, when he was president of Miami University in Ohio, this is exactly what Garland did. In one year, he more than doubled tuition from $8,300 to $18,000 (xvii). Garland claims that the result of this experiment was that enrollments for first-generation students went up 40% and enrollments for minority students increased 25%. By using a high tuition, high aid model, this administrator argues universities can bring in more money and still attract underrepresented students.

Not only does Garland’s claims fly in the face of national statistics, but his own use of numbers is highly suspect. First of all, if the whole goal of raising tuition is to bring in more money so the university does not have to rely on unpredictable state funding, someone must be paying a lot more money. Moreover, if all of the students from Ohio are receiving some form of financial aid, it must be that out-of-state students are paying much more, so in-state students can pay less. Overall, this model reduces the number of in-state students and forces a reliance on wealthy out-of-state enrollments.

Of course, this is the model we have already seen with the University of Michigan and University of Viriginia, and it appears to be the model that the University of California is currently pursuing. As Peter Sacks has documented in his book, Tearing Down the Gates, in 1992, a third of University of Michigan (Ann Arbor) students were from lower-income families, but by 2002, only 13% were eligible for Pell grants. This precipitous loss of lower-income students also occurred at the flagship public universities of Virginia, Illinois, and Wisconsin. Between 1992 and 2002, the percentage of students receiving Pell grants at the University of Wisconsin at Madison went down 28%, while University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign went down 15%. Furthermore, after reducing its reliance on state funding by rapidly increasing its tuition, the University of Virginia saw its percentage of students eligible for Pell grants drop to just 8%.

Garland does not concentrate on this question of equity, and instead, he insists that the only way to keep universities solvent is to allow for the free market to balance supply and demand, and therefore universities should not rely on state subsidies to balance their books, and they also should not allow states to regulate their tuition. Here we see the neoliberal playbook in its purest form: the government should be eliminated so the free market can function in its pure state.

Garland attaches this need to break the relation between the public university and the state to global trends that no one can prevent. According to this common fatalistic logic, states will continue to reduce their funding for universities because they have lost their tax base due to the movement of jobs overseas (xi). Furthermore, since most of the costs for universities are fixed (tenure, healthcare, and building maintenance), the only thing a university can do is to either constantly raise tuition or lower the educational quality by replacing tenure-track faculty with part-timers and expanding class sizes, while neglecting the need for repairs and upkeep.

Of course, most universities have selected both strategies because for the last thirty years, we have seen a constant increase in tuition combined with a downsizing of the faculty. In fact, one of the giant holes in Garland’s book is he does not see how universities have simply shifted their funding structures by making undergraduate students pay for the constant increase in administration and research budgets. In other words, as the quality of undergraduate education has been downsized, the cost has gone up because the price of tuition is unrelated to the quality of education.

While Garland’s book is full of holes and contradictions, it is worthy of a read for one reason: it appears to be the training manual for university presidents like Mark Yudof. Virtually every claim and strategy discussed in this work has been recycled and re-presented by the UC president.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Race to the Bottom: A Critical Response to the UCLA Humanities Task Force

For the past nine months, an ad hoc task force has been meeting in order to rethink the structure of the humanities division at UCLA. All people interested in the future of higher education should be concerned with this report that makes several questionable recommendations. While the authors claim that their main emphasis is not to slash the budgets of these programs, it is clear that their central focus is to reduce labor costs at the university: “Language instruction is labor-intensive and tends at UCLA to employ non-ladder instructors unprotected by tenure. Because of this, we expect there to be substantial pressure to ease the language requirement, which would not only blatantly contradict all three of the “chief campus priorities of excellence, diversity, and community engagement” (which our charge letter reasonably reminds us to “bear in mind”), but would also in our opinion be disastrous on multiple levels.” Reading this opening salvo, one would think that report would endorse protecting language instruction and non-tenure-track faculty (lecturers), but we soon learn that this ad hoc faculty committee (with no lecturer representation) attempts to imagine a world without lecturers.

As this report constantly points out, lecturers are the least expensive teachers, and they teach many--if not most--of the required classes in the humanities, but they are also the most vulnerable during a budget crisis, and so the campus must find a way to staff undergraduate courses without these teachers. The first recommendation is to strengthen the foreign language programs by moving up to half of the classes to summer and online: “Active use of the Summer Sessions would produce two immediate and direct benefits: (1) pressure would be lessened upon those language programs that are currently overburdened between September and June; (2) revenue could be generated during the summer to fund both lecturers and graduate students. We estimate that as much as 40-50% of language teaching could be moved to the summer, and even more if we consider the undeveloped potential for an affiliated Online Language Program, based upon the profitable, technically established model in place for the last five years at UCLA’s TFT. Enrollments and income will both grow. Non-UCLA students could be specifically targeted, not only from elsewhere within California, but also abroad.” What this report does not mention is that by moving half of the courses to summer, UCLA would be able to lay off all of its language instructors, and then hire these faculty members back without benefits and at much lower salaries. Since summer session is only partially covered by the lecturers contract, the summer teachers could be paid at a low rate and would lose all of their job protections.

Of course, the other major part of this initiative is the question of the effectiveness of online language instruction. In fact, much of this report is spent defending the idea that the turn to online learning will not undermine the reputation of the institution; rather, the task force claims that UCLA will be able to position itself as a leader of high quality digital learning: “UCLA’s great reputation would assure the popularity of our online courses, especially given the complete lack of competition today in the “high-end” realm of learner-centered, distance pedagogy.” As someone who has written an entire book on the subject of how online education undermines the value of research universities, I would argue that the lack of competition stems from the realization that most online programs end up to be very expensive and result in a low level of student retention. That is not to say that we should not use new media in our classes; rather, we cannot employ these new technologies to completely replace in-class instruction.

In one of the most dubious parts of this report, the writers claim that the turn to online writing instruction will actually save money and jobs: “Online learning offers the potential to achieve several concrete goals: improvement in students’ time-to-degree; a lessening of pressure in overcrowded classrooms; the generation of funds in order to save lecturers’ positions; and the emergence of UCLA as the leader in top-quality, i.e., not cut-price, distance education.” First of all, if you move courses to summer and online, you will not need any lecturers, except for the ones you hire on the cheap during the summer. Second of all, the reason why online programs costs so much is that they require a tremendous amount of equipment, staff, electricity, and administration; moreover, most studies of online education show that these programs hurt the ability of students to graduate on time because so many students drop out or do not complete their courses.

Perhaps the most noxious part of this plan is the idea to force students to pay extra to fulfill their language courses in the summer: “Because many students might prefer to avoid the added expense of summer study, a respectful hierarchy would need to be established among participants. If languages were indeed offered year-round, it would be only fair to give Majors and Pre-Majors in the relevant departments first choice during the school year. Language instruction that is traditionally oversubscribed, such as Chinese and Spanish, could require transfer or “external” students from other departments to satisfy their language requirements during the summer.” I believe this passage is positing that students who are not majoring in a specific language would have to take the course during the summer or some other program that requires payment. Instead of students being able to study their home language at UCLA, they would now have to pay extra for the privilege of language instruction.

As language instruction gets squeezed, the plan is to set up a new Humanities Institute and develop a new major in Digital Humanities. While these programs might seem like good ways of rethinking the humanities, these new initiatives would surely cost a large amount of money, and one has to question why UCLA is pursuing a policy of eliminating all lecturers due to budgetary concerns as it embarks on projects that require new administrators, faculty, and staff. Furthermore, the report reveals that the humanities have been kept afloat by their reliance on courses taught by lecturers, but now they are going to eliminate their own cash cow: “Humanities generating over $59 million in student fee revenue, while spending only $53.5 million (unlike the Physical Sciences, which come up several million dollars short in this category). Writing Programs alone generates $4.3 million dollars in fee revenue at a cost of only $2.4 million. These profits will increase as student fees increase; they would be even greater if we figured in a share of the over-enrollment subsidies due from the state. In pursuing our vital, non- profit mission of advancing knowledge and teaching, the Humanities is not only a bargain, but also a profit-generating entity. Massive cuts in the Humanities instructional budget are not only destructive to the core mission of the University; they are also financially unjustifiable.” According to this analysis, the Writing Programs generates a large profit for the humanities, and any cut to this program would be destructive to the core mission and financially unjustifiable; however, the report fails to mention that all of the faculty in the Writing Programs have been given one-year layoff notices. While we expect that some of these layoffs will be rescinded, the current plan is to replace many of the lecturers with graduate students and faculty from other programs.

In one of the only other mentions of writing instruction in the report, the authors actually suggest placing faculty from other departments who continue to have low workloads into writing classes: “Faculty whose courses are insufficiently enrolled could be assigned to appropriate courses in the Humanities Institute, The Language Center, or the Writing Programs (as is already the case in at least one department). Department chairs will be responsible for making such assignments, and for assuring that faculty teaching in the writing program are sufficiently trained through the program’s pedagogy course.” In this structure, teaching in the Writing Programs would be the ultimate threat to tenured professors. Here we see how the most popular and profitable program at UCLA is represented as the worst form of punishment for underutilized faculty.

Not only does this task force suggest moving language courses to the summer and online, but it lists over a hundred high-enrollment courses from all over the curriculum that could be shifted to the summer. If the university actually followed the advice of this report, we would see most of the required undergraduate courses placed online, and students would have to pay extra for the privilege of taking these classes of questionable quality. One of the justifications for this move is that the high-enrollment classes already suffer from a low level of quality: “most of our GE/Lower-Division students have some experience of classes that are so big, they’d be better off watching a video performance, a close-up broadcast that is paused and (re)considered at their own pace. The bigger classes often offer no contact with the professor, in any case. Hence the number of students in the back row(s) “taking notes” on their laptops, many of whom are actually polishing their Facebook profiles. (The same students, no doubt, also wish they were at home, watching a popular BruinCast of the same information. This is an online program, in fact, that is now so popular it has caused lecture attendance to decrease!).” In other words, large lecture classes already provide such a poor level of instruction and interaction that we might as well move the whole thing online. It is amazing that these thoughtful advocates of the humanities are actually recommending the destruction of higher education and effective undergraduate instruction.