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Editor’s note: Michael Ackley’s columns may include satire and parody based on current events, and thus mix fact with fiction. He assumes informed readers will be able to tell which is which.

We knew a California State University administrator who was overseeing construction of a new campus.

“It’s the perfect university,” he said, “no faculty, no students.”

However, there was fundraising. There always is fundraising. It might be argued that beefing up the institutional endowment is the principal duty of college presidents. They expend so much energy expanding the campus coffers it is perhaps natural – even automatic – that some of the funding impulse should extend to their own pay.

They continually lobby for higher compensation – and the university administration and trustees go along with them. The justification is the same from year to year: “We have to pay to keep administrative talent from fleeing to higher paying jobs in the private sector or in other states.”

Thus we have one California State University president knocking down $400,000 a year. Another gets more than $300,000, plus an annual $12,000 car allowance and $60,000 a year for housing. (And the equity built by the latter redounds to the executive, not to the state.)

This year, with students justifiably angry about huge tuition increases and with faculty yelping that they won’t get a raise, the CSU trustees have backed away from plans to give top administrators a 10 percent pay bump.

Alas! Now we may lose some great leadership to private business. Then again, where is the evidence that private industry is actively recruiting the state’s campus administrators, or even that educational institutions in other states are trying to lure them away? Are other state systems so flush they can outbid California?

And though fundraising is a principal duty, shouldn’t administrators also be a little concerned about the quality of education? On the latter question they are uniformly self-congratulatory, but I can tell you that in some departments the quality isn’t so good.

So, how about an accountability system for higher education, something akin to the testing protocols imposed on K-12 schools?


Education by litigation: “Dinuba” sounds like an antacid, but it’s actually a California city, and its school board is the target of an ACLU lawsuit. It seems Dinuba is teaching English to non-English speakers as though it were “a foreign language.”

This only makes sense, because to kids who speak Spanish or Tagalog or – you name it – English is a foreign language.

The ACLU’s beef is that Dinuba’s curriculum is too hard. So is getting along without English in an English-speaking country.


From the Ministry of Propaganda: You have to love the TV spots showing an old guy touting the benefits of Obamacare. The geezer says, in effect, “I’m going to have great health coverage!” He should add, “until I’m deemed ‘too old to justify treatment.’”


Cultural abortion: According to the Los Angeles Times, the House bill to ban sex-selection abortions failed in part because, “The bill’s opponents said it had racist undertones because of indications that some Asian cultures were more likely to select their children based on sex.”

The Times said “some Asian American groups worried that the law would lead to discrimination against Asian-American women seeking abortions.”

So, it’s racist to oppose a practice condemned by American culture because it’s ingrained in an alien culture? Does this mean we have to get those laws against female circumcision off the books because it is practiced in some Arab cultures?

And really, is there any such thing as American culture?


Going to pot: California may get a new, nine-member state board to monitor the sale and taxation of marijuana. Thanks to Democrats in the Legislature, it is to include a couple of medical pot physicians, a pot patient advocate, a pot patient and a representative of unionized pot workers. Republicans have objected that a board so constituted would be biased toward pot legalization.

You think?

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