Topic: Washington State (195)

Ice Cold

[Our guest writer is Dr. Bill Lyne, Professor of English (American and African American Literature) at Western Washington University who writes a blog for the United Faculty of Washington State which represents all faculty at Central Washington University, Eastern Washington University, Western Washington University, and The Evergreen State College. The article below is reprinted in its entirety from that blog with permission from Dr. Lyne.]

So the Trump administration wants students of all ages back in the classroom come September, assuming, we must suppose, that if it’s good enough for meat packing plants, it’s good enough for schools. Some political genius in the West Wing thinks that forcing millions of students into conditions that turn them into super spreaders infecting each other, their teachers, their parents, and their grandparents will be a slick campaign move a month ahead of the election. As part of this plan, the good folks at Immigration and Customs Enforcement [ICE] threatened to take some time off from separating parents from their children and deport international college students in an effort to bend colleges to the president’s full re-opening will.

This threat drew an uncharacteristically swift response from the usually staid halls of academia. Harvard and M. I. T., followed by more than a third of states’ attorneys general and myriad other institutions from all points on the collegiate compass, immediately sued to prevent the administration from forcing students enrolled only in online classes to return to their home countries. This academic and legal flex was enough to convince the Trumpsters to rescind the offending rule ten minutes before a judge was about to rule against them.

The whole fire drill told us nothing new about the racist, xenophobic White House, but it did pull the curtain back on the vulnerability of U.S. higher education.

Our states’ and universities’ arguments and amicus briefs were eloquent descriptions of the social, cultural, and economic value of students from around the globe studying in the United States. Opening the doors of the world’s best higher education system has been an unqualified good for both the United States and the rest of the world. Had the Trump administration succeeded in expelling all international students, the results would have been devastating for both academia and the United States.

But politicians and policy makers of all stripes have been doing bad things to colleges (state defunding, curtailing affirmative action, assaults on tenure, the privatization of research, etc.) for the last forty years. It’s hard to remember a time when university bosses were so united, swift, and effective in their response as they were this time. And that’s because, along with all the intellectual and cultural upside they bring, international students also bring a lot of money.

At public colleges and universities, out-of-state and international students have become a cornerstone of the business plan. State legislatures, imagining their inadequate appropriations cover more educational costs than they do, keep a tight rein on what schools can charge in-state residents. But those who want to cross state lines and international borders for their education have remained fair game for market pricing. In 2020-21, resident undergraduate tuition at the University of Washington will be about 10k. But international students will pay 37k. For the university’s bottom line, a well-heeled international student with the means to pay full freight is worth four times as much as a student bringing their Washington College Grant from Tacoma. With tuition accounting for somewhere between half and two-thirds of public university budgets, college presidents, CFOs, and admissions directors, no matter how true they may remain in their hearts to the idea of genuinely public education, are forced to think of students as revenue streams. The financial health of the institution depends on butts in seats, and foreign butts are worth a lot more than domestic ones.

International students have become such hot commodities that a for-profit industry has sprung up around them. Companies such as INTO and Study Group offer glossy bounty hunting services to colleges desperate to cash in on students from other countries willing to pay premium rates. For a slice of the tuition (often more than a half slice in a student’s first year), these firms deliver international students to the ivy gates and help them massage the reduced academic entrance requirements that have been negotiated between the company and the campus administrators (without any input from the pesky faculty). It’s not what Lori Loughlin and Felicity Huffman got busted for, but it’s somewhere on the same continuum.

Colleges rushed to court to protect their property rights in international students because it was absolutely necessary to prevent a short-term financial disaster. But that narrowly averted possible disaster should lead us to some longer term thinking that recognizes that international students should be welcomed to our colleges solely as students, not as premium customers.

ICE’s attempt to hold lucrative international students hostage in order to bend academia to the president’s will is just another example of how the ongoing pandemic continues to reveal the dangerous ways in which public higher education has come to be financed. In the face of raging infection rates and despite biology departments full of professors telling them they’re insane, many college presidents continue to publicly imagine re-opened campuses in the fall. They’re doing this not because they don’t understand science, but because they know that lower enrollments and empty dorms and dining halls could spell financial ruin. In the same way that we need to return to the idea of international students as students and not cash machines, we need to return to the idea of public higher education as a publicly financed public good. Looking toward the world that will emerge from the pandemic, states should not cut public higher ed and the federal government should invest heavily. This would allow colleges to return to making decisions based on safety, public health, and education, and not just ransom demands.

About Guest Writer

Citizen Journalist • Member since Jun 15, 2008

Comments by Readers

Michael Riordan

Aug 20, 2020

Having taught at a prestigious private university (Stanford) and a public institution of higher education (UC Santa Cruz), I can endorse much of what Dr. Lyne says. Especially for public universities, foreign students have become a valuable commodity, and many are there primarily for that reason, not for the educational benefits they may confer. But he does not mention one of the factors driving university administrations into needing to court this commodity: the bloated six-figure salaries of many tenured professors, who may teach only once course per quarter or semester, while putting the focus of their academic efforts on research and publications.

Read More...

Kurt Sperry

Aug 20, 2020

Publicly-financed schools shouldn’t be charging tuitions at all. To anyone. You don’t see this sort of sleazy money-grubbing behavior in public primary and secondary schools for exactly this reason. Adequately fund the public schools, make that the *only* approved revenue stream for financing schools, and all the sleaze and corruption problems magically go away. University presidents perhaps could reallocate their time from begging and doing sleazy deals with deep pocket donors and funders to actual educational excellence.

Paranthetically, I doubt it’s teacher salaries driving costs as much as obscene and unprecedented high-salaried administrative bloat and spending on glitzy new campus building projects. Tenured profs *should* make the same sorts of six-figure incomes cops routinely get.

Read More...

Vernon Damani Johnson

Aug 20, 2020

Dear NW Citizen,

 

Do you have any citizen journalists who write abut issues of race? I could!

Vernon Damani Johnson

Ralph Munro Institute of Civic Education

Western Washington University

Read More...
To comment, Log In or Register

Ice Cold

By Guest WriterOn Aug 20, 2020

[Our guest writer is Dr. Bill Lyne, Professor of English (American and African American Literature) at Western Washington University who writes a blog for the United Faculty of Washington State [...]

3 comments, most recent 1 month ago

State Government Skewing Internet Test to Favor Telecoms

By Jon HumphreyOn Aug 07, 2020

[Note: This article under the same author originally appeared at Washington State Free Press on August 3rd with the same title. The update at the end of the article is [...]

7 comments, most recent 1 month ago

Western To Go All Online In September

By Dick ConoboyOn Jul 29, 2020

A memo from the Provost of WWU to the teaching staff announced today that classes for the fall session will be “predominantly online or remote” except for “face-to-face delivery for [...]

4 comments, most recent 1 month ago

COVID-19 Deaths in Whatcom County

By David A. SwansonOn Jul 26, 2020

On March 22nd, a COVID-19 case was announced at the Shuksan Long Term Care Center in Bellingham’s York Neighborhood and by March 25th the first of 11 residents had died, [...]

2 comments, most recent 1 month ago

Open The WWU Campus In September?  What Then The Toll?

By Dick ConoboyOn Jul 23, 2020

Upate: In a related development Washington State University announced today that all undergraduate classes at its Pullman campus would be online for in the fall 2020. “Given the alarming rise in [...]

11 comments, most recent 1 month ago

Republican-leaning states take the lead!

By David A. SwansonOn Jul 21, 2020

This article is co-authored with Eric Tyberg, a retired IT executive and consultant residing in Lincoln, California. Originally from Falun, Wisconsin, he rose through the ranks at IBM and formed [...]

3 comments, most recent 1 month ago

Update on the COVID-19 Warning System for San Juan County

By David A. SwansonOn Jul 18, 2020

Co-author of this article is Peter A. Morrison, Ph.D., RAND Corporation Senior Demographer (retired) and President, Peter A. Morrison and Associates, Inc. He is an applied demographer based on [...]

Why is flag at half-staff?

By John ServaisOn Jul 18, 2020

Saturday, July 18, 2020 The flag is at half-staff in honor of U.S. Representative John Lewis of Georgia who died yesterday. The presidential notice for lowering today was only issued near [...]

WWU Campus is Closed And Should Stay That Way

By Dick ConoboyOn Jul 06, 2020

Any substantial number of the student body at Western Washington University who physically return to campus in the fall will constitute a reverse Spring Break, an infectious phenomenon verified after [...]

23 comments, most recent 2 months ago

Just Whose Flag Is It Anyway?

By Dick ConoboyOn Jun 30, 2020

Who the patriot? Who the abuser? Speak! 4 U.S. Code § 8. FLAG AND SEAL, SEAT OF GOVERNMENT, AND THE STATES: Respect for flag; No disrespect should be shown to the flag [...]

15 comments, most recent 1 month ago

Revisiting the Estimation of Unconfirmed Cases of COVID-19 in Whatcom County

By David A. SwansonOn Jun 27, 2020

[Co-author of this article is Ronald E. Cossman, Ph.D., a Research Professor and Research Fellow at the Social Science Research Center at Mississippi State University. He also directs the [...]

A Tale of 39 Counties: Re-opening Washington and Political Orientation

By David A. SwansonOn Jun 21, 2020

[Co-author of this article is Eric Tyberg, a retired IT executive and consultant residing in Lincoln, California. Originally from Falun, Wisconsin, he rose through the ranks at IBM and formed [...]

12 comments, most recent 2 months ago

The Second Time As Tragedy

By Guest WriterOn Jun 18, 2020

[Our guest writer is Dr. Bill Lyne, Professor of English (American and African American Literature) at Western Washington University who writes a blog for the United Faculty of Washington State [...]

6 comments, most recent 3 months ago

A Tale of Two Counties: Re-opening Skagit and Whatcom

By David A. SwansonOn Jun 16, 2020

[Co-author of this article is Eric Tyberg, a retired IT executive and consultant residing in Lincoln, California. Originally from Falun, Wisconsin, he rose through the ranks at IBM and formed [...]

5 comments, most recent 3 months ago

Early-Warning Covid-19 Alert for San Juan County and Other Seasonal Resort Communities

By David A. SwansonOn Jun 02, 2020

[Co-author of this article is Peter A. Morrison, Ph.D., RAND Corporation Senior Demographer (retired) and President, Peter A. Morrison and Associates, Inc. He is an applied demographer based on [...]

6 comments, most recent 3 months ago

The Testing of Three Northwest Counties

By Michael RiordanOn May 14, 2020

Comparisons of the Covid-19 public-health responses and data from San Juan, Skagit, and Whatcom Counties reveal striking differences that may help these counties and Washington state chart a viable path [...]

The Pandemic And A Depression

By Guest WriterOn May 12, 2020

[This is a second article from our guest writer who does not wish to make his identity known. I refer to him as G, a retiree who moved to Bellingham [...]

3 comments, most recent 3 months ago

Monitoring the COVID-19 Pandemic in Benton County: The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

By David A. SwansonOn May 04, 2020

The COVID-pandemic in Benton County has played out differently than in Whatcom County. The baseline forecast for its expected peak on April 29th was a total of 17,716 confirmed cases, which [...]

Fairhaven Flag To Remain At Half Staff

By Dick ConoboyOn Apr 25, 2020

The American flag located in front of Bellinham’s Fairhaven Library has been lowered to half staff to recognize those who have died as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic [...]

Modeling and the Covid-19 Pandemic:  A Local Area Perspective

By David A. SwansonOn Apr 23, 2020

Modeling even simple aspects of the covid-19 pandemic is more than challenging in the United States because of the sparsity of data. There is no comprehensive testing and little is [...]

5 comments, most recent 4 months ago
{/exp:channel:category_heading}