Read Between the Lines of the Bond Boosters

Well, there’s no denying that this is not a desirable occurrence:

Take former doctoral student Marcel Benz, for example. In 2001, he had to throw out a year’s experimentation because there was no way to control temperature and humidity in the building.
The impact of Benz’s experience reached far beyond his lab, because a private company had been counting on his research to move forward with a new technology for infrared sensors.

Even given the professed gravity of the deficiency, though, I’m not sure that this follows:

URI President David M. Dooley agrees that Benz’s story captures the inadequacy of current facilities for education and research in the chemical and forensic sciences.
He and many other supporters of Rhode Island’s public college system urge voters to approve Question 2 on Tuesday’s ballot.

First, I have to say that I’m not sure why voters should be very concerned that a private company did not receive publicly funded research on which it was counting.
More to the point, though: perhaps I missed the months of protracted labor disputes, when the universities shaved down professorial salaries and benefits in order to support spending on adequate learning facilities. Maybe I’m just not recalling the administrations’ appeals to the public for support in dispensing with ivory-tower frivolities like diversity offices. I haven’t yet seen an op-ed by a college or university president containing lines like, “In times when our most promising chemistry students cannot conduct the very experiments for which they’re being trained, we must be more realistic about what aspects of the ‘college experience’ we can afford to sustain.”
If the targets of these bonds were so important that a struggling private sector should commit to further debt and additional economy-killing taxes to support that debt, then those who stand to benefit from them directly would be leading the way in modifying their own behavior.

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Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

I keep saying every two years that we need an organization to oppose these bond measures. At least to get the counterargument out there. We have the people who would benefit from the bond advocating for it, but we never have anyone against it offering alternatives.
Maybe I’ll finally get that together next time!

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

“First, I have to say that I’m not sure why voters should be very concerned that a private company did not receive publicly funded research on which it was counting.” –Justin
Maybe it was part of your “sruggling private sector”. Perhaps this company could not begin it’s manufacture of a product that was dependent on the completion of the research being done. No product no jobs. Perhaps there will be other situations such as this in the future where the work being done at universities will have a direct impact in the private sector.
Also not all in the private sector are struggling as money gushes into Republican campaigns all over the country from those who wish to roll back the recent financial reform among other things.
But who needs science when you’ve got your beliefs in the way things ought to be.

Justin Katz
10 years ago

Phil,
All of your “maybes” are conspicuously absent from the Projo article. Maybe the company was based in France with manufacturing facilities in China. Who knows?

Phil
Phil
10 years ago

“perhaps I missed the months of protracted labor disputes”
“Maybe I’m just not recalling the administrations’ appeals to the public for support in dispensing with ivory-tower frivolities like diversity offices.”
Perhaps and maybe. Two can play at that game.
Later this morning as I take a little break from my work with the oysters I may gaze across the Bay towards Bristol, the home of Roger Williams College where there is an aquaculture department that aids and assists economic efforts such as mine. We need to support higher education and the sciences. Vote yes.

George
George
10 years ago

Vote NO! We can’t afford to borrow any more! If the effort is worthy, concerned and interested individuals will make it happen. Government interferrence only un-levels the playing field… and creates the illusion of the need for more Government “aid”. It’s a sickening cycle that must be stopped. Be brave citizens, vote NO!

OldTimeLefty
10 years ago

To cut to the chase, here is a statement from Cornell University:

The Office of the Dean of Students affirms and supports the variety of identities and interests that Cornell students present by sponsoring clubs, events, peer to peer interactions, and other activities that enhance students’ well-being and celebrate their differences whether they be cultural, religious, sexual preference, or gender identity. Through many opportunities for student involvement, the Office fosters the concept that individual identities and experiences are respected and that the unique contribution of each Cornell student is valued.

I can see why single minded unimaginative people would oppose diversity. Justin is right on cue here. As to his remark that taxes kill the economy, I say, “Sez you! Prove it”.
OldTimeLefty

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
10 years ago

Phil-I voted against the bond issue with regret.
I fully supported the chemistry building,but I would not vote for an “art” center at RIC.
Public funding of “art” is not affordable these days.
A lot of that “art” is disgusting anyway.Some punk putting a piece of dog poop on our flag or similar garbage.
Go call me names over it,but they should’ve stuck to just the science end of it.

mangeek
mangeek
10 years ago

“We need to support higher education and the sciences. Vote yes.”
We couldn’t support it inside the budget? Can’t find $78M inside a $6,500M budget?
I ‘support higher education’ too, but there’s a right way and a wrong way to do it. Issuing bonds to patch up holes in a fundamentally broken structure is silly.

James Kabala
James Kabala
10 years ago

“[P]erhaps I missed the months of protracted labor disputes, when the universities shaved down professorial salaries and benefits in order to support spending on adequate learning facilities.”
I agree with your main points (and I did not vote for the bond issue), but you should know that many classes at all three state institutions of higher education (URI, RIC, CCRI) are taught by adjunct professors who make $3,000 or even $2,000 per course (and no health benefits).

Patrick
Patrick
10 years ago

What they really should do is prioritize all their needs, top to bottom. Fund from the top down and then send out the bond referendum for the things at the bottom.
I’m guessing then we’ll be asked whether we want to fund the URI football team or the RIC glee club.
It’s just a matter of priorities.

social media marketing
social media marketing
9 years ago

Very, very helpful.. cheers!

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