And Don't Blame Me, Either


At Reason, Neetu Arnold tells a hard truth: University Budget Cuts Were Overdue. And the University Near Here appears:

The bursting of the higher education bubble has finally struck its first blow, and it is a serious one. Several major public universities have announced multimillion dollar budget cuts in January, citing enrollment declines among other factors. Pennsylvania State University expects to cut $94 million from its budget starting in July 2025. The University of Connecticut (UConn) announced significant budget cuts in response to its projected $70 million deficit. And the University of New Hampshire (UNH) will slash expenses by $14 million.

The caterwauling is loud indeed. There's more UNH-specific stuff later in the article:

But even when making the right decisions, universities are too trepidatious. UNH, for example, will cut certain programs at its Aulbani J. Beauregard Center for Equity, Justice, and Freedom. Yet they have not indicated whether only staff or the entire department would be cut. This is not nearly far enough: Not only are diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) administrative units like the Beauregard Center unnecessary and expensive, but they are also harmful to the campus environment. DEI initiatives have led universities to monitor what students and faculty say through bias reporting systems and filtered faculty hiring based on race and political views. Budget cuts should not be needed to cut down on these departments—they should never have been created in the first place.

Instead of making further cuts to superfluous administrators, UNH was quick to close its 60-year-old art museum. The museum housed art that faculty regularly incorporated into classes. Some estimate that the art museum operated at just under $1 million annually. The university could have pursued cuts to other departments before going after a key academic institution. Notably, UNH spends more than $1 million on base salaries for DEI staff alone. This estimate is conservative: It excludes benefits, departmental costs, and other roles at the university related to DEI.

I've recently mentioned UNH's massive DEI bureaucracy here, here, and here. In that last item, I mentioned that the Aulbani J. Beauregard Center for Equity, Justice, and Freedom didn't seem to actually do much; it had space for "Programs & Events" but nothing listed.

Well, <voice imitation="professor_farnsworth">good news, everyone!</voice>: they now list one upcoming event: "Pride and Pancakes" on April 9, the day after the solar eclipse.

It's actually being put on by different tentacles of the DEI octopus: the "Office of Community, Equity and Diversity" and the "Kidder Fund Committee". That last one is set up to distribute various "awards" to (for example) those who actively promote "diversity, equity, and inclusion on campus through fostering respectful attitudes, behaviors, and standards."

I'd say more stuff needs to be on the chopping block at UNH.

Also of note:

  • I'd bet you've been asking yourself: is Mark Zuckerberg a murderer? Fortunately, Robby Soave has done the necessary investigation and reports: No, Mark Zuckerberg Is Not a Murderer. After noting some (dreadful) cases where technology was used to perpetrate privacy invasion, blackmail, and other crimes, Soave notes that blaming the technology is convenient, but stupid.

    Many Republicans intuitively understand this principle when it comes to other subjects. Indeed, the GOP generally takes the position that if one person shoots another person, the victim ought not to sue the gun manufacturer. Guns don't kill people, people do is a common maxim of Second Amendment supporters—and in my view, they're right!

    But when it comes to social media—where the extent of the harm to young people is not in any meaningful way settled, and in fact routinely exaggerated—many Republicans are marching in lockstep with their Democratic colleagues. At the hearing, Graham echoed the exact rhetoric of Democrats, accusing Zuckerberg and the others of having "blood on your hands." Of course, Graham is far from the first political figure to make this exact claim: In July 2021, President Joe Biden accused Zuckerberg of literally "killing people" because Facebook and Instagram had not done more to purge content that was critical of COVID-19 mandates.

    That's the broader agenda of both the Democratic and Republican parties: greater government control over social media content.

    I have in the past proposed a general rule: "There's nothing wrong with        that government can't make worse." Fill in the blank here with "Facebook".

  • [Amazon Link]
    (paid link)
    Perhaps the last thing about the thing that I didn't know was a thing until last week. Josh Barro poses the excellent question: Why Does Taylor Swift Make People Insane? (And gives me another excuse to point to the Thomas Szasz book I'm currently reading.)

    Of course, the recent insanity has come from the right, but Barro notes it hasn't always been that way:

    And yet, not every breathless statement in this montage that led The Recount to declare that “Taylor Swift has broken Fox News” can be blamed on the conservative fever swamps. When Fox host Jesse Waters told his viewers “the New York Times just speculated she’s a lesbian,” he was saying something true. Or, at least it was very close to true — last month, the Times really did run a feverish and interminable (4,776 words!) essay consisting of an opinion editor’s desperate hopes and speculations on behalf of her fellow “Gaylors” that Swift is bisexual, as can apparently be learned through a close reading of hidden messages in Swift’s videos, lyrics, and public statements. In one instance, the author cites Swift’s explicit statement that she is not part of the LGBT community as a possible sign that she is in the closet. In another, she suggests Swift would have come out by now if not for the unfortunate distraction of Scooter Braun buying her masters. The essay truly must be read1 to be believed — when I tell people this essay exists and was published not on LiveJournal but in the most prestigious newspaper in the world, they initially think they must have misunderstood what I was saying. But what Jesse Watters and I are describing actually happened, with multiple employees of The New York Times Company having decided it was a good idea.

    And that’s just insanity from January. In December, when Swift was named Time Magazine’s Person of the Year, Donald Trump apparently grumbled to associates that he should have been given the award, since he’s more famous and has more fans than her. Meanwhile, left-wing activist Saira Rao — most famous for charging $5,000 to yell at liberal white women over dinner for being racist — had a different complaint. She said on Twitter that Swift was a “white American woman billionaire who could end the genocide of Palestinians with on [sic] IG post” but that she doesn’t because of “white love of Black and brown genocide.”

    I may have to break down someday and listen to a Taylor Swift song. But today is not that day.

  • On the LFOD watch. The Conway Daily Sun's Quote of the Week rang my Google news alert. It's from

    Years ago, Guy Waterman, one of New Hampshire’s leading conservation and preservationists, hiked to the top of a mountain in the Whites and purposely froze to death. ... This shouldn’t have to happen in the country’s Live Free or Die state.

    That's from State Rep. Steve Woodcock (D-Conway) on HB 1283, “An Act Relative to End of Life Options”.

    I believe Woodcock is saying to Waterman, in essence: "You're doing it wrong!"