USC Sees Increase in Administrative Staff

From the Daily Trojan:
“Amid concern over rising tuition, USC has seen a 305.8 percent increase in hired administrative employees over a 25 year period, while the number of enrolled students has only increased by 66.3 percent, according to a study by the New England Center for Investigative Reporting and the American Institutes for Research which looked at data from 1987 until the 2011-12 academic year.
The administrative increase comes during a time when colleges have claimed it necessary to both cut costs and raise tuition. The increase in university staffers who neither conduct research nor teach has continued, slowing only slightly during the economic downturn.”
Read the whole story here.

Back to School: The Price We Pay in 4 Graphics

Fall semester is in full swing, and our campus is buzzing with activity. The first weeks of back on campus are always an exciting time for students and faculty, and this year is no exception.
This year, however, we’re paying special attention to university priorities, and working hard to ensure university resources are going to the places they’re needed most.
As you may have noticed, students are paying more than ever before to attend classes at USC. Since 2001 tuition has increased 92%, and this year will be our most expensive yet.
As tuition continues to climb, we all pay the price: students, parents, faculty, and the community.
 Many Trojans rely on student loans to cover the cost of tuition, and as a result, these students and their families are taking on greater amounts of student debt than any generation before them.
At USC, the average borrower is now looking at $28,474 in undergraduate student debt upon graduation.1
 Among all universities in the country, USC is ranked 5th in graduate student loan debt. That’s $460 million of debt to USC graduate students in 2013-2014.2
So where’s all that money going?
It’s not going to our talented Trojan faculty, who are working harder than ever to deliver a world-class education to students. Despite their dedication, the majority of our professors work in contingent, part-time positions offering low pay, limited benefits, and no job security. In fact, 69% of USC faculty work in contingent positions, hired on temporary, semester-to-semester contracts.3
Being a professor – once a stable, middle-class career – has become a low-wage, precarious job with an uncertain future.
We have seen a dramatic shift away from investment in university educators and affordable, accessible higher education for students. Instead of investing in student learning, our university has continued to dump money into lavish infrastructure projects and bloated administrative salaries.
As evidenced in an analysis of USC’s expenses, “Other Salaries and Wages” remains the single largest expense category, and has increased twice as much as faculty salaries over the last 4 years.
And USC top 8 executive compensation has more than tripled since 2001.
Faculty are working harder without job security, for lower pay, and with less institutional support than ever before. Students and parents are paying more than ever, and taking on debt that could hold them back for years to come.
With assets totaling over $10 billion, our university has the resources and capacity to make drastic improvements for students and faculty. Instead, USC continues to drive the widening gap of income inequality in Los Angeles through skyrocketing tuition and unstable, temporary employment for faculty.
This corporate model of education runs contrary to our educational mission.
It’s time for a change. Together we can hold USC accountable.
 Our university needs to invest the proper amount in instruction, giving our professors the support they need to deliver quality education to students.
No longer can USC prioritize profits over the stability of student education. Students and families should not be faced with a lifetime of crippling student debt. Faculty should not be living check-to-check while our university rakes in millions.
Tuition funds should support student learning, not line clash royale free gems the pockets of wealthy administrators and corporate board members.
We are united to fight for a better USC, and this year we’re taking action.
Stay tuned as we fight for quality, affordable education for students and good jobs for faculty.
Get involved:
Sign up for regular updates and campus action alerts here.
Have you been affected by our university’s business model of education? Share your story here.
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1 SOURCE: College Insight indicates USC’s graduates average $28,474 in debt upon graduation:
2 SOURCE: Center for American Progress Analysis of U.S. Department of Education Data:
3 SOURCE: Integrated Postsecondary Education Data System (IPEDS). Title IV participating institutions: Public, 2 year and 4 year and above; Private, not-for-profit, 4 year and above; For-profit, 2 year and 4 year and above. Institution employees (excluding medical school)- all staff with faculty status that are Tenured, On Tenure Track or Not on Tenure Track/No Tenure System, Fall 2013 and Fall 2003. Contingent refers to all employees with faculty status Not on Tenure Track/Tenure System.

There Is No Excuse for How Universities Treat Adjuncts

Caroline Fredrickson of The Atlantic writes:
“That colleges and universities have turned more and more of their frontline employees into part-time contractors suggests how far they have drifted from what they say they are all about (teaching students) to what they are increasingly all about (conducting research, running sports franchises, or, among for-profits, delivering shareholder value).”
“The problem is that universities are using their power in ways that shortchange both contingent teachers and, ultimately, students.”
69% of USC faculty work in contingent positions. Head to The Atlantic for the full story.

Colleges Flush With Cash Saddle Poorest Students With Debt

From Long Island Press:
“NYU is not the only university with a billion-dollar endowment to leave its poorest students with heavy debt loads. More than a quarter of the nation’s 60 wealthiest universities leave their low-income students owing an average of more than $20,000 in federal loans.
At the University of Southern California, which has a $4.6 billion endowment, low-income students graduate with slightly more debt than NYU’s graduates: $23,375.”
Click here for full story.

USC Administration Shuts Down Art Students’ Blog

HyperAllergic on the latest in a long string of recent conflicts at Roski:
As tensions between the students and the Dean heated up, especially surrounding the mass drop out of the #USC7 earlier this year, “the Tumblr turned into a hosting site for our many open letters and support comments from our petition to remove Dean Muhl,” said Jacinto Astiazarán who graduated in 2015. He sees the timing of the site’s deletion as directly related to these recent conflicts. “Beyond it being a retaliative move, it was a strategic attempt at wiping those statements off the web.”
So much for academic freedom? Read the whole thing here.

USC’s Once Heralded MFA Program Opens With Only One Student

You read that right. From the LA Weekly:
“It’s an absurdly small class for any MFA program, and particularly for USC’s Roski School of Art and Design. Last May, the once-lauded program suffered a devastating blow when the entire class of 2016 left the school in protest of alleged broken promises and a perceived corporate takeover of the program.”
THIS. THIS is the price we pay for the corporatization of higher education. Head over to the LA Weekly for the full article.

Stop Universities From Hoarding Money

From the New York Times:
“Who do you think received more cash from Yale’s endowment last year: Yale students, or the private equity fund managers hired to invest the university’s money?
It’s not even close.
Last year, Yale paid about $480 million to private equity fund managers as compensation — about $137 million in annual management fees, and another $343 million in performance fees, also known as carried interest — to manage about $8 billion, one-third of Yale’s endowment.”
USC’s endowment currently sits at $4.6 billion. Who do you think got more cash from the endowment last year: USC students or Wall Street equity managers?
Read the full New York Times story here.

USC Students Say Steve Sarkisian Got Off Too Easy

In the wake of his actions at the Salute to Troy rally, students are demanding accountability from the administration. From the Los Angeles Times:
“I think it’s important to have some accountability,” Rainbolt said. “But I feel like football is a different thing. If football players do something wrong, it doesn’t really matter because sports are pretty big.”
Leonette Espina, 19, said it was ironic that a university seemingly strict about drinking would let its coach off so lightly. “I think the coach should be more responsible and be a good example to the students,” she said.
Head over to the Los Angeles Times for more.

Steve Sarkisian Will Seek Treatment in Wake of 'irresponsible' Conduct at USC Rally

The Los Angeles Times reports:
“But then at the annual “Salute to Troy” pep rally, before a campus crowd of well-heeled donors, players and their parents, an apparently intoxicated Coach Steve Sarkisian slurred his words, insulted opposing teams and added an expletive to the school’s rallying cry, “Fight On!”
A video clip of his antics went viral. Suddenly, USC had a crisis on its hands. One of its highest-paid employees, the leader of its lucrative, face-of-the-university football program, had stumbled publicly, embarrassing himself and the school.”

The Dean of the USC Art School With Only One MFA Student Responds to Her Critics

After weeks of turmoil at Roski, Dean Muhl sits down with the Los Angeles Times:
“Regarding the MFA itself, we consider the changes we’ve made to be pretty minor especially in the context of a two-year course of study. Some don’t feel that is so. But I feel that we’re crafting it in a way that is unique to USC and distinguishes it from its peers.”
Minor changes? That must be why the entire 2016 MFA class dropped out, and another 72 alumni penned an open letter criticizing the corporatization of Roski