Most Bradley students realize that the cost of tuition has steadily increased in the recent past. Most, however, probably don’t know that over the last ten years, net tuition revenue for the University has actually increased 47 percent. Probably even fewer know that over that same period, the percentage of their tuition devoted to instruction and research has also increased 26 percent. I suspect that only a very few know that percentage devoted to administration has risen 47 percent and the funds devoted to athletics have increased 240 percent.
Unfortunately, the Athletic Department still loses millions of dollars each year: from more than $2 million in 2005 to more than $7 million in fiscal year 2014. Such losses clearly can’t continue, nor can the amount of salary paid to administrators continue to rise without some new priorities, or, even better, without some new sources of revenue.
Fortunately, according to a usually reputable source, we will soon have those new sources of revenue in place. As I have been told, faculty and staff will now have to pay a fee to use the library, just as they pay to use the Markin Recreation Center or to attend men’s and women’s basketball games. In addition, says my authority, faculty will now bid on the use of classrooms—with fees adjusted to the popularity of times and days, just as the public must pay extra for prime seats at Carver Arena.
Freezing faculty hiring and salaries was a good idea, as was limiting travel to academic conferences. But we have to find additional ways to enable our soccer team to travel to both coasts in one season, our softball and baseball teams to make multiple trips to Florida, Texas and the Southwest, and our men’s basketball coach and all those vice-presidents, associate vice presidents and their assistants and associates to earn enough to, well, to do whatever they choose, I suppose. (One idea, which I’ve not yet heard discussed but which I feel is worth considering: have faculty rent their offices, with special rates for short-term leases.)
Other (even more reputable) sources have told me that faculty morale is at an all-time low. Students, it’s up to you to encourage your instructors to get with the program. Enough whining: The time for action is now.
Assoc. Professor of English