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April 2024

"How to fix college finances? Eliminate faculty, then students."

Following in the grand footsteps of Jonathan Swift, Professor Gary Smith delivers a terrific satire. Here's the setup:

I will use Pomona College, where I have taught for decades, as a specific example of how easily my proposal might be implemented. In 1990, Pomona had 1,487 students, 180 tenured and tenure-track professors, and 56 administrators — deans, associate deans, assistant deans and the like, not counting clerical staff, cleaners and so on. As of 2022, the most recent year for which I have data, the number of students had increased 17 percent, to 1,740, while the number of professors had fallen to 175. The number of administrators had increased to 310, an average of 7.93 new administrators per year. Even for a college as rich as Pomona, this insatiable demand for administrators will eventually cause a budget squeeze. Happily, there is a simple solution.