Why It’s A Good Thing Coronavirus Will Mow Down Many Colleges

Why It’s A Good Thing Coronavirus Will Mow Down Many Colleges

If this virus leads to tightening academic grants, defunding activist departments, making students more fiscally responsible, and shuttering nonessential bureaucracy in higher ed, then that’s a good thing.
Sumantra Maitra
By

An average higher education scholarship is about $2,000 a month. The average salary of a gender studies professor is about $100,000 a year. The average publication cost of an academic journal of women’s or fat studies (yes, it exists) is similar.

The average annual tuition for a student pursuing these courses while borrowing money from taxpayers, much never to be paid back, is about $25,000. The University of Michigan, for example, pays a diversity bureaucrat about $385,000 annually. What do they do, you wonder? They teach compulsory courses on diversity, like this one at the University of Mississippi.

Average home tests for coronavirus, on the other hand, are estimated to be about £6, or about $8, per unit during full production. A seamstress can sew a mask at $5 apiece. Many things make us angry that shouldn’t because we live in some of the most advanced times in human history and our tribulations compared to our forefathers’ are minimal. But if the wastage of academic funds during a pandemic doesn’t bother you, I don’t know what might.

Higher Ed Needs Serious Reform

Twenty-eight different types of scholarships, grants, and part-time campus employment opportunities are listed in the Rutgers University Department of Women’s, Gender, and Sexuality Studies, including full-tuition scholarships. Likewise, here in the U.K., Sussex University has an array of funding for research such as Queer International Relations.

Why is this seemingly trivial information important? Because these and similar activist departments are the ones that have repeatedly taught that obesity isn’t an underlying condition, but fatphobia kills people, men and women are all the same, and gender is a social construct. These departments are laughable.

Even though the deaths from the coronavirus are overwhelmingly male, you can still read articles about how coronavirus disproportionately affects women and how this plague is a disaster for feminism. Influenced by academic theories, The Guardian is waxing lyrical about how the United Nations is warning that women are most affected by this Chinese virus. There are currently four articles in the BBC about the effect of coronavirus on minorities, ignoring that the underlying cause is obesity and unhealthy junk food consumption, as said by a doctor herself.

Since the 1980s, academia has turned to a self-referencing business racket, duping taxpayers and students. Every meritorious discipline has been hijacked by academic charlatans, frauds, and ideologues. Now universities are already crying that the sector might need a bailout because otherwise they will have to shut down programs after the economic crash.

They do not need a bailout. They need economic pressure. This is a golden opportunity to do what every conservative leader promises to do but never does: reform the education sector. It is not the government’s job to tell a university what to teach, but it is the government’s job to make sure taxpayer money is being spent well.

A lot of teaching can be done online, cutting down the need for elaborate classrooms and lectures. Expendable facilities such as gyms and clubs can be streamlined. For example, while universities might retain a debate club and a football team as they always have, they may not need a transgender support system.

Likewise, counsellors employed to coddle students who cannot take the pressure of higher education and other nonessential bureaucrats will inevitably get the boot. If one is too mentally fragile for higher ed, he or she shouldn’t be at college.

Universities Should Have to Think Before They Spend

Necessity is the mother of prioritization, and with lack of funding must come greater political scrutiny on universities and on which departments and disciplines they are spending grant money on. Disciplines like race studies, ethnic studies, women’s and gender and sexuality studies, and post-colonial studies lack academic rigor, as the debate over the 1619 Project and the blowback from real historians made amply clear. These are not academic but ideological subjects.

If funding tightens, a college would have to think twice before deciding which department it should focus on. If the pandemic has taught us anything, it’s that perhaps those grants should be spent on subjects that help the U.S. economy and national interest. It would cut reliance on China and end student debt acquired with spurious, self-hating, ideological gibberish.

It would also provide an opportunity for students to know which subjects will return their investment and debt. Texas Public Policy Foundation, for example, provides tools to measure college earning and debt by various majors. When the grant tap is tightened, students will be forced to choose their courses not because they “feel like it,” but based on the return they will get from the degrees.

If there’s no feminist glaciology course, no student would spend $20,000 on such nonsense. Instead, maybe they would learn to sew masks for a much lesser cost and a much greater return. Coronavirus and the changes in higher ed might, therefore, help increase a sense of fiscal responsibility.

Higher education is not a right, despite what Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, D-N.Y., claims. In fact, as The Guardian stated, only 20 percent of jobs require any undergraduate degree, and about 50 percent of students do not show any cognitive improvement during their time in college, which renders the experience of half the students useless and only clogs up the workforce with degree-holders.

Meanwhile, since universities have turned to businesses and bureaucracy is a self-serving organism only interested in perpetuating its own survival, most money is wasted on nonessential administrative work. In the U.K., for example, admin jobs at universities have increased 221 percent, resulting in rising tuition. The salaries must come from somewhere.

Every devastating pestilence or war in human history changed the economic and political direction of humanity, ever since Thucydides chronicled the plague in Athens. Coronavirus will change a lot as well, but nowhere should the changes be more visible than higher education. If there’s one industry that needs to be torched, streamlined, and restructured to prioritize social needs, it is higher education.

Sumantra Maitra is a doctoral researcher at the University of Nottingham, UK, and a senior contributor to The Federalist. His research is in great power-politics and neorealism. You can find him on Twitter @MrMaitra.

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