My students often use the term irony in a very loose, colloquial fashion that simply means funny or odd. What they really mean, most often, isn’t irony technically, it’s happenstance. Irony involves a kind of reversal. It’s ironic, for example, when an organization like the American Council of Trustees and Alumni praises President Obama’s critique of university spending.
The ACTA is nothing but supportive of top-down administrative control, and it’s administrators that have promoted the “spas” and “food courts” that they believe help promote their schools to parents and alumni. It’s administrators that have emphasized the academic star system that allows certain professors to avoid the classroom; it’s administrators that believe they need huge marketing budgets.
When will the ACTA criticize the profligate spending on athletics, especially football and basketball? When hell freezes over. On the other hand, Obama says nothing about the disastrous labor policies common in U.S. higher education, and he neglects to mention the administrative costs– many avoidable– that have helped drive up the costs of education. So perhaps this is just happenstance.