My Wife Drives Two Cadillacs

In my mostly half serious quest to found a new academic discipline called ‘corruption studies’ I’d like to draw on the study of racial intolerance and white supremacy, which distinguishes between run of the mill individual racism and institutionalize racism. A similar distinction can be made between corrupt people in academia– administrative supremacists, as it were– and institutionalized corruption. Each is in the news in Illinois this week.

The institutionalized corruption in question starts with the ongoing rise in salaries of administrators despite the ongoing funding crisis of higher education and the economic slow-down. While Rome burns, it seems, administrators are only willing to slow down their greed to a few points below inflation (“Salaries Rise for Senior Administrators but Lag Behind Inflation“).  It’s a “my wife drives two Cadillacs” sort of  class callousness.

Also corrupt is the “clout” system at the University of Illinois, now nominally ended, that facilitated the admissions of well placed students (“Relatives of lobbyists, campaign donors got lawmakers’ help to enter U. of I.“). Interestingly, the man hired to run the system in the wake of that scandal, President Hogan, has been asked to resign after his right-hand woman was caught trying to manipulate faculty opinion via faked email.

Faculty are calling for Hogan’s resignation, citing a “lack of confidence” (“UI Faculty Urge President Hogan to Resign“).  Hogan belongs in the “my wife drives two Cadillacs” file not only because he shows no sign of stepping down but also because he arranged to have the author of the email, Lisa Troyer, given a tenured faculty position (“Lisa Troyer Accepts Faculty Job with U of I“). That’s individual corruption raised to an art form.

About Ray Watkins

I was born in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, at Our Lady of the Lake Hospital. I grew up in Houston, as a part of what we only half-jokingly call the Cajun Diaspora. At a certain point during the Regan administration, I had to leave, so I served in the Peace Corps, Philippines, from 1987-89. I didn't want to return to the United States just yet, so I moved to Paris, France, where I lived for three years or so. I then moved back to Austin, Texas, where I had received my Masters Degree, and (eventually) began a Ph.D., which I completed in 1999. I spent a year at Temple University and then accepted a position at Eastern Illinois University where I worked until May of 2006. I now work exclusively on line (although that may change) for Johns Hopkins, the Art Institute Online, and Smarthinking.com. I can be reached most easily via email: raywatkins [that 'at' symbol] writinginthewild.com

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