From The Bee’s story about Sunday’s firing of Fresno State football head coach Tim DeRuyter:
DeRuyter still is owed $3.1 million under a five-year contract signed after the 2013 season with two conference championships in two seasons on the resume.
It is not immediately known if that money has been raised through private donations, will be covered by the university or a combination of the two.
I know this is the way the world works, but it still ticks me off.
And it made me ponder: Think of how much $3.1 million would go toward, say, building a new performing arts center at Fresno State.
I’ll spare you my extended predictable ranting about the football-industrial complex and its grip on both public and private purses across the nation, and about a society that decides it’s much more important at a public university to pay football coaches millions than spend that money on better salaries for professors, facilities, scholarships and all the other things that are integral to the education process. Well, I’ll mostly spare you. (Like corporate CEOs, football coaches have managed to manipulate supply-and-demand principles into bonanza paydays by elevating salaries for their rarefied ranks across the board. It’s become an arms race, with football-crazy schools continually bidding up the compensation. Just imagine if there were that kind of competition for outstanding teachers.)
Instead, I’ll ask: What would you use that $3.1 million for at Fresno State instead?
My pick: Put it toward a new performing arts center. Have you ever seen Cal Poly San Luis Obispo’s gorgeous venue? Imagine that at Fresno State.
Here are reader suggestions:
How many full-ride scholarships for first-generation college students from the Central Valley would $3.1 million pay for? $3.1 million would provide approximately 80 full-ride scholarships (tuition: $6,815, estimated housing $15,000-$20,000, food: $10,00, Books: $1,800. About $37,000 a year.)
Reduce student debt
I’d rather see that wad of ca$h placed in an endowed fund to help students pay off the mountain of student debt. With a majority of Fresno State students graduating with an insurmountable debt, it’s highly unlikely that they will be able to purchase a home anytime soon (even in the Central Valley), attend graduate school (where they will just add more student debt), or be able to work in public service-such as arts organizations, as teachers, in law enforcement, etc. – So, we lose some of our brightest and best to “higher paying” jobs, in higher paying locales. When a student graduates with so much student debt, it’s going to be tough for them to ever be a donor to Fresno State-to an alumni fund, or to a new stadium.
How about setting a fund and then using the annual returns to set up a permanent chamber music program in a few local high schools run by Fresno State professors and students? There would be enough cash to hire teachers and have them set up ensembles which could perform in the local community. They could be trained not only in how to play their instruments but in the entire process of putting on music in the community; you could extend this up to Fresno State so it feeds in. Imagine how much music this would generate as the students spend half a decade playing chamber music in the area and then graduating with the capacity to continue building the local arts scene. With 3.1 million you could set this up to run indefinitely ...
New social science building
There has been some talk of updating it or modernizing it, but I want it gone. I want to see it demolished. And I want to be there when it happens. I want the building to look up, right before the end, and see me -- laughing. I want it to know just before the demolition that it was me.
I would use $3.1-Million to expand inter-disciplinary programs, such as Cognitive Science, or more aptly, continuing education type of courses (adapt skills to new trends and faster-moving technology, etc).
Consider the fact that commercial colleges are shutting-down due to predatory loan practices. This means an influx of students who want a "formal" education. Most of these commercial colleges, predatory practices aside, offered credits via "life experience" (after a fashion). Commercial colleges were also more focused on practical matters, rather than the theory in an isolated discipline. (Much like they led to the rise of targeted "academies" to learn tech skills quickly.)
Inter-disciplinary is the way to go; to understand the intersections of different (theoretical) disciplines. Have we not known that social sciences intersect with psychology, and that as technology moves faster, we can leverage technology to bridge a gap?
I might be biased: I'm among the first few Cog Sci grads from CSU Fresno.
Hire a Nobel Prize winner
From Columbia University, lure away Horst L. Störmer, winner of the 1998 Nobel Prize in Physics. Just ‘cause you can.
Place to park
A parking structure so I don't have to get to school 45 mins early just to get parking and get to class on time.
Salute to baseball
How about handing out full scholarships to our baseball team!? A lot more successful than football and basketball has ever been.
One more contribution from me: At $10 a pound in bulk, you could erect a 310,000-pound mountain in front of the University Union. Dive in and enjoy, students.