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Occupation: Girl

Please close the door and switch on the fun without fail.

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Okay. I have never actually said which school I went to as an undergraduate, but I'm going to tell you that it was Birmingham-Southern, because they are pretty much dead to me now. My friend David on Twitter--well, one of my two friends David on Twitter--mentioned an email that BSC sent out, announcing some grade-A fuckery. I don't think they have my current address, because I didn't get it, or else they somehow sensed that it would make my head explode. But now David's forwarded it to me, so this is all straight from the school's mouth. You can read it here, if you scroll down.

Let me rewind a little for you here. Birmingham-Southern is--was--a wonderful little liberal arts school with great fine and performing arts programs and a really good basketball team. It had a small creative writing program that, when I was there, was trying to get more funding and do the best it could. I was in a couple of different editorial positions on the literary magazine while I was there. And one of the primary reasons I went to this school was because it did not have a football team. I had gone to a high school that was very focused on football, and quite honestly, I wanted to go to a school where someone would give a shit about arts and academics. I'm perfectly happy for people to go to football schools, but that's not where I wanted to go, and there are very few places in Alabama that aren't football schools. This was one of them.

WELL NOT ANYMORE, THAT IS. Shortly after I left, Dr. Neal Berte--the school's beloved president of many years--retired. And then this David Pollick person became the new president, and then This David Pollick Person took it upon himself to acquire us a football team and A STADIUM, and if that was someone else's call, tell me, so I can blow them up with the power of my mind instead. And now, NOW, the arts and academics are getting cut. BEHOLD:

A total of 29 faculty members were given notice that their positions would be eliminated within the next two years. Many of the faculty members cut today were tenured, but tenured and tenure-track faculty members will be given one-year contracts for the upcoming school year.

Altogether five majors were cut from the college’s offerings. Those majors included accounting, computer science, dance, French and German.

One non-tenured faculty member was cut from the math department and three non-tenured faculty were cut from the English department.

One of those, by the way, was a friend of mine. It also looks like one of my favorite professors may get cut next year. For the record, I was a double French/Spanish major, by which I mean FUCK YOU. Seriously, FUCK YOU.

Back to the article:

The cuts follow the discovery of deep and long-term financial problems at the college. In recent weeks, BSC faculty members have privately expressed frustration with the administration’s lack of transparency. In particular, faculty and staff were upset that when they had voiced concerns earlier in the fiscal year, they had been falsely assured the college’s financial condition was in good standing.

For the last several years, BSC has undertaken a series of expensive capital projects, including new dormitories, athletic fields and a welcome center. Few, if any, members of the campus community realized that the college was hemorrhaging cash at the same time these projects were underway.

I just--I would like to continue ranting and quoting fuckwittery at you, but I have a migraine now. I just. I can't. What. This school was a rescue for people, people who didn't fit in at schools that are all about sports (which, around here, is most of them). This school was a place to prove to people that there was, in fact, room in the world for them. And now that place is being taken away. Because God knows we don't have ENOUGH FOOTBALL TEAMS IN ALABAMA.

As a final note, please enjoy the BSC President David Pollick Must Go Facebook group.

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WTF? Ugh, that's ridiculous. I remember being surprised that the University that Ate Birmingham had a football team when MrElusiveN went there for his Masters' degree.

South Alabama got a team in the last year, too, but it's pretty ridiculous, how little attention is being paid to it.

Edited at 2010-07-23 03:58 am (UTC)

I don't blame you for being pissed off. My god - FIVE whole majors, and it's not like computer science or accounting or languages like French and German are overly esoteric or specialized programs, all so they can have their precious football team which will probably never win anything because their league is too small to attract any good players away from the larger colleges and university in your area.

The vast stupidity of some people never ceases to amaze.

Yeah, that's what I thought too. It's not like they cut "applied orinthology" or something like that. They cut frickin' FRENCH. Because NO ONE needs to know that.

Is there a club for Those Who Hate Their Alma Mater? Or should we start one? I didn't go to Birmingham Southern, but I'd sure be pissed if I did. I hate the school that issued my degree for different reasons, lol. Although they do play the "football is more important than everything" card every now and then.

I WILL JOIN THIS CLUB. Goddammit, NYU is a fucking cancer on the Village.

Admittedly, my loathing first began when they turned one of my favourite nightclubs into a high-rise dorm. WHERE WILL THEIR MANIFEST DESTINY END.

Ugh...the South. My people. What is it WITH you and American football? Being a high school teacher I run into this crap ALL the frickin' time. Why do we need five football coaches while our VERY GOOD soccer team can't get a pension for an assistant coach? While our department has to beg, borrow and steal everything we just about have? Priorities people.

Obviously not the same thing you're dealing with, but I obviously have some deep seated issues here.

oh no, they always try to justify it as that the football team brings in attention and advertising and money and donors.

Which is a wonderful long term gamble if it works, but in the meantime it means lots of cuts that may not heal.

This is a load of BULLSHIT.

There are still great liberal arts schools out there not focused at all on sports and totally safe havens for us academic/art nerds.

Cornell College in Mt Vernon, IA is one of them (Class of 2008 representin here!)


Yeah... but they're not in Alabama. :(

(I went to another of those; Mills College in Oakland, CA has athletics, but academics have always been more important, and our music and dance and art programs are famous. This obsession with football, it is Fail.)

(See icon for my response to the whole situation.)

Edited at 2010-07-23 04:19 am (UTC)

That is seriously horrible. It always makes me sad when I see colleges and universities place sports ahead of academics.

Some people are brought into educational institutions to ruin things. In my junior year at my arts high school, they replaced the woman who had founded the multi-award winning department with a bureaucrat who proceeded to alienate most of the students and force out the long-standing professional artists who were teaching in favour of her pet idiots (seriously. One of them taught a theatre history course and identified Wilde as a Restoration playwright). She was involved in several cases of verbally and emotionally harassing students (I was one of the students) and when we complained, the office of education higher-ups protected her. She's still there and I prefer to pretend the school no longer exists.

(seriously. One of them taught a theatre history course and identified Wilde as a Restoration playwright).

I'm sorry, I think I just fell into a rage blackout. Can you repeat that?

I hope the football team gets its ass kicked but good by everyone it plays. What bullshit.

The reason college professors lurve sports so much is because it's a magnet for fundraising. Alumni love to throw money at schools for sports-related goodies: free tickets, homecoming weekend parties, swag like football jerseys, etc. It's ridiculous but it's the truth.

But in this case, an even bigger and scarier issue is that based on what I've read, BSC may be insolvent. As in not enough money to keep the school open. Holy crap. Where the hell was the board of directors through all this?

But in a lot of cases, the schools spend so much on facilities, recruiting, coaches, etc. that even with the fund-raising bump they just don't get it back. The vast majority of football teams aren't...Notre Dame, or whatever the other big-brand teams are.

Basically, football just makes money for football. Not for the rest of the college or university.

I went to a football high school and it was pure misery and hell. I was lucky enough to got to a real school for college where people care about academics. What is happening to your old school is atrocious. Its beyond disgusting and cruel to the students who needed an escape from whatever personal hell they may have been forced to endure so far. You go and stand before the world. What you have written so far means so much to me and I'm sure thousands of others. Please keep it up and help keep the fight going against the tyrannical idiots who think sports is the most important thing in the world and systematically are dropping standards to allow a bunch of fucking meat heads to pass and be cruel to others. Did I mention this is why I hate Frats? Truly, your what you are doing is beautiful. Keep it up!

I went to a football high school too and I was a choir nerd. Yeah, we got NO support. Our performance dresses were hand-sewn by a group of mothers my freshman year.

Thankfully, even though my uni has a football team, no one gave two shits about it. The biggest sports focus was on basketball, but I never felt like it interfered with academic life.

They cut computer science and accounting?? Aren't those two of the few majors that still have job prospects in this economy??

Even for idiot people who argue this school should have a football team, cutting programs like that is just... insane.


The better half has a mining engineering degree and the biggest reason he's got a damned good job right now is that he has a com. sci. associate's.

I, on the other hand, have an art history bachelor's and am working on my master's in information resources and library science, and hearing about the dismal job prospects for many classmates.

Birmingham-Southern was one of the schools I was accepted by early this year, but they screwed up my paperwork so badly that I had to default to University of Alabama at the last possible moment (I had less than forty-eight hours to make the choice when Birmingham-Southern made their final, fatal blunder). I was crushed and made sour grapes of it all by telling my friends I really didn't want to go to a school with the initials "BS" anyway. Now I'm realising I nearly booked tickets on the Titanic.

Jesus. I loved the school as it was ten years ago, but yeah. I would not recommend anyone go to it right now, particularly if people are afraid it can't even stay solvent.

Sigh. This is happening everywhere, but of course that does not help. One of my favorite colleagues, the head of the theater department, just dropped dead of a heart attack. I am almost certain that the stress of trying to keep the theater department and the theater major together over the last couple of years was a strong factor. At my school, it doesn't even go into football. It goes right into the pockets of the administration. And this is also a state university.

I don't know what can be done about it. But it definitely sounds like the kind of bullshit going on everywhere in academia.

That's a load of bullshit! *hugs you*