Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Reader Responses: College Professor Denouncing Student Loan Debt

The We Are Part of The 99% Tumblr project is a powerful, historical narrative about the occupy protests. I have taken some of the images that relate to student loan debt and shared them with people here. As I've said previously, I am a writer and journalist who firmly believes in crediting sources.

In any event, I shared an image last week of a professor denouncing student loan debt.

One reader left a highly problematic response. They wrote:

Anonymous said...
OK so as a paid professor he can be part of the solution by giving up 50% of his pay to help make tuition cheaper for the 99%, simple.
I meant to respond, but haven't until now. This remark is off base on so many levels. Professors are in a losing category on campuses. Overall, they are underpaid and treated with disdain by bloated, overpaid administrations. That's one of the big problems: higher education has been corporatized and professors are also paying a hefty price.

Someone responded to this individuals remarks this evening, and wrote:

Anonymous said...
He's a professor at a small university in St. Paul MN. He's my professor. He declined a salary raise, but rather wanted the money to go towards his department. 
Even if he DID take the raise, I know he would be making far less than he deserves. 
Bravo! Bravo! And thank you for sharing this information about your professor. I am sure he is making less than he deserves, just like almost all of my friends who decided to stay in academia. Heck, if you look at the picture below, you even got the 1% to applaud you!


Related Links

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"Docs About All Education for Occupiers at #OWS protests," AEM (Oct. 17, 2011)

"Great Infographic: The Student Loan Debt Racket," AEM (Oct. 15, 2011)

"WE OCCUPY," AEM (Oct. 15, 2011)

"Letter of Support from Australia: 'Your work is resonating far and wide,'" AEM (Oct. 14, 2011)

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"Occupy Austin: More than Just a Bouquet of Freedom Flowers," Seriously Subversive, Hypervocal (Oct. 13, 2011)

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"Wall Street Journal Snoozes, But Apparently Wakes Up To See The Connection Between #OWS and Student Loan Debt," AEM (Oct. 13, 2011)

"Powerful Image: College Professor Denouncing Student Loan Debt," AEM (Oct. 12, 2011)

"Barbara Ehrenreich: 'The Guys in the 1% Brought This On,'" AEM (Oct. 12, 2011)

"Youth Across the World Denouncing Neoliberalism, the Politics of Hate, and Casino Capitalism," AEM (Oct. 11, 2011)

"We are the 99 Percent Tumblr: 17-year-old Indentured Educated Girl," AEM (Oct. 11, 2011)

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"Occupy Wall Street - Tweet About Student Loan Debt And Medical Debt," AEM (Sept. 25, 2011)

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Anonymous said...

Maybe. Law profs make $150-250k. Don't feel sorry for them as they reap the profits from federally-guaranteed student loans that keep graduates deeply indebted.

Cryn Johannsen said...

@Anonymous 1:40 AM - I knew I was going to receive this kind of remark. That's different. That's a whole set of problems that the experts (the scambloggers) write about on a regular basis.

Anonymous said...

Then if not law, how about poli sci, communication, or psych profs who get their grads $25K jobs out of college -- if the students are lucky. Exactly how are they underpaid?

Cryn Johannsen said...

@Anonymous 2:19 AM - uh, are you familiar with adjuncts? Did you know that full professorships are disappearing, and universities are replacing those positions with underpaid adjuncts who oftentimes have no health insurance. That's what I'm talking about.

Anonymous said...


Overpaid law professors ARE a part of the problem in much the same way that the debt acquired by law students is a part of the problem.

Whether or not the scambloggers cover the matter or not does not lessen in any way the impact debt has on law graduates. The only difference between law school and undergrad is that law school takes advantage of the borrower with a smile.

Professors AND administrators at the undergrad and graduate level are vastly overpaid. Law professors are just paid a lot more. All my professors in undergrad DID LITTLE WORK and I went to one of the best universities in the world. Teaching one class a semester at the undergrad level does not merit a 50K paycheck. Adjuncts are good but even they have teaching assistants who do all the gruntwork for them.

Cryn Johannsen said...

@Anonymous 9:57 AM - this is incorrect. I was well on my way to becoming a professor, and I have friends who are professors. If you get a decent job - which is a big IF - you work like a dog. Most of the professors I knew worked 90+ hours a week. And the adjuncts I know DO NOT have assistants doing their grunt work.

As I made clear, law professors and their pay is a different matter.

I VALUE higher education, so I believe, in the scheme things, professors (overall) are underpaid. When you compare their salaries to, for example, people ruining lives on Wall Street (banksters and head fund managers), their earnings are a pittance.

Higher education should be HEAVILY subsidized - that's the way it's done in other countries. That's how professors should be paid. Instead of fighting endless wars on God-knows-how-many-continents, we should be investing students so that they don't have the burden of all this debt.

Furthermore, higher ed ought to be restructured. It has been corporatized, and that's one of the problems.

Anonymous said...

Assistant professors in the humanities and social sciences start out, on average, around $50K. If they wish to secure tenure, between teaching, research, and administrative duties they'll typically log 80 hours per week. Adjuncts do similar work for less pay and reduced or no benefits. Those of you under the impression that professors waltz in, teach their class, and go home to watch television have a few reality-based issues to sort out.

Cryn Johannsen said...

@Anonymous 9:18 - well said. It is clear that professors are easy targets. Look at pop culture and how they are depicted. It's a terrible picture, and it's utterly false.