UMass, it is time to sell out

By Ben Moriarty

If there is one thing that is getting really annoying to hear about, it’s the economy.

Every day when you hear the news, it’s always, ‘Dow Jones this,’ or ‘Obama did that,’ or ‘Am I really going to have to turn to stripping to pay my bills?’ (To my editor, yes, that was on CNN).

For most of us students, though, this situation really doesn’t matter much unless we are graduating this year. Then, it just sucks, unless you are fine with living with your parents, which I don’t see much wrong with as I’ve always been a fan of parasitic living.

But for the rest of us, as long as we are able to get loans ‘- or for us spoiled brats, have our parents pay for our schooling ‘- we don’t have to worry about it. As long as we can find a part-time job, we can pay for alcohol on the weekends. Gas is cheap and McDoubles are only slightly more expensive.

But for all of us here, we are in a tough situation, which was somewhat helped by President Barack Obama’s bailout package. But we still are in what I like to call, a ‘pickle.’

In an ironic display of capitalism, the government decided it was going to give money to many private and public institutions, which include our state education system.

About $82 million will be given to the University of Massachusetts system and, since Amherst is better than all the other ones, we at the flagship campus get about half of that money. That $40 million has made our fee hike go from $1,500 to $400. And students everywhere are rejoicing and going on with life just as they would have if the fee hadn’t been reduced. There just might be slightly less complaining.

But there are still teachers and professors getting laid off, programs rumored to be cut (just ask the baseball players if you can find their field on campus), programs actually being cut (just ask the ski team) and departments being downsized.

I have some ideas to alleviate the fiscal pressure, some of which I’m saving in secrecy. But, there are many which would help reduce the budget deficit we are in, and potentially, put us in the black.

We have the presidents: John Adams, John Quincy Adams and Washington. And then we have some writers like Melville and Thoreau. Yes, these are the dorms in Southwest. And they all share one thing in common: their names are horrible, boring and horribly boring. And if you don’t think those are horrible, just ask the people who live in North A, North B or any other variation of North.

In an effort to not only spice up campus, but also get some money, it would be wise to sell some of the dormitory names for advertising revenue.

The problem is deciding what companies are suitable for the name. Obviously, the school wouldn’t be able to advocate anything illegal or detrimental to one’s health. So to all the Southwesties, Popoville, Rubinoff Hut and Really Crappy and Watery Beer are out of the picture.

Things like Little Debbie, Hanes and Fischer Bros. & Leslie, producers of Kosher meat, on the other hand, are perfect for names. They all have people’s names in them, and that’s what UMass loves doing: naming things on their campus in honor of other people.

Even renaming a couple might be able to save a couple lecturers or professors jobs, and I’m sure their families would appreciate it. Chancellor Robert Holub might be worried that the credibility of the school would be ruined, but if worse came to worse, we could always just say it was a research project. We are, after all, a research institution. It’s a win-win situation from that point. We get some money from companies, and then we say it was a research project.

I hope someone likes my idea, and decides to put it into action. But I doubt it will. We are, after all, from Massachusetts. Instead of finding ways to get money, or to reduce wasteful spending, we’ll find something to cut, complain about it, whine and then blame whoever is on top.

So let’s just get over the whining and blaming now and just get to snipping. I say we start with Sylvan and everyone who lives there. By doing that, we can get rid of the entire Japanese department. And that will transfer a bunch of jobs to other departments which don’t remind us of anime.

Ben Moriarty is a Collegian columnist. He can be reached at [email protected]