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The world is upside down. I actually expect my beloved Arizona Cardinals to win every week, Gov. Janet Napolitano is going to be our next little dictator and there’s that whole economy mess on top of it all.

Here at Arizona State University, our inverted world is causing an exceptionally huge downward spiral.

As we all know, the state budget deficit has cost our university budget dearly. ASU President Michael Crow has taken steps to keep the university stable and in the black. Crow has done a lot more than release those marginal videos to staff and students-he Crow has modified academic departments, promised to release about 150 non-tenure faculty associates, cut budgets of various departments and so on.

President Crow’s actions will effectively balance the budget and avert financial disaster, but they will cost the university dearly in the process.

When I started attending ASU back in 2005, the collective goal of the university was to be a New American University; the ASU community was — and one would assume is — moving to create a new paradigm of excellence, access and impact.

If we pretend as though these terms are not simply administrative buzzwords, it means we at ASU, from the lowest of the low to the highest of the high, are truly committed to institutional growth and the re-definition of our university.

The problem with Crow’s recent actions is that they are largely inimical to the New American University paradigm. By modifying academic departments and releasing non-tenure faculty associates, Crow is subtly restricting the academic progress made in his time as president. By cutting budgets generally, Crow is ultimately calling for a reduction in staff, which, in turn, hurts everyone.

In short, President Crow isn’t providing the right response.

What we need is creative action. According to an Associated Press article, officials in South Carolina are getting creative. In response to massive budget cuts, all employees at Clemson University are required to take five days of unpaid leave by next June. These mandatory furloughs will help save jobs and keep Clemson University somewhat stable. Simply by allowing employees to take some responsibility for their fellow coworkers and the quality of their institution, Clemson officials are doing more than enacting the typical negative responses to budget cuts.

Other universities are using similarly creative means to sustain their institutional development. At Winthrop University, also in South Carolina, officials are charging students an extra $50 fee next semester in order to deal with their own budget crisis. Again, this model distributes minimal responsibility for institutional development to everyone.

As a student and an employee of ASU, I have to say that President Crow’s plan is unnecessarily hurting our university, my university.

While drastic action would not be the best choice for ASU, some creative action could truly maintain ASU’s progress and account for the budgetary disaster we all face.

Brett just wants an excuse to take an extra vacation. Join him at

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