Yesterday, Feb. 26, the Office of the President sent a mass-email to the ASU Community titled “Impact of Proposed ASU Budget Cut”. The focus of this email was to elucidate Sun Devil students, alumni, staff and affiliates of newly elected Gov. Doug Ducey’s proposal to slash $40.3 million of state funding for ASU. In the email, Dr. Michael Crow, our university’s president, characterized the proposal in a few different ways.
For example, President Crow stated that Ducey’s agenda would “negatively impact ASU." He mentioned that it is “a convenient but temporary ‘fix’ for the larger problem.” He characterized the move as something that will “significantly disadvantage Arizona State University.”
I learned only one thing from that email that I had not known prior to receiving it: Michael Crow is a coward.
The Arizona Republic was quick to herald Crow’s letter as a “roundhouse kick” to the Governor, but I disagree — vehemently. Crow’s language is a far-cry from what would be expected of a person committed to providing “inclusiveness to a broad demographic” of students at ASU. A 10-percent funding cut is not negative, nor disadvantaging — it is abhorrent. And it’s just the latest in the long line of the $400 million dollars of cuts to Arizona higher-education that have taken place since 2009. This trend is far too disturbing to continue.
What happens when state funding is dropped? The burden falls to the students. It’s simple economics – universities have to recoup their losses from government backing, and they do so by raising tuition and fees. ASU is astonishingly good at selling the affordable education card, while dramatically increasing costs of attendance to residents and non-residents during Crow’s tenure. Yet still, it is not just happening in Arizona. This is a very serious problem.
Some may be quick to say "It isn’t his fault!" Let me be clear: I get that this country is still fighting its way out a recession, and I understand that Arizona has to make the budget work. And I realize that when budget cuts do happen, sacrifices have to be made to maintain a standard of academia. But Michael Crow is still a coward.
So why do I insist on calling Michael Crow a coward? Because he is a coward for not owning up to the image he makes for himself on his own biography. He is a coward for not fighting for student equity. He is a coward for basically saying to the Governor’s office, “Hey … could you not, please? It would be bad.”
As long as Crow continues to cozy-up to the Board of Regents for that sweet, sweet paycheck, I will happily continue to call him a coward. You should, too.
ASU Alum, Master of Urban and Environmental Planning, 2014