Margaret Morse on Sat, 26 Feb 2011 13:09:07 +0100 (CET)

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Re: <nettime> How a Library Saved My Life. - what can be done in regard to an unsustainable system of student loans

Dear Goran,

Your suggestion--make education free--is a good idea. We once had
something approaching that in California with the "compact" with the
state in a university, state and community college system that the
state can no longer afford. The state has crossed the Rubicon and no
longer provides even half of the cost of educating a student that
the university is mandated to accept. Now that I am in Berlin, I see
an education system that was once virtually free undergoing Bologna
reforms and increasing student fees.

We also need to reform the student loan system or find other modes
of supporting their studies . My question is not Ted's "what is to
be done?" That question strikes me as way too abstract, gigantic
and contentious a bite to take for what might begin with a simple
research job finding out what out there in government, congressional,
philanthropic, public and student initiatives. Goran has given us a
tiny piece of the last item. As an academic and someone concerned with
practice and bottom up approaches as well as the big picture, I don't
like to lacking the details or knowing the current state of things
before looking for solutions. I don't have time to devote myself to
this practical task-"I'm busy" is something most of us could say. On
the other hand, if any of the expertise and experience on "student
loans" on this list feels so moved, we could learn something from
you: Molly Hankwitz has provided us with an intriguing initiative by
faculty to provide a free university education in San Francisco.

As much as I admire you, Ted, I don't think abolishing the credentials
required for positions in higher education is the answer to our
overwhelming crisis. I also think faculty in higher education will
take the same hits as everyone else (pension and health plans,
salaries and who knows what else). If we ever have a sane political
system again, the most privileged parts of the private sector. and the
defense industries in the US will also take this hit. As for faculty,
I for one would never expect nor enjoy the position of a sacred
cow. What is sacred to me is educating the next generations in the
US, including students without legal residency, as well as literacy
initiatives all over the world. This goal helps keep me on track
toward framing my aims and resolving my focus onto a few very specific
tasks in concert with others.

Goran, thanks for your passion in identifying student loans as a very
significant issue.


Margaret Morse
Professor of Film and Digital Media
University of California Santa Cruz

Sabbatical address:
Leberstrasse 2
10829 Berlin
+49 (0)30 50562524
Handy/cell 0171 99 00008

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