As many, or most of you know, I work at a public University. So at some level my salary is paid for my taxes. Now some of it is paid for by tuition, so I’m not entirely on the hook to you who pay Missouri taxes.
But because of this situation, I’ve been slightly nervous about the current economic downturn. Missouri is already one of the worst in the nation for funding higher education, and this seems like an opportunity for it to become even worse. I know that it doesn’t necessarily mean that, but we’re talking about being nervous, not about facts.
To compound this, about a month ago the head of the entire University of Missouri System sent out an email saying that “everything is fine.” Those kinds of announcements always leave me nervous. It is like when the owner of a sports team comes out and says that the head coach is not in danger of being fired, and then the next day the guy is gone. But a month passed and nothing happened, so I figured that everything was fine. Until yesterday.
Yesterday we got another email from the same guy saying that there is a hiring freeze on and that all budgets are going to be reviewed with an eye for things that can be cut. They didn’t say anything about letting any faculty or staff go, but is that just the next step? Who knows at this point.
I’m not too terribly worried, because our department is well funded and important, and I like to think that I’m valuable. But still, it isn’t fun to think about.