Thursday, September 3, 2009

Recession? What Recession?

Tate Center Expansion Dedicated:

Students helped design the building, which opened Monday. Students even test-drove the comfortable chairs scattered throughout the addition as well as the older part of the Tate Center, which will be renovated to look more like the light-filled, airy addition.

Students also are footing the bill for the $60 million project with a $25 per semester fee students approved in a 2005 referendum.

UGA Spends $2.4 million on Fraternity Move:
The University of Georgia paid two fraternities nearly $2.4 million to move from houses on South Lumpkin Street.

Contracts with fraternities released by UGA last week show that the university paid Chi Phi fraternity $1.75 million to move from its house at 290 S. Lumpkin St. Kappa Alpha got $600,000 to move out of its nearby house at 294 S. Lumpkin.

Both fraternities used the money to finance new or planned houses off-campus.
And what have we gotten for all this money (yes, I'm aware some of this was budgeted before the great downturn; a lot like salaries, insurance premiums, etc.)? An architectural disaster down on River Road, and a "Tate II" that is basically non-functional. A student informed me yesterday that not only are they charging student groups who wish to hold meetings in Tate II (a mandatory $15 A/V fee, whether you use audio/visual or not), but other than visits to Barberitos and Larry's Subs, no one is bothering to go there.

When I lived in Atlanta for years, we used to jokingly call the Fulton County Government building downtown the "Taj Mahal." When I wandered around Taj II, er, I mean Tate II last summer, I couldn't figure out exactly what was going on. Lots of fancy hallways, cavernous ceilings, huge windows, and zero warmth. And it was 100 degrees out at the time.

But I'm sure it will attract the crowds once foo'ball season starts.

UGA Sells Out Every Home Game:
Georgia sold its remaining home football tickets in a matter of minutes Tuesday, making this the ninth consecutive season UGA has sold out every home game.

In seven minutes starting at 9 a.m. Tuesday, Georgia sold about 1,500 tickets to the Arizona State game, 1,000 to the Tennessee Tech game and 750 to the South Carolina game. The tickets were available online after being returned from the visiting teams’ allotments.
Bulldog Nation continues to fork over the big bucks, recession or depression be damned.

Meanwhile, faculty and staff are up in arms (and rightly so) over the way furloughs are being implemented. For example, research faculty with funding from external sources are being furloughed based on the total amount of revenue stream (no matter the fact the money does NOT come from the state of Georgia), while visiting faculty and staff from other countries are completely exempt from furloughs.

Staff making less than $30,000 a year are whacked, but not those making less than $23,600; as if there is a discernable difference between $23,600 a year and, say, $24,000 a year. I wonder what the drunk Georgia fan might say, walking around the $60 million Taj II before the Carolina game, to the recently furloughed custodial staff cleaning up after his mess? Go Dawgs!

Let's put this as bluntly as possible: recessions are fundamentally about fear and social control exercised by the power-elite. The projects and interests of elites in society continue to be funded and roll merrily along, while the lumpen classes cower in the corner in anxiety and fear. Recessions are fundamentally a way to discipline the labor force and keep workers bowed, grateful and willing to take pay concessions while the Sword of Damocles (layoffs) hangs over their heads.

As Marlon Brando said at the end of Apocalypse Now, "the horrah....the horrah."

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