Field of Science


How to run a university - priorities: who gets AC first?

Universities are composed of three groups: students, faculty, and administrators, but from the educational perspective, only 2 of these groups are absolutely necessary.  Traditionally members of the two essential groups created the 3d group when the first two groups stopped be transients and constructed an academic institution, and the 3d group became necessary to take over the tedious job of just running the physical part of the university so the two scholarly groups could focus on education. In today's view a university consists of the place and the same three groups, but somewhere along the line the view is that the administration and the physical plant are the two essential parts, and students and faculty are once again viewed as transients.  Now big campuses are hard to heat and cool; they don't just switch on and off like a home system, so this is not a criticism of the guys who work to keep the physical plant running.  The unusually warm spring weather caught people off guard with respect to the timetable for changing over from heating to cooling, but which building do you suppose got the highest priority?  Oh, yes, the administration building!  Students and faculty can go for weeks, months, even whole semesters without any need of going to the administration building.  But offices, classrooms, lecture halls, and labs?  Why they get used daily, and still nary a bit of temperature regulation.  So yesterday, a temperature record was set outside and inside.  The Phactor's office was a nice steamy 85 F; it was actually cooler in the greenhouse because it has fans to pull in outside air.  Far be it for the Phactor to say that administrators need no AC (ditch the suit coats guys), but the problem is that when they are cool and comfy they draw the logical conclusion that everyone is similarly comfortable because they go to real academic buildings even less than academics go to the administration building.  If we could move a VP or two into real, necessary buildings, the priorities for getting things done must might change a tad.  Catering to the administration is how the physical plant guys show the people in charge how efficiently and how well they do their job, and won't those whiny students and faculty please just put a cork in it!  Everything is fine. The university is being well run and everything is as it should be. After all, everyone knows what is essential.

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