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More Higher Ed Catastrophic Hyperbole

In a guest column published by the Las Vegas Sun today, William Cobb, a member of the University Board of Regents, declared that proposed budget cuts to Nevada’s university system would be “catastrophic.”

Hmm. Catastrophic, you say? For some reason that evokes memories of these immortal words uttered a couple weeks ago by University Chancellor Dan Klaich: “I think we have been guilty of hyperbole in the past where, you know, we get the first dollar of a cut and we would like you to believe that the sky is falling.”

Catastrophic, huh?

Regent Cobb raises the “catastrophic” specter of unhappy faculty members bidding adieu to Nevada and heading off to greener pastures elsewhere, perhaps in the state of Nirvana. To which I respond: Don’t let the door hit you on the way out.

I mean, come on. With effective unemployment in Nevada above 20 percent; and still around nine percent nationally, how hard is it going to be to fill those vacancies? You mean there are no out-of-work UNLV or UNR graduates who are smart enough push paper, pontificate and fill out forms.

Regent Cobb also hyperbolizes about student enrollments being severely restricted and entire departments, community colleges and professional schools being “mothballed.” Cuts, he writes, would be “devastating” to Nevadans “seeking to improve their lives through higher education.”

Actually, what they’re trying to do is improve their lives by getting taxpayers to pay for it. Indeed, as Regent Cobb notes, “state law prohibits the university system from charging Nevada residents tuition.” Sounds like time to change the state law to me, because college isn’t a right or an entitlement. If an adult OPTS to attend college because he or she thinks it will “improve their lives,” let THEM pay for it.

And can we PLEASE knock off the devastating, catastrophic hyperbole already?