Job cuts simply fuel the fire...
Steen Erickson nails it in his comments on the Daily article: "University employees wait for budget axe to fall"
I agree that senior administration should take cuts. At my low level, even I'd take a cut if it would preserve my job. President Bruininks, there is no argument that anyone is "overpaid" among the highest paid employees at the university - in this environment, that's a very poor argument to make. The argument should be that these are extraordinary times, which call for extraordinary measures. The richest can always afford a cut far more than the poorest, and where will "the best and brightest" go? Sure there are some who have money to buy folks away from us, but those who would leave might have to change industries - and I would hope that people are at the U because of the mission, not because they've hit the jackpot and are getting rich. Most people that I admire at the U are here for the intellectual and educational stimulation, not the "huge" salaries. On the contrary, it seems to me that many could make far more if they went to industry! (but perhaps not at this moment in our global economy?)
I would ask the highest paid employees - the top 10% - would you lose your home if you got a 10% cut? I doubt it. But the lowest or the middle earners just might lose their home if you lay them off. Would you have to go on welfare, food stamps, declare bankruptcy, and move in with friends or family (if you even could)? The lowest and middle earners might just face those burdens.
To you, the cut would mean a less lavish vacation. A few less dinners at 5-star restaurants. A new Lexus instead of a new Mercedes. To the lower and middle income earners, it may mean survival.
Is it socialism to help people in times of great need? Is it unfair to ask the richest to give something back to the community that made them rich when that community needs them? Is it unjust to try to avoid our own contribution to the state unemployment rolls, which every one of us pays for - if we can prevent it? And where will the money come from to pay the unemployment, food stamps, and whatever else? The state is broke! Last I heard, the state wants to cut social services!
Human decency. Civilization. Christian. Buddhist. Whatever you want to call it, it is incumbent on all of us to solve this problem. Not by adding to it with layoffs, but by tightening our belts, starting at the top. Model the behaviour you want to see. Lead by example. Demonstrate your commitment to this University and its mission. Yell from the rooftops that this is only temporary! But you can solve the problem without layoffs if you'll only share some small part of the pain with the folks at the bottom.
Bless the College of Design for having the decency to attack the problem from a human, compassionate, civilized perspective (hopefully the somewhat confusing comments about Design laying off, but then taking reductions to prevent layoffs, isn't quite accurate?). If only the rest of "us" would take a lesson from them.