I stopped reading Talking Points Memo on a daily (hourly?) basis when it stopped being available on my RSS feed and I needed a break from my daily outrage over politics around the country. But this week, as I tried to make sense of Scott Walker’s campaign of tearing down American institutions, I knew Josh Marshall would provide needed insight:
The crown jewel of the Wisconsin university system is the University of Wisconsin at Madison. It is one of the top research universities in the country and the world. With this move, you will basically kiss that jewel goodbye. To me this is the more salient reality than whether you think academic tenure is a good thing or not in itself.
If this happens, over time, the professors who can will leave. And as the top flight scholars and researchers depart, so will the reputation of the institution. So will graduate students who want to study with them, the best undergrads, money that flows to prestigious scholarship. Don’t get me wrong. Not in a day or a year or even several years. But it will. If you don’t get this, you don’t understand the economy and incentive structure of university life.