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Davis, California

Tuesday, May 28, 2024

Column: Throwing sand

Sandbox Politico

Much to my chagrin, my editors forbade me from writing about elections and the relevant candidates this week. I’m disappointed, but rather than pretending there’s some other ASUCD-related topic I’d rather be writing about, I’m going to leave the sandbox and do something entirely different.

Let’s talk about the privatization of the UC.

When we talk about privatization, the word means what it seems to imply — selling off contracts, be they research or advertising, to private corporations in exchange for large sums of cash to fund our school.

In this columnist’s opinion, too much fuss has been made bemoaning the privatization of our dear school.

What choice do we have? As the California legislature continues to redirect General Fund dollars from higher education to other apparently more worthy sources, privatization seems like one of the most expedient solutions to keeping the UC afloat. If anything, we haven’t gone far enough; let’s explore some ideas.

Davis has a world-renowned (I’m talking international recognition) beer and brewing program. But just imagine how profitable it could be were it sponsored by Anheuser-Busch (Budweiser). Students would walk into the first day of class and find a thirty rack on each desk, thereby experiencing firsthand the joy of binge drinking — I mean brewing.

Not only would the advertising be a net gain in funding, but think of all those empty cans being sustainably disposed of (I’m looking at you, RecycleMania). Free beer, sustainability and funding sounds like a win any way you slice it.

What about Agricultural Resource Economics (ARE) classes brought to you by Monsanto? I’m thinking a triple-dip GE breadth class. Combine an ARE class with ROTC, load’em all up into black helicopters and go stealthily sprinkle Monsanto seed packets on the first Mom and Pop farm you can find.

Only counting two subject areas in there? (agriculture … and uh … army) You’re forgetting about the aftermath where the class partners with the UC Davis Law School to litigate the crap out of those evil farmers who stole Monsanto’s seed packets for their own use.

Some might call this class unnecessarily cruel. I call it the world’s most profitable field trip. Win-win.

Even imagining one of my political science classes sponsored by the NRA fills me with an excitement thus far unmatched. Sure the lectures might be a little bit more right-leaning, but you can’t beat authenticity.

Midterm: What are the answers to questions one through infinity? Gun, gun and gun? Sounds like American governance at its finest to me.

And can you picture game theory classes? Prisoner’s dilemma? Who cares, I have a gun now, I ain’t never going to jail.

So you see, privatization is not the enemy, rather it’s an extremely efficacious solution to a critical lack of resources facing our school.

Take this very publication, struggling financially for no good reason. Now imagine if it were sponsored by Rupert Murdoch, owner of Fox News and Forbes’ 26th most powerful person. At first you may balk and think of all the catastrophic scenarios which may result, but I would remind you of two things.

First, Fox News anchors, despite being completely unintelligible and unwatchable, are happy. Why? Because they have money. Money is the great satisfier. Don’t you want money, California Aggie? All it will cost you is your dignity, and how much is that worth anyway?

Second, Murdoch is Australian, and pop culture tells me Australians are cool. There is a high percentage chance that Murdoch, being the cool guy he is, would throw in a care package of kangaroos pro bono. How cool would that be? I’d name mine Clyde.

The point is privatization is only as bad as you make it. I myself choose to don a pair of rose-colored blinders and skip gleefully across the Quad whilst “making it rain,” and I encourage you to do the same.

If anything I think we can see our student government pioneering privatization and taking the lead for once. They would appear to be receiving sponsorship from the California Legislature. How else could they waste so much time talking about so little, and appear completely out of touch with their respective constituencies?

ASUCD, you almost had me fooled but now I say kudos. The copycat job you’re doing is spot on. And please inform me when the check arrives in the mail, I’d like a piece of that action.

JUSTIN GOSS wrote this and does all his computing on an Acer Laptop. If you’d like to purchase such a machine of unparalleled quality you may do so at jjgoss@ucdavis.edu.


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