Bureacracy: Splitting Education into Two Camps


One side says, “Come partake of wisdom.”      The other side says “Where is the money.”

I have never been hurried out of a room so fast. The whole thing surreal and awkward – such is life. This blog entry looks at the politics of disability along a personal narrative with respect to college life. It is about exclusion, collusion, and the civil war of educational values. Names have been changed as to avoid the posturing and nastiness of past exchanges. Reader discretion is advised. The first thing that need to be spelled out, is the double-edged sword that is organizational bureaucracy.  In the Cal State University system, this is especial true – and it should be noted that this organizational ‘fat’ at times, truth be told, can radically and covertly deal with a problem infecting the organizations’ standing. As LeBon pointed of ‘crowd’ mindset; the gathering calumniates into a beast quite formidable. Throw in some office food, cake and favors, and a common threat into that crowd; a force to be reckoned with. While that force can tackle an issue, whereas a social benefit, this blog will focus on the contrary:  how the meetings instrument waste, the resulting feature being a tribe full of minions in contrast to the few that care.  At a time when the classes slashed, and fees on the consistent upward surge; the Disabilities office, thought better not to double down effort – not to pull closer the students with disabilities, in their charge.  Instead of being accessible, they locked their doors and hide in the VP’s posh conference room where no students could hassle them.

On this day, the staff chose to make war, and further divide.  Whereas the office is already closed every other Friday, they chose to lock themselves away from their needy students, to have a banquet despite the plight of humanity.  A Friday like no other, and on this day, the two camps were more evident than ever. The administration is itself split in this civil war of values.  Some are in the support camp, busy refining students’ academic skill sets, mentoring, tutoring, and advising.  The other camp discussing internally how disabled students are problems and that they only live with them to have jobs.

average-recent-college-grad.jpgWell in my experience, the students gravitate to finding the souls in the first camp and see right through the insincerity of the second camp’s advertisement of value, their tone of plastic charm.  The real gold is soft, the coated coin hard to the bite.  In this case in point, the students with disabilities were finding that in the last hours of their week before finals, that they even more than the ordinary need the real pragmatic assistance.  They spend hours laboring away in the computer lab, and the staff were readily available to help out those students, to the point of delaying their arrival to the luncheon of the organization, being oblivious to the meeting the other camp had orchestrated.   There could be no argument the dedication, the resolve, and at times obvious improvements made about that camp. The person charged with this lab micro-management, we will call him Frank, the care camper.

student-loan-debt12On this day, Frank, remarks of the Cal State’s ( students)  lack-luster attempt to protest the rising cost of California education; saying that though the students want to fight, they have no real targets.  Frank makes has a valid point. Personally, I understand that ancient desire of expressing my own frustration through destructive means to show the administrative bureaucracy that lives in their self-focused world that they offer  no practical answers to redress problems that common students face – like lack of classes, impaled financial aid awards, professors who grade subjectively, etc.  That destructive impulse, glad to say, has been abated almost entirely due to the healthy connections fostered – quite slowly, and quite grudgingly – by the few, the proud, the positive deviants about the fat; themselves subjected to administrative heat, for caring.

So Frank, who has been a proud sponsor of my own professional future, being from camp care and knowing that I, a student with little capital and coffee money, might benefit from sucking off the fat.    But NO!  Camp “we are here for the money, honey” and students are not invited nor welcomed in the fat room.   They are there to wine and dine, and they do not socialize with the students.  What is the point of working with students unless you want to see them succeed says camp care; while camp don’t care says, we are here to keep you, the mass of students, from catching these “administration building” on fire – as students = problems.  Faculty and staff that take time to address you as a person when you are a student says something about their philosophy of service, their care for humanity, and their character as people.  The care camp are there, and don’t care camp are self-serve only, baby.

The fat, had other plans for my getting some – and Frank, being frank, was appalled.   The top office, with the most ribbons, like a dutiful soldier, questioned this “rude”  intrusion, and forbade the exception to military rule (never even asking why a grunt should join the ranks).  No student can suck the fat with officers in the club (PERIOD).  Staff only.   How embarrassing it was for me, and angering it was for the care camp.  Frank lost, and needless to say I walked away with an empty coffee cup.  Will Frank lose a stripe, have his own ribbons shredded, or his hand slapped?  Probably.  Will a grunt learn a lesson in how the rabid crowd spits on outsiders, for sure.

Frank does have a valid point with respect to the students’ lack of  fire. This generation has no Vietnam to incite their feelings against of social injustice, nor do they have the same anger about the oppression of minorities.  I do concede that much, but there is another side to it. Too few care, about the public agenda disemboweling education, and too many bureaucrats commit to wasting the funds given to quality education — instead embarking they do, on privatized agendas, not well aligned with the interest of the student.  It is what makes public schools look bad.  It is what drives an argument for a charter school system and all out private education — corruption. It is what will result in the dampening the fire that is being frank, rather than flourishing; dies young in college.  My money is that Frank won’t stay very long for just that reason. Not well paid is one thing, but to alienate the one being frank — that makes for a bad party.

Cops-and-Robbers.jpgSo remember that there is a game called cops and robbers.  The cops chase and apprehend the bad guys, but if there was no crime, who would they apprehend?  The justice system needs criminals to succeed.  They need people to live in oppression so they feel a need to steal, get angry enough to kill.  Crime won’t go away; cops need it, lawyers, parole officers and prison guards too.   The disabled offices in this country have a mix of employees.  Some are in the help you camp, the others are there to stop their schools from experiencing student trouble, including civil right cases.  The difference in intrinsic and extrinsic motivators really shows.  Just ask other, more senior, students, and they will tell you which ones are feeding off you or who tie you down in the red tape of bureaucracy and which one will teach you the ropes.  This holds true across the entirety of all campuses.

Sound off with your experiences!  Have you found Frank, and are you fighting with political civil servants who would love to give you less time and earn more pay doing it?


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