UW-Madison’s primary mission is football.

I have heard a lot of bitter grumbling today concerning the parking and traffic problems associated with today’s Badger football game.  The biggest gripers are those employees with paid parking permits who are being forcibly evicted from their assigned lots to make way for fans.

So as a public service, I’d like to remind everyone of these two oft-overlooked facts:

  • The primary mission of UW-Madison is to field a truly awesome football team, and to do so in a time slot that is convenient for the commercial cable channel ESPN.
  • The primary responsibility of UW-Madison faculty and staff is to ensure that their work schedule and parking habits don’t interfere with the above mission.

Unlike most of my colleagues,  I have my priorities straight.

For example, when I belatedly realized that our department’s graduate student orientation, scheduled weeks ago for 3-4pm today and involving introductions and presentations from many of our faculty and staff, might prevent  them from vacating their parking lots and clearing out before the fans start arriving en masse to break out their boom boxes and beer coolers, I did the right thing and postponed the orientation until the middle of next week.   I’m sure our secretary will be able to find an unused room for it — that’s her job!

And when I realized that I would not have time to finish preparing handouts for tomorrow’s 8:50am class before the tow trucks came for my own car in Lot 81, I made the difficult — but in hindsight obvious — decision to finish them after dinner tonight and set the alarm a half-hour earlier tomorrow morning to leave time for photocopying before class.   Anything in the service of Badger football!

As for the colleague who complained that he had already paid for his parking spot and now the University was charging someone else to use the same spot, all I can say is, get with the program, buddy!  What he apparently doesn’t understand is that we are all doing our part to subsidize the cost of those parking spots so that visiting Badger fans can afford them.  From each according to his ability, to each according to his need  – it’s the Madison way!

Thank you, Sifting and Winnowing, for letting me shed some much-needed light on this very simple issue.

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7 Responses to UW-Madison’s primary mission is football.

  1. Sara Goldrick-Rab says:

    This is hilarious. But please, didn’t you get the memo– it is now safe: you can SIGN your post!

  2. Frank Rojas says:

    I believe the game time was also set many weeks if not months ago. Get over yourself. I’m getting ready to take my annual vacation and in order to get everything done that I need to before I leave I have worked 7 days a week for the last month. And the last few days I have been in before 7am and left at around 10 pm. Just so I can take my unpaid 2 week vacation. If you think your world is oh so tough try working in the real economy today. Much more work for much less money.
    So you had one day of relatively minor inconveniences–you end up sounding like a silly little coddled professor looking for a problem in your life. So go in a little early tomorrow and get your work done. I think you might have found the time in the last week but that might have been asking too much.
    Enjoy the game. Most people will.

  3. Anon says:

    Frank, you’re right. Many professors do have it better than what you describe. In fact, having to work that many hours/days for a measly two weeks of unpaid vacation is pretty barbaric.

    The difference between you and me, apparently, is that you resent those who have a more humane work environment and wish we had to put up with the same crappy deal as you, whereas I believe that everyone, including those employed in the private sector, should be able work a 40-hour week and be able to count on several weeks of paid vacation. Look at Europe: no employee in Germany or France would put up with long work weeks and no paid vacation. They’d strike first.

    So you can try to tear down others’ work situations to try to make them crappier like yours, or you can help work towards making your own more like what really should be possible in any civilized society. That was one of the major functions of unions before unions started getting outlawed. (Those private sector workers who still can enjoy 40 hour weeks and weekends off can thank unions, even if they were never in an union themselves.)

    Thanks for reminding us what happens when the business world sets its own rules with no risk of pushback from anyone with any clout. And good luck.

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  5. Frank Rojas says:

    Anon. Actually my job also has many positives. My vacations are unpaid BUT I also can take off pretty much as I wish and typically that means two weeks in Hawaii in winter, two weeks in Fall for trips back east, and two weeks taken in smaller chunks to go to Madison, Vegas, or wherever we feel like. Since we earn $$$ on a split of our consulting fees, the more I work the more I make. That usually means a very nice sum. Not Wall Street money but very good money. So like many things it is a trade-off. But I have worked about 30 years without losing a job or being outsourced or even worrying about that possibility. So we work hard and have some freedom to decide exactly how hard that will be. Last thing we want is a union.

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