The news of the recession in the United States has never hit so close to home as it did for me last week when I read this article on Clarissa’s blog. Clarissa is a professor in my department. Apparently, the state of Illinois has been holding out on its workers for so long a time that now it is so hard to pay fees, and the Universities are going to have to suffer in the coming months. Coming from a country where it is commonplace for Professors to be owed many months salary by the government, it is a painful reminder. But in a country where order, probity and accountability are virtues expected at the highest level of government, it is a totally upsetting news.
In some way, I am immune to this situation because my pay is not tied to the state of Illinois, but the prospect of downsizing a department already understaffed for required languages is not one that I would look forward to with glee. It is very easy to throw out the words such as depression, recession and financial crises, but when it hits home in its ugliness, words fail in conveying the pain it brings to the folks involved.
I doubt that the case involves only the state of Illinois, but a few people I’ve spoken to about it seems to believe that it is a reflection on the dirty politics that has marked the state for a very long time.