recent occurences:

1. at meeting of dept level administrators + bigger wig administrators.  the bigger wig announces that we are increasing the benefits for graduate students to take paid family and sick leave.  faculty member in a role parallel to mine but from a more powerful dept (and clearly more powerful person– not to mention white dude) asks all the questions you’d want asked, and really makes every point you’d want made:  a) so great to increase benefits to grad students, so important b) who will pay for replacements when these employees are on leave?  what do you mean no one?  who will do that work?  oh, professors?  oh, take money to replace from other pot of funds meant for students?  c) how is it okay to institute a policy without making available the $ to fund it?

2.  at meeting with people working on museum that is I guess funded via some obscure collaboration btwn public and private.  here the effort is to balance integrity of art and research with desire to draw donors — to impress them with what we do and make what we do feel relevant to people who don’t usually pay attention to it.  I have this idea for collaborating with some students on a project but we don’t have equipment and I don’t have technical expertise… woman in charge actually says to me:  let me know if we need to hire someone to help with this– we’re here to help you make your vision for this real.  I was so shocked.  I have never heard anyone say this to me in relation to my role as a professor ever.  do you know how long I’ve been a professor?

3. 3rd meeting of day, 3rd project.  Using a space at this museum for a literary event.  Museum donating space when they don’t have to (usually across university you can’t just share or use space– you have to rent it– did you know that?  I was shocked when I found this out).  Talking about logistics of the space with my contact there.  Contact says:  you know, it would help a lot if you could make a sign to post outside so people can see which door to go in for the event.  What sort of sign?  I ask.  Like if I print something out what should I staple it to.  She points to a sign they have– it’s professionally printed on some stiff cardboard thing so it can stand up.  “Oh,” I say, “you know we don’t have any money for sending things to printers. But I can probably get a student to stand out there and direct people…”

4.  trying to write a grant that requires a budget proposal.  How do you write a budget that = “time away from job.”?  When you are talking with an organization that wants to make peace between art and capitalism, how do you represent anything you care about?  How do you translate what you believe into something that says “come on, help me out here– help meeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeeee.”  And balance actual gratitude and gung-ho with intense skepticism about the whole approach… that’s what I get for having a gf who used to believe in capitalism as a force for good who finally ran screaming from her efforts to form hedge funds, longing for her long-ago stashed guitar…

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