Some UTMB professors deserve a failing grade in the school of hard knocks

The SE Texas Record Dec. 19, 2010, 3:26am

It must be nice to be a college professor who feels insulated from reality. Even a hurricane makes no impression on this navel-gazing egghead.

Hurricane Ike did make an impression on the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB) in Galveston -- a devastating physical impression on the campus and a harsh economic impression on the administrators.

Some professors at UTMB must have slept through the storm and its aftermath. But they had a rude awakening when they were let go in post-Ike cost-cutting measures.

Reality rushed in, and they were flummoxed. Now they're upset, even outraged. Let's all pause for a nanosecond and feel sorry for them.

Thousands of people in southeast Texas have had to make difficult adjustments in the wake of Hurricane Ike. They lost homes, businesses, and jobs and had to start over. We're not happy about it, but life goes on and you try to make the best of it.

Some professors, especially tenured professors, apparently expect to be protected from the effects of nature and the laws of economics. Attendance at UTMB may be down, its resources depleted or diverted to repairs. But what does that have to do with professors who wish to continue to enjoy the comfort of their cocoon-like existence?

Apparently, they just don't get it. A portion of the 127 UTMB professors who were let go because of Ike have filed suit in Galveston County District Court against the school's provost and department chairs. They're seeking unspecified monetary damages and a jury trial.

What they should be doing is finding new jobs, rather than adding to the financial devastation wrought on UTMB by the hurricane. Such activity would require a realistic approach as in thinking of someone other than themselves.

Here's hoping the professors get a jury composed of southeast Texans who have suffered from the effects of Hurricane Ike and are less than patient with crybabies.

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