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We Are Led By Idiots

Fred Grimm of the Miami Herald wonders: What is the University of Florida thinking?

Ever wonder how we’re perceived, out there in the techie universe?

“Amazed, shocked and angered,” said Zvi Galil, dean of the college of computing at Georgia Tech, reacting to the news that Florida’s flagship university intends to gut its computer science department.

The University of Florida, contemplating a 30 percent budget cut, intends to jettison the department’s teaching assistants, cut more than half the faculty and abandon research. Galil fired off a letter last week to UF President Bernard Machen, “to express, in the strongest possible terms, my concerns about the reckless proposal to dismantle the Department of Computing and Information Science and Engineering.”

Galil then wrote something slightly at odds with our politicians’ pretty talk about Florida’s high-tech future. “And I am by no means alone — the entire computer science/computing community is dumbfounded by the news coming out of Florida. It is unbelievable that a major AAU university would even contemplate such an action in the information age we live in today — an age fueled in great part by computer science!”

The University is cutting $1.7 million from the CISE/IT budget while adding $2 million to the athletics [football] budget. That shows their priorities.

I guess they assume that companies will just use H-1B visas to bring in any tech people that they want, so no need to ‘waste money’ on teaching Americans, so may as well use the money to recruit football players for the real business of Florida universities.


1 paintedjaguar { 04.24.12 at 11:27 pm }

Academics has always come in a distant second to sports in this part of the country.

2 Bryan { 04.24.12 at 11:59 pm }

True, PJ, but they are rarely this blatant about it. They do at least make an attempt at hiding the sources of the multi-million dollar salaries paid to the head football coaches of UF and FSU, with the ‘official’ salaries appearing to be much lower on the paperwork.

3 jams o donnell { 04.25.12 at 7:45 am }

Jesus, talk about screwed up priorities.

4 Steve Bates { 04.25.12 at 9:39 am }

“Meanwhile, the University’s School of Medicine [if any] will teach university administrators a course in self-lobotomy… after all, said the medical school’s director, they already have some experience from having cut almost one-third of the CS department…” [/snark]

I can think of no single act more blatantly foolish than whacking the computer science/engineering department in this day and age. Effectively they are deciding to save money by not participating in any part of the state’s future.

5 Steve Bates { 04.25.12 at 9:46 am }

Oh, and be prepared for the argument that “football brings in money to the school, and CS does not.” Might as well marshal your arguments; I’ve heard it before.

6 Bryan { 04.25.12 at 11:12 am }

First off, the money made by athletics, stays in athletics, despite claims that it is used elsewhere.

Second, UF researchers have been sucking up millions in grants for their work based on the University’s reputation in the field, and graduates benefit from that reputation.

Third, if job opportunities are limited for CIS grads, they are wonderful compared to the number of football players who get a shot at the NFL.

The politicians love football and are afraid of computers – it’s all politics.

7 jams o donnell { 04.25.12 at 12:27 pm }

Given American Football occupies most of the most valuable sports cubs in the world.Most of them are richer than all but a few European football teams like Man U, Real, Barca, Arsenal and a couple of baseball and F1 teams then perhaps THEY can spend the money developing payers for that tedious sport and leave money for proper university spending. Or is that too sensible?

Sorry but I do find American Football and Baseball far more boring than Football and Rugby and almost as boring as cricket!

No sport is as exciting as Hurling and that is an amateur sport!

8 Bryan { 04.25.12 at 3:42 pm }

You’ve never seen lacrosse, a Native American sport that is popular in the Northeastern US, and a college sport up there. It is similar, in that it is derived from the use of a weapon designed to cast stones at an opponent. Lacrosse matches were ‘wars’ between tribes, with fewer deaths than other forms of combat.

Amateur sports are always more fun, because people are doing it for the love of the game, not as a job.

9 jams o donnell { 04.25.12 at 4:25 pm }

I stand corrected. I forgot lacrosse but I thought it was banned under the Geneva Convention!

10 hipparchia { 04.25.12 at 6:55 pm }

otoh, far too many of us are growing fat from sitting at our computers when we should be outside running around, even if pointlessly. 😈

11 Bryan { 04.25.12 at 9:44 pm }

Another under-appreciated sport is field hockey, which is considered a “girls’ sport” in the US, because they have never seen it played in Asia. Actually, I’m amazed by the ability of some of the players to balance the ball on the hurley while running. It is a lot easier to carry the ball in lacrosse.

That may be true, Hipparchia, but I would like that option at the moment, as I have all kinds of outside work to finish before the temperature spikes.

12 Badtux { 04.26.12 at 10:39 am }

Hurling is a sport? I thought that was what American frat boys did at the end of an evening of partying ;).

Regarding field hockey, even as played on college campuses it is a brutal sport, combining the athletic requirements of soccer with the whacking sticks and physical contact of hockey. It’s a “woman’s sport” here in America due to history, not due to the nature of the game.

Regarding cricket, I am not aware of anybody not born in the British Commonwealth who has the slightest understanding of its inscrutable set of rules, or who can fathom what’s going on in any way during the many days that a cricket match may last. For that matter I suspect that even many of those born within the Commonwealth have difficulty understanding cricket. My suspicion is that the English invented cricket as a joke upon their Empire and then were appalled that the Empire didn’t get the joke and viewed it as a real sport, to the point where between cricket and *real* football, half of India shuts down when their team is playing. Hey, it’s a theory that makes just as much sense as the alternative, which is that cricket was invented as an actual sport ;).

13 Bryan { 04.26.12 at 11:03 pm }

For the secret of cricket, NewsBiscuit has it covered.

Actually, it has game fixing and gambling, so it must be a ‘real sport’. I do admit that when I hear the scores I have no idea who won, or how well/badly either side did.