I recently called Academic Instructional
Media Services (AIMS) hoping to arrange to make a couple of teaching
videos for one of my courses. This is something that I have done
quite a few times in the past and I have always been very satisfied
with the response from the campus's audio-visual support staff.
Evidently, things have changed. I was amazed
to receive an e-mail from the director of AIMS which stated that
the videos would only be made if I pay, or someone pays on my
behalf, $230 for each hour of filming, minimum two hours.
In a parallel context, last year Parking
Services informed Geosciences that we would have to pay $750 ($125
each) to park our five vans in their designated spaces at the
back of the department. These are state vehicles used for fieldwork
I am profoundly disgusted by these policies.
I do not blame the directors of AIMS or Parking Services, but
whoever it is in the administration who has decided that "support
services" means making money out of academic departments.
Our departmental budget is always lean and we try to spend it
in a cost-effective way that will most benefit teaching and scholarship.
If I were able to lavish $460 on making two short video films,
which I am not, the money would come out of a very small budget
that is intended to support a wide variety of teaching activities.
At the departmental level our choice is simple: either we pay
up and squander a meager budget or we do without the service in
question. Either way, the students lose out: the cost of attending
UMass is driven up by these measures, which tend to bureaucratize
I am a member of a University administrative
committee which meets once a month for an hour in an upstairs
room of the University Club. I will be at the October meeting,
but perhaps my fees should be $230 for attending and $125 for
parking my car in Lot 62.
On behalf of the Campus Beautification Committee
(CBC) and the greater University community, we wish to thank and
recognize the over 75 individuals who participated in the "Adopt
a Planter" program this past summer. We have greatly enjoyed
your creative contributions to the campus through your planters.
We look forward to seeing your new creations next summer as the
program enters its second year.
A thank you also to the members of the CBC
who facilitated the program or provided assistance. Without your
efforts, this program would not have been possible.