Must-See Video: The Yes Men Pose as Members of the Iowa Regents’ Efficiency Review Committee

The Yes Men — whose slogan is “impersonating big-time criminals in order to publicly humiliate them, and otherwise giving journalists excuses to cover important issues” — delivered a satirical speech yesterday at the Iowa City Public Library wherein they posed as representatives of the Iowa Regents, as well as the private consulting firm that is doing the University of Iowa’s “efficiency review” (called TIER — “Transparent Inclusive Efficiency Review”) and reported on their recommendations.

On one level there’s nothing all that funny about the presentation; the Yes Men (actually only one of the two speaks) make recommendations that in a sane world would be considered perfectly reasonable.  That their reasonableness is sadly all but utopian these days — and not only in Iowa — is the source of the “fun.”  Here’s the video:

And here are the Power Point slides from the speech (script included at bottom):

The script for the presentation is as follows:


2. Reviewing Options Part I:

• Academic Fast Pass: Students who pay for “premiere status” can get access to more detailed lecture notes and other such things that will help improve grades.
• Volunteer teaching internships: Rebranding indentured servitude, allowing people to work off student loan debt in exchange for free teaching, which is pretty much what the adjunct system requires anyway.
• Renaming all teaching and administrative positions Content Delivery Specialists (CDS), Levels I – VI (which isn’t far off from what we have at Iowa, where department chairs are called “Department Executive Officers”)

3. Reviewing options, Part II

• Rebranding the University of Iowa HAWKEYE U!
• Opening HAWKEYE U! auxiliary campuses on hybrid riverboat casinos/dorms throughout Iowa
• Survivor-style faculty vote-off (a state senator last year introduced a bill that allows students to vote to fire one faculty member per year … seriously)

4. The University of Iowa is now free!

This is when the Yes Men can go into happy optimistic mode, announcing how the Regents and the consulting firm have decided to do an about-face.

• Free tuition for all Iowa residents
• No hidden student fees, which are basically backdoor tuition
• Minimize the exploitation of out of state and international students

5. Redistribution of upper administrative salaries

• We have come to realize that administrative salaries are too high at state universities
• We will pool the excess remuneration and equitably redistribute it to all university employees
• Above all, we will work tirelessly to ensure that our employees earn a living wage

6. Tenure for contingent faculty

• All part-time adjuncts and lecturers are tenured, effective immediately
• With our new open border policy, we will welcome all university workers from the beleaguered state of Wisconsin
• We grant asylum for those affected by draconian budget cuts and the elimination of tenure in that state

7. UI will no longer compete with UNI and Iowa State, and vice versa

Last year the Regents created a funding model for the three state universities where we have to compete for in-state students; however, we’ve discovered that the University of Iowa spent more money on advertising than it got from the increased numbers of in-state students.

• We were surprised to discover that the University of Iowa spent more money on advertising and recruiting in-state students than what it earned from in-state tuition
• We no longer view UNI and Iowa State as competition, but rather collaborators

8. How will we pay for this?

9. How will we pay for this? Short Term

• In the short term, we are going to convert the $145,000 part time strategic communications position into a fund for student living expenses (including textbooks)
• Identify other unnecessary high paid upper admin positions and redistribute funds to campus community
• Another short term solution: The $150 million recently allocated for renovations to Kinnick Stadium will instantaneously cover the cost of these modest proposals

10. How will we pay for this? Long Term

• Channeling all sports ticket sales and licensing revenues to academics
• We are terminating the TIER review because we realized the money we have spent on consulting firms has exceeded our expected savings (instead, we will listen to the voices of the campus community, who have the best knowledge of how to improve efficiencies on campus)
• The Regents have discovered that the money spent on consulting firms has exceeded the expected savings

11. Moving forward: a vision of Iowa’s future Part I

• We will create a genuine shared governance system that gives students, staff and faculty more control over university affairs
• The first step in implementing this vision is to give university employees the ability to elect regents
• We have also reversed the decision to remove campus voices from the current UI presidential search

12. Moving forward: a vision of Iowa’s future Part II

• A commitment to fully funding state education at the preschool, K-12, and college levels
• By doing the right thing, we hope to be a world leader in education that will attract and retain top students, staff, and faculty
• Questions?

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