My second column since my glorious return to Slate is about the absolute shit-show of a stupid-ass piece of legislation that would mandate a 4-4 MINIMUM for every professor at a public university in North Carolina. Here’s a taste:
Whether or not the stated goal is to “close it all down,” that will definitely be the result. The professors forced into a 4-4 will simply pick up their research—and the labs where that research gets done, and those labs’ workforces—and move them somewhere that will fund them. With the inevitable cratering of UNC–Chapel Hill and NC State, the Research Triangle will become the Research Dot, and the 50,000 individuals North Carolina currently employs in Research Triangle Park—a massive conglomerate of nonacademic research labs located where it is precisely because of its proximity to Duke, UNC, and NC State—will have their livelihoods put in danger. It’s easy to sneer that the university isn’t a “jobs program” until you have to answer for your state’s brain drain.