I received my candidate questionnaire this week from the American Association of University Professors. This actually was meant for an Ohio General Assembly candidate but I played along anyhow. Here is how I responded to their questions (everything is verbatim).
1. Do you believe that all graduates of Ohio high schools should have access to quality higher education?
My answer: Yes
2. Do you believe there is a positive return to the citizens of Ohio from dollars spent on our institutions of higher education?
My answer: No... Now, for the graduates, I do say, "Yes." But, with Ohio's economic situation in comparison to most other states, ultimately Ohio taxpayers are not seeing a positive return due to the oppressive business climate both major parties have created as a result of reckless and irresponsible taxation, spending, and regulatory policies over the decades and in particular the past 12 years: this has led to far too many of our university and college graduates leaving the state in search of better career opportunities elsewhere in the United States.
3. If elected, will you work to maintain current funding levels for higher education in the 2011-2012 state budget?
Although not really applicable to me, but my answer would be: Yes... At the same time, I would work to transition the higher education funding process toward more of a free market system to encourage greater efficiency in how funds are put to use.
4. Will you help keep Ohio's public universities and colleges competitive with those in other states by supporting the current retirement options offered by the State Teachers Retirement System.
My answer: The problem with the wording of this question is the false premise that without an expensive defined benefits retirement package Ohio's institutions of higher learning cannot be competitive. Ohio's colleges and universities boast of being among the most outstanding learning institutions in America. It is this reputation that makes them so competitive, not benefits packages that have been proven to be too great of a burden on taxpayers.
So, in the spirit of this questionnaire as it relates to the best interests of American Association of University Professors, the short answer would have to be: No.
5. Are you concerned about the trend in Ohio's institutions of higher education which has resulted in a majority of the faculty members being part-time, many without benefits?
My answer: Yes. If the AAUP does not begin making concessions in their collective bargaining efforts, under the current economic atmosphere in America and Ohio that percentage will continue to rise.