I fully understand the sentiment that goes something like this "Meert is just trying to preserve his own program and fails to recognize that in saving his, someone else must lose". Guilty as charged to the first part of that statement. I am interested in saving Geology, but I was interested last year in trying to save the philosophy Ph.D. program at UF when that was cut. In fact, believe it or not, I'm interested in saving the religion department here, the geology department at Florida State, the anthropology department at FLorida State and most of higher education in Florida. I blog about Geology because it's what I know best and I understand the implications of those cuts to the state better than the others.
Higher education has been underfunded in Florida for a long time. Our tuition rate is the lowest among AAU member schools (and most other universities) and we have seen our budgets trimmed even before the present economic downturn. The more interesting thing about these particular cuts is that there are ways to save money and not have layoffs or departmental closures, but they require the administration to be clever and to think outside of the box. The UF plan was hastily put together without input from the faculty. For example, I believe that the faculty would be willing to collectively accept a temporary pay cut to preserve the academic integrity of the University. Shared pain for the better good. I know I would accept such a cut.
I am an unabashed supporter of education whether it's K-12 or higher education and see education as the key to economic recovery. Maybe I'm wrong, but I'll continue to defend science and education as long as I can.
Lastly, I'll note that in the current plan for cuts, my job is safe so I could just as easily sit back and do nothing, but it's simply too hard to watch as education takes a hit without fighting back.