Professors who specialize in language can probably draw from a vast reservoir of choice words to describe the current fiscal climate of academe. And based on one small sample, few of those words are good.
For Jeffrey J. Williams, an English professor at Carnegie Mellon University, the word is “debt.” Williams was one of the professors who shared his choice at a session called “Academic Labor: Keywords for Current Conditions” at the Modern Language Association’s annual convention in Washington Tuesday.
Professors who went through college in the 1970s and 1980s may not have dealt with student debt, Williams said, but they’d better start talking about it now. “Sex is not the great forbidden,” he said. “People talk about it all the time. Money is the great forbidden.”