The headline from the Chronicle of Higher Education:
Utah State U. Press Is ‘Marked for Elimination’ Under Worst-Case Budget Scenario
The most chilling parts:
Mr. Spooner said that, except for the salary assistance, his press pays its own way. “We cover all costs of operations and publishing 20 books a year through sales income, permissions, donations, and our annual Swenson Poetry Award,” he said. “At the same time, without the salary support, we cannot go on.”
Money is one thing. How does one put a dollar value on the intellectual cachet a press brings to its home institution? Mr. Spooner speaks passionately about the nonmonetary value his press adds, and how its books and authors help make Utah State University part of a larger conversation.
Garrison Keillor read from a Utah State title last week on his “Writer’s Almanac” show, the director noted, and “scholars in folklore and composition and Mormon history often say explicitly that the only important contact they have with USU is through our books. These are not marginal fields, but they are also not overserved by publishers. Without USU Press, important research and theory will be lost.”
He fears that point may be hard to convey to the number crunchers. “The budget planners’ model defines us as a nonessential unit because we are a not a degree-granting unit. I understand,” Mr. Spooner said. “What they don’t understand is how it would cost our institution in terms of its reputation, image, and impact to close us.
“I have heard of closing university presses in trouble for long-term deficits or for lack of impact, but I have never seen a press closed that was operationally sound, financially stable, and overachieving its given mission.”
I’m not sure I can even talk about this, but I didn’t want to let it pass unnoticed.