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Bob Bruininks’ bedtime prayers

Dear Jesus, thank You for making people crazy about football and not about jobs.

Dear Jesus, thank you for helping me keep costs down at the University. You helped me misdirect everyone about how much we should pay our workers. You know and I know the University is the largest employer in the state, so when I tell our workers, “The market determines wages,” only Your divine hand could keep everyone from realizing we are the market, so we determine wages.

And, dear Jesus, I’m really grateful I don’t have to answer to people about why we aren’t trying to make staff salaries keep up with inflation. You are clearly keeping them from asking me about last year’s record $1.6 billion in donations, and last quarter’s record donations for a single quarter and last year’s $48 million in patent revenues.

And I’m really grateful You said, “The poor you have with you always,” because then if my actions keep the workers down, You said it was OK. Plus, because of that, I’m not at all morally obligated as a Christian to take some of that money You gave us and figure out how to create a fund that protects the workers from the vagaries of the health care market and rising health care costs. That would be hard work, and I would probably have to go to donors and alumni and actually say nice things about our staff.

And, dear Jesus, thanks for keeping the faculty off in their own little worlds. If they suddenly woke up to see how badly I’m trying to treat the staff or how I’m trying to gut the education part of the University, they might band together and find a way to make me quit.

And dear Jesus, thank You for letting me have the money to build the Scholars Walk. I know it had to be You, because only the miracle that is You would make it so I could build a new sidewalk where there was already a perfectly good sidewalk instead of putting that money toward keeping the General College. Especially seeing as how no one, not even me, really knows or cares who those walk scholars are.

And, dear Jesus, thank You for making people crazy about football. Because You did that, I don’t have to explain why I want to spend $250 million or so on a stadium we don’t need instead of on the workers or education. I’m very glad You like football.

Dear Jesus, thank You for letting me start turning our school into a research lab. I know it had to be You, because anyone with two brain cells to rub together could see research is part of education and not the other way around. But all the decision-makers were blind to that.

Which reminds me, I want to thank You in advance for all the profits that research is going to put into the University. Because that means we can wait longer for the really good students, like Harvard and Yale do, and cut down on undergraduate enrollment without raising tuition. I mean, I said it myself: I “can’t tolerate access to the University without success,” so thanks for helping me exclude more people who might fail, even though they might succeed. It’s not like I have an objective way to tell who the failures will be, and nobody called me on it, so I guess I should thank You for that, too.

And thank You very much for making everyone forget I hold a doctorate in education. I mean, if I were to strip a school of important educational functions and replace them with a completely different focus, like research, it would be really embarrassing if people were all, “Hey, aren’t you supposed to be, like, an educator or something?” So thanks for covering my butt on that. It was really hanging out there.

In Your precious name,


CJ Stone is a University staff member. Please send comments to [email protected].

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