When I first moved back to my home state, I really had to get to know it all over again, especially Denver, a place in which I hung out a bit as a youth but not much as an adult and not since the early aughts.

As you probably know, Denver has changed. If I had only bought property back then, I’d be a gaggillionare by now (though that would have required actually making a salary that could have afforded the affordable homes that existed then).

Though I had landed an adjunct gig before moving, I wanted to get the lay of the academic landscape for potential jobs and for Adjunct Union-related mapping (I was so accustomed to having a mental picture of what campuses I may need to sneak onto to have conversations).

One of the first campuses I stalked was the Rocky Mountain College of Art and Design (pronounced henceforth as RumCAD). The campus was gorgeous, right behind the world-famous indigestion-inducing restaurant with that distinct Pepto-pink tower and chlorine smell, Casa Bonita. I was intrigued. I never knew that Colorado had an Art School.


Ew indeed.

One problem, though, the school is for-profit. Ew.

My politics aside for the moment (don’t worry, I’ll get there), at the time, I was enrolled in a Public Service Federal debt forgiveness program that required I work at non-profit institutions for 10 years. When I landed in Denver, I was only 5 in. So, RumCAD was quickly disqualified.

As to my political views, for-profit institutions only have one thing in mind: maximizing profits and pushing down costs. While that may work at McDonald’s, this is contrary to the purpose of education. Minimizing costs means giving less to the students and keeping all of their tuition (or taxpayer dollars) for administrative/executive/investor pockets. And as a teacher, I’m part of the equation that gets less.

I’ve already ranted about how this is occurring in the non-profit college and university space, where administrations are bloated, and schools are relying on underpaid academics to keep tuition dollars going up to admins rather than into the class.

But this is a feature of the for-profit space, not a flaw as with the public schools. So, we cannot be that mad at RumCAD; they are doing what capitalism demands. Community College admins deserve our wrath as they are play-acting as for-profit institutions, overpaying presidents and provosts and deans and VPs at the expense of students and educators.

It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Joby jobs.

It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia, Joby jobs.

So, I’ve sold out. After years and years of avoiding working at RumCAD, I’ve accepted some classes there. And man-oh-man, is that sweet, sweet cash just rolling in! JK, I’m only making marginally more than before because, well, adjunct life is still adjunct life. And luckily, my loans were forgiven a few years back.

I am now at a school where I fundamentally disagree with the economic model because where I was didn’t want me. Because non-profit Colleges and Universities are just as focused on sending tuition dollars up rather than down and thus are more concerned with creating an assembly line of students taught by faceless adjuncts. They bring them in with a promise of a bright future and a shiny new joby job, guaranteed post-graduation, and push them out with little to no evidence their promises were fulfilled. A fallacious proposition I’ve already discussed at length. But at least for-profit institutions are honest about their intentions. Community College admins lie through their teeth, pretending to love the Academy while transmogrifying it into a Trade School.

Admittedly, the over-paid and bloated administrations are contending with a precipitous drop in State and Federal funding, but their answer is to keep things as they are and starve the classrooms of funding. Another consequence of this problem is that they eliminate programs that don’t easily fit into a pithy ad campaign that promises a lucrative career if you sign up now now now!

I was a causality of such a cut, and now a community with a brand new arts district doesn’t have a feeder arts program at their so-called Community College (IYKYK).

And refreshingly, RumCAD doesn’t mention jobs or career readiness in any of its internal or external mission statements.

So if they don’t want the arts or experienced badass art teachers, I will go to the one and only arts-focused college in the state, for-profit model or not. I’m here and frankly happy to be here. I hope my students will read this and join me.