An open letter to all my fellow colleagues, staffers, and students at USC who aren’t screwing everything up all the time

I feel like I’m getting into pompous David Brooks territory with these various open letters that I have been writing, but I am so heartsore this morning after the terrorism in New Zealand, the loss of a young Thornton student to gun violence, and the latest USC crime against higher education that I need somebody to cheerlead me.

Since all our obscenely overcompensated leaders can’t seem to do anything for us besides send out frantic ass-covering emails, some leadership is in order. You’re stuck with me for this leadership since our real “leaders” are apparently pencil pushers who don’t have enough decency to write to us with the humanity and care we deserve other than to pelt us with emails about how wonderfully they are managing this brand-new public humiliation.

To all of us decent, unbelievably hard-working cogs in the USC machine who haven’t absconded with millions, taken pay-for-admissions, or sexually victimized any of the young people in our care, thank you.

We’re awesome, ya know?

We keep working, especially all the staff and the contract laborers who help the students figure out their financial aid, counsel them, scurry after self-important administrators, and keep this place beautifully maintained with incredible on-campus dining (even if the prices are shocking). USC is amazing in no small part because our staff and services personnel are so professional, friendly, and *competent*.

The screw-ups of those at the top who have ridden off into the sunset with their lovely homes and million-dollar bonuses make all our work invisible to everybody outside the university. We are left to cope with grant foundations who want us to re-earn their trust even though we ourselves did nothing to break it. We are left with students who resent us because our leaders have so degraded the value of their degrees and their athletic achievements with one scandal after another. We deal with snotty jokes about USC isn’t worth bribing your way into, or the moniker “University of Spoiled Children.”

To all of us who have worked this whole time through one unforgivable revelation after another, I salute us. We deserve better. We always have. I wish, when we show up on Monday, we would all at least receive a thank-you from our provosts and our deans and our trustees for hanging tough to make this place work, but that would require them to think about somebody besides themselves.

I don’t think USC is structurally capable of having leaders that think about other people first. That’s why it’s so broken and why it’s been so damn broken for so long that this backlog of scandals will keep Times reporters in content for the next decade or so.

Instead of the raises and combat pay and thank you we deserve, the admin wants a 5 percent cut. It’ll come from our hides, not theirs. It always does. It never doesn’t. The $6billion we killed ourselves to get was for vanity projects, not faculty, staff, or the students.

So here’s to us, friends and colleagues. Here’s to us. I’m proud of us even if our love and care for the institution and the students go otherwise unappreciated. Again, here’s to us, and to hell with them.