the economic crisis that is about to hit the country produces a strongly uneven impact on the planet University. To pay the price of the crisis there will be primarily the young and the precarious of Universities and Research Institutions. Since 2010, as you well know, many grants, cheques and collaboration contracts will not be able to be renewed. At the same time, new hires of structured staff are effectively blocked, given that your University's budget projections have been in the red since 2011. There will be a lack of money to pay salaries, as well as those for electricity, gas, cleaning, not to mention investments.
For years now, your role has placed you in the top positions of the national university system which, in every self-respecting country, must be regarded as the place of formation of excellence and the enhancement of talents. In Italy, in recent decades, this place has instead been pointed out by many as an example of the wickedness of a "caste", of the dissipation of talents (renamed as the "brain drain"), of the squandering of public resources (since 1997 the teaching population has gone from 49,000 to 61,000 units). Worse, the university system is today considered by too many as a place of consolidation of clientele that have nothing to do with quality and merit.
You are not all directly guilty of this colossal disaster.
Some of you have worked with dedication all your life, teaching and inspiring with masterful lessons, updating your research path, directing to the younger generations the ways to make their way into the future. Others among you have instead taken advantage of your role to build a "dowry" on a professional level (I think of notaries, doctors, etc …), immediately transferred to largest earnings outside the walls of the University.
This cry of pain comes from the young generations who today find themselves at a crossroads and do not lose hope of finding in you an example for the future of the country.
With the monthly salary paid by the University where you work, you have afforded yourself a worthy home, a life of modest comfort, often a second and third home by the sea or in the mountains. Many of you have safeguarded the standard of living of future generations as well, facilitating access to important places – sometimes public – for children, friends and relatives. Some were individuals of certain value, others less so.
Today comes your greatest opportunity.
The opportunity to demonstrate to the country that it is a rational ruling class, ready to sacrifice, aware of the challenges that Italy is preparing to face.
The opportunity to free the younger generations from an unbearable burden that threatens to oppress us for decades.
The opportunity to restore hope and oxygen to the scientists of tomorrow, freeing us from those constraints and brakes – human, cultural and professional – that your presence, whether you like it or not, however it poses.
By law, researchers with 40 years of service must retire at the age of 65. It is not clear why you, Full Professors, cannot do the same (even if the law allows you to remain in the role until the age of 70, in derogation from any rule valid for any other public employee).
The personnel department of your University will provide you with all the necessary forms.
Your standard of living will not change.
You will be entitled to a pension of more than EUR 3 000 net per month, which we will pay you again – I hope – for at least 20 years. Italian university professors are among the longest-lived in the world, perhaps because the few hours per week required by the role leave the right time for study and scientific reflection. Of course, the contributions you have paid are not enough to cover the costs of your pension, but we will work to pay it.
You can still work as consultants, as project contractors, on specific projects that your University or other bodies, public and private, will want to entrust to you. Get back into the game on the market: you can do it from an advantageous position given your important past. You can afford the usual holidays, a caregiver in case of illness, a worthy nest egg for Christmas gifts to grandchildren.
But go away from the Institutions, from the Faculty Councils, from the Department Councils, from the places where you can manage and control the access of the younger generations.
If all of you resign tomorrow (there are about 10,000) the Italian universities will save in an instant, from this year and for each year following this, at least 1 billion euros, a figure that is equivalent to 15% of the FFO, the Ordinary Financing Fund of the Universities.
Your resignation will mean new oxygen for recruitment, new lymph in the Universities
Your resignation will mean the possibility of stabilizing all the research fellows, doctoral students and experts in the subject who for years have been assisting you in preparing your publications, accompanying you to conferences, replacing you in class, allowing you – in a word – to dedicate yourself with dedication not only to university activity but also to all other commitments that you usually carry out (journalists, freelancers, etc …)
Your resignation will also allow us to get rid of those loopers who only hope for a donation from you, but who we all know well are not deserving of a place of excellence in the State University.
It will be an epochal turning point for the Italian University, which will be repopulated with very young people and will find smiles and enthusiasm
It will be a turning point for all those guys who today graduate and hope, because they are good, in a future of excellence.
I know I am asking you for a great sacrifice, but I hope you will have the foresight to assume this responsibility today, before the social clash generated by the crisis leads someone – God forbid – to imagine much more drastic solutions of renewal.
With the best regards.