Russell Berman's riposte to the MLA ripostes includes an interesting question:
Still, if critics want to call for the closing of programs, which programs, one might ask, should be eliminated? How will closings not end up disadvantaging public institutions, where the majority of first-generation college students study?
Speaking as someone in a department where over half the T-TT faculty have doctorates from public institutions, I find this assumption somewhat baffling. Students at strong public institutions are often better prepared for the job market than are their private and/or Ivy-clad counterparts--more pedagogical instruction, classroom experience, and (sometimes) even publications. And I'm going to guess that there are quite a few state schools that have equivalent (or better) placement records to private ones. If you say, "look, if X percent of your students don't get TT jobs within X amount of time, we either reduce your intake or close your program altogether," then I'm going to guess that some very fancy departments would suddenly get an attack of the vapors, while some very not-fancy departments would just grin.