Friday, January 13, 2012

University of Maryland Spending $7.2 Million on House for College President

And Not Spending the Money – Where?

A good example of the increasingly rare even and fair reporting is in the Washington Post’s story about how the University of Maryland, facing tough fiscal times,

 the flagship university is asking donors to support students who might drop out because they can’t afford tuition.

is still spending $7.2 million to build a new house for its President.  This does sound wrong in today’s environment, but a reading of the story reveals there is some rationale for the expenditure.

The money is coming from private donations, not taxpayers, and a large part of the new house will be for hosting events and bringing outside people to the campus, people who might be expected to write big checks to the University.  The existing facility has significant problems and is not all that suitable for this task and will be torn down.  So an argument can be made that this is a reasonable expenditure of privately raised money to support the college.

So what is the issue  here.  It is this line in the story.

taci Armezzani, director of communications for the student government, said even student leaders did not know the new house was in the works.

“They’re a bit confused,” said Armezzani, a senior criminology and criminal justice major from Germantown.

“The big question that I’ve heard is, ‘Why is the money being used there instead of for athletics?’ ”

Yes, read that again, “Why is the money being used there instead of for athletics?”  Pretty much says all there needs to be said about the role of colleges and universities and education.

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