It’s not surprising that IA is insouciant about operating costs. What passes for financial information at IA is this annual P/L (don’t even ask about a balance sheet; we don’t need no stinkin’ balance sheets!). Looked at closely, it has many perplexing entries, of which one is an item for “direct facilities cost” of about $2m, which would cover operating about 200,000 square feet of office space. The SAHPC alone is about 140,000 square feet, and a small fraction of IA’s total real estate. Who is paying to light and heat and clean all their space, including but not limited to a whole basketball arena wrapped in thousands and thousands of square feet of offices? Is it any wonder that IA has a campus reputation for opacity and arrogance, if not flat mendacity?
The next chapters of this story will be continued financial wreckage (ameliorated a little if the economy turns upwards) dumped on the campus, and mismanaged by the same team – in particular the same athletic director (she has an MBA, by the way) and athletic financial director – that has a decade-long record of bad judgment and who got us into the current half-billion-dollar (and growing!) hat trick of losing teams, losing money, and academic failure.
We do have a new chancellor. I know little about him: if he’s a ‘football fan’ in the style of our departing leader, meaning that he leaves his critical faculties and his courage at the door when he deals with intercollegiate athletics, we have no hope. If he wants to lead a university more than he wants to cheer the occasional touchdown and party with boosters, he will clean a lot of house at IA, and install leadership that has some hope of getting the ship through the rocks without foundering completely and bringing the rest of us underwater with it.
[Cross-posted at The Reality-based Community]
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