Friday, March 14, 2014

KSU brass playing its version of I've Got a Secret

Why do I suddenly sense that the Kent State University trustees have adopted the rules of JobsOhio, the public-private development agency in Columbus  where inquiries about its inner-Kasich routinely go to die?

Look at these two Beacon Journal headlines heralding excellent pieces by reporter Carol Biliczky that leaves you wondering whether a public university fully understands its obligations for revealing the decision-making process in its hiring practices. In this instance,(1) how did the KSU Board arrive at a $106,500 bonus for retiring president Lester Lefton?  and (2) what were the details of how a research firm,  which was paid $250,000-plus, evaluated  two finalists, one not named.

With each passing day, understanding moving parts at the top end of any public university and its trustees  becomes more difficult - described by Biliczky as "obscure".

The lips have been just as tight for the search for a successor to University of Akron President Luis Proenza in the  months since he announced his retirement last
August. He will leave at the end of this current school year with a handsome parachute.

Unfortunately for the public, which pays for all of this, state universities have become so politically sensitive to the big nooses around their heads from the governor's office and general assembly, fearful of offending their keepers while having to put up with severe budgetary problems, big debt and enrollment shortfalls. .

Though thorough, the Biliczky's  tandem of articles reflect no more than the hints of the deeper issues  of where state campuses are headed,  both self -inflicted and also suffering from the agonies of being at the mercy of disinterested politicians, some of whom could have trouble finding their way to Akron and Kent.

In the politicized world  of secretive public campuses, the old college try has become quite irrelevant.

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