Who Pays the Hidden Cost of University Research?

Higher education in America is in financial crisis. In constant dollars, the average cost of tuition and fees at public colleges has risen almost 300 percent since 1980. Our best public research universities, like my own University of California (UC), are wracked with doubt: will they be able to continue their historic role as institutions with a vital public mission, or will they become “privatized,” demanding ever higher tuition and therefore inevitably serving a more elite clientele?
Let me note some pointed comments by citizens outside the campus. A letter to the editor in the San Francisco Chronicle last March 9th said: “What the public college students (and their parents) in this state must understand is that the days of the taxpayers subsidizing their higher education are over, sad as that may be. …The costs at all colleges and universities have risen dramatically over the last few years (much higher than the cost-of-living-index). … Those of us in California who are taxpayers are having a difficult enough time paying our mortgages and for the education of our own children. It simply is not sustainable to expect that there will be free or substantially below-cost education provided on the backs of the state’s increasingly dwindling number of taxpayers. …”
A similar complaint is voiced in an article published by the Howard Jarvis Taxpayers Association, July 5, 2010: “As California faces an unprecedented budget crisis, students at California colleges have been asked to pay a greater share of the total cost of their education, most of which is still borne by taxpayers. …[T]axpayers pay 60-70% of the cost of … UC students’ education, without even counting financial aid.”

So here we have seemingly valid arguments for raising tuition in the UC system. But are our students, in fact, being subsidized by the average taxpayer? Are students the cause of the rising costs of higher education? And, finally, should students pay the full cost for the benefit of their college degree or are there larger purposes to public education?
The University Budget
There are two great missions of a first-rank public research university:

-to provide top quality undergraduate education for all qualified students, exposing them to great ideas from all over, imparting high-level skills for the job market, and making them capable citizens and leaders.
-to provide top quality academic research, and related graduate student programs, in the pursuit of basic knowledge across the spectrum of human endeavor.

Who should pay for these two important functions? It used to be that the State of California paid for both through generous taxpayer funding for faculty salaries, departmental staff, and the institutional infrastructure of buildings, laboratories, libraries and so forth. It was called the “I&R Budget” (Instruction and Research).
As the research mission expanded over time, a significant proportion of the cost came to be paid for by external sources, especially grants from the federal government. Such “sponsored research” is well-monitored and accounted for. But it does not cover all research activity, by any means. The state still covers the rest and it is buried in the “core academic budget”.
The search for new knowledge is an expensive business. Yet it is unequivocally a public good, the advances in knowledge being of great value for both the economy and the progress of modern civilization. The research mission of the university can, therefore, only be viewed as something that should be paid for by the whole of society, for the benefit of the whole of society.
What about undergraduate education? Is it a public good or a private gain? There are sharp differences of opinion on this. To many people, UC students are a privileged group who are gaining a private benefit through their access to higher education. Therefore, the argument goes, they should bear the cost, rather than having the general taxpayer shoulder the burden.
But this raises a fundamental question: what is the actual cost of an undergraduate education in the University of California? That turns out to be a more difficult thing to answer than one might suppose.
Who Pays for What?
How much of the core budget at UC is presently spent for undergraduate education and how much for faculty research and its related graduate programs, and do students pay their fair share of the costs?
The official accounting by the UC administration concludes that student fees now cover 30% to 40% of the average cost of education (this is the source of the numbers quoted by the Howard Jarvis group, above). But the official calculation includes the full cost of faculty research throughout the academic year. It is, therefore, a badly distorted figure.
To correct this, one must disaggregate the accounting reports according to the two basic functions of the university. This idea raises the hackles of administrators and faculty alike, not just at UC, but at research universities across the country. The common practice is to hide all of the cost of faculty research not covered by sponsored research grants under the misleading heading of expenditures for “Instruction.”
My own calculations, separating those cost components by using data from a faculty time-use study, lead to the conclusion that, as of 2007, undergraduate student fees at UC had reached 100% of the actual cost of providing their education. And fees have since risen by 30 percent!
There is a sharp conflict here to be resolved. If the administration’s number is accepted, then taxpayers might well be right to complain that they are subsidizing UC students. If my number is more correct, then undergraduates (and their families) are already paying the full cost (or more) for their UC education. This is true whether or not we agree on the public good of a UC education.
If I am right, then it is up to the state government and taxpayers to assume full responsibility for funding the university’s research mission and to stop pushing the cost of that research – which is a benefit to all – onto the tuition bills of students. This is a direct challenge to the Board of Regents and their hired executives.
Follow the Money
What happens to the money that the university takes in from undergraduate tuition and fees? This is the largest pot of discretionary revenue that our administrators collect, but there is no way to find out how they spend most of it. I have made repeated requests for data, but no one has an answer. It turns out that tuition money at UC is thrown into the mix with state appropriations, and it is spent without regard to its relation to undergraduate teaching. One recent controversy surrounds the practice of pledging student fee revenue as collateral whenever the university sells bonds to finance construction projects on the campuses.
We, as a public university, have an obligation to come clean about how we use our money, the people’s and the students’. With last year’s budget cuts of roughly 20% of state funding, a cry has gone up for greater transparency from the administration, yet those with top-level financial authority are closed-mouthed and their reports opaque when it comes to many vital questions about income and spending.
Escalating Costs
The allocation of university funds between research and instruction is only part of the problem we face at the university. Another is the sharply rising administrative overhead, which pushes costs upward – as noted by the letter writer to the Chronicle.
Administrative bureaucracy has grown at an alarming rate. I collected data from official UC sources and found that over a recent decade student enrollment had increased by 33%, university employment had expanded by 31%, and the ranks of management had more than doubled, up by 118%. This excess represents an added cost of roughly $600 million to the university’s budget. When presented with this data, top officials have failed to give any credible response. This bureaucratic bloat is likely the result of administrators feathering their own nests with too many vice-chancellors and deputy assistants. To faculty, it certainly appears that there is too much staff and glitter at the top, while the core of academic departments are left to starve.
Moreover, executive compensation at the university has been a never-ending scandal. While the total amount of money involved here is not so large, the practice of treating university administrators like corporate executives has outraged many people both inside and outside of academia. Even within the faculty there has been a scramble for higher salaries by playing the game of soliciting offers from wealthy private institutions. This siphons off money from basic needs and creates internal tension, especially with poorly paid junior faculty. For my generation, the old practice of uniform salary scales and steady promotion on merit was instrumental in making UC one of the world’s great centers of learning.
Who is to Blame?
An unrelenting chorus of obeisance to the gods of “the market” has seriously eroded the time-honored virtues of the university. Universities are not corporations operating for a profit, putting out products called “science”, “innovation” or “degrees.” They are collegial bodies of faculty pursuing knowledge and teaching under the watchful eye of their peers. They are communities of the young seeking to learn from the wisdom of teachers before they go out into the world. They are motivated by a remarkable (if always imperfect) degree of selfless pursuit of ideas for their own sake and for the good of humankind.
The assault on the university from the minions of the market starts at the top with our Board of Regents. This quaint body is given complete control over the university, even though its members are simply successful business people who have done favors for the governor who appoints them.
Take the issue of executive compensation. To “captains of industry” it is natural that top executives are responsible for the success of any enterprise and therefore deserve large monetary rewards. But a university is not like that. Presidents and Chancellors do not decide what courses to teach and how to teach them; they do not decide what research projects to pursue and how to do that. It is the thousands of professors operating independently and in concert with their peers, who make those decisions. The role of university administrators is to keep the plumbing in working order and to see that the bank accounts are well-managed – necessary work, but not deserving of extravagant salaries.
Take the issue of student fees. Members of the Board of Regents are quite wealthy, so the cost of paying for their own children’s educations is no great burden. Moreover, they are supremely successful individuals who have a hard time seeing the collective purpose of public education in serving the merely talented.
But that is not the whole story. There has been a failure of leadership within the universities themselves. Where are the college Presidents and Chancellors who will stand up to those Regents and defend public education and the higher purposes of the university? I see too many managerial place-holders and ambitious self-promoters who have lost touch with the rest of the faculty, much less the undergraduates.
Our great public universities are in need of serious reform at the top. It starts with the call for a full and honest accounting of how the money is handled. It adds a call for distancing academic work and values from the dominant corporate culture outside our campuses. It requires a rededication to the public good and service to a democratic society. Such a reformation requires new leadership. Where will that come from?
The Higher Learning
There are two fundamental reasons for defending public universities against the corrosions of market logic and erosion of state funding. The first, following our greatest thinkers, from Thomas Jefferson to John Dewey, is that a well-educated citizenry is vital for good government. It is a public good America cannot do without. Money making cannot be the only order of business for a democracy.
The second purpose of public education is to provide opportunity to all qualified students regardless of background and financial status. For generations, our great public universities have been an antidote to the poison of an immanent aristocracy, by providing broad avenues to advancement for our most talented youngsters. The great danger today is the growing gap between a wealthy elite and the rest of us, whether through excessive executive compensation, Wall Street bonuses, or stock speculations.
If these public universities are choked off – either by becoming mediocre schools or by becoming more and more exclusive – then we will have lost a major counterweight to the rule of privilege and a principal foundation for the future of the Republic.


10 thoughts on “Who Pays the Hidden Cost of University Research?

  1. Overall, a well-reasoned and thoughtful piece. But I too challenge Mr. Schwartz’s assertion that university research is “unequivocally a public good.” As commenter PamK comments, a substantial portion of such “research” is utterly without public value. And I would argue that much of it has been seriously detrimental to the public good. PamK mentions the money grant hunt that drives so much research in the hard sciences. The corruption of climate research connected with global warming is a great example of how politically-driven money has forced many scientists in universities to either exaggerate their conclusions or hide their true opinions. It has corrupted the field and poisoned the influence of science on public policy. Hardly an unequivocal public good.
    In the humanities and social sciences, it is well known that much of the research done in is ideology driven or trivial nonsense published in journals read by literally a handful of people in the world. Does the ten thousandth paper on the “phallocentric” depredations of Shakespeare really need to be funded by the public? Or by tuition dollars? Aside from the colossal waste of money poured into such dreck, it also draws professors away from teaching, particularly undergraduates. So many professors today disdain teaching at all, let alone teaching survey courses or courses needed by undergraduates to get a broad grasp of their major field or a broad look at another field in a distribution course. Instead, too many professors teach courses that focus on increasingly minute and obscure aspects of their field, because that is what their research focuses on. Many don’t have the time or interest to teach anything they aren’t working on for their research and publishing goals, and they wouldn’t be rewarded for it if they did. But that doesn’t serve undergraduates’ needs.
    The universities don’t care. They want the money, they want the “prestige” that comes from “research,” and the students are forced to take what they can get. The universities today seem to exist for the benefot of the administrators and tenured professors chasing money grants or pursuing worthless intellectual minutiae. Many of the courses listed in university catalogs are not even taught any longer, or are taught so rarely an undergraduate will have trouble taking it in a four-year course of study. Undergraduate education at many institutions has become a bait-and-switch ripoff that costs students, their parents and taxpayers vast sums for increasingly diminished returns.

  2. I retired from a mid-sized Canadian university that is well-known for its research and for the excellence of its undergraduate teaching. The cost for a 4-year degree is approximately $20,000 Canadian ($160.50 per unit; 120 units are required to graduate). I think it would be useful for an American researcher to compare several equivalent Canadian universities to American ones to figure out why students up here pay so much less for their education.
    One big savings up here in Canada is that students are encouraged to attend their local university and this results in significant numbers of students being able to live at home. Living at home not only results in lower costs, but also seems to have prevented the rise of the drinking and hook-up cultures that apparently prevail on so many campuses in the U.S.
    Costs also remain low for students who live in smaller communities where there is no university, but there is a community college. University professors in various subject areas have worked with community college teachers to help make transfer from the colleges to the university relatively easy.

  3. Add to all this tha fact that 80- 90% of academic reserch at major research universities is just unmitigated garbage. The purpose of this outpouring of paper is twofold.
    1. getting federal grants: of which 50 % or more goes to fund administartors as administrative overhead. the research university just becomes a entity doing whatever ethical or unethical acts as necessary to getmore grants.
    2. faculty are evaluated by their publications and no one ever cares about the quality or impact of the research. so the perverse incentive is to spew out more and more (junk).
    in this mad rush for grants and tenure the catual sufferer is credible science.
    this whole sysytem of Govt. funded big science is incredibly corrupt and wasteful.
    I was many moons ago an academic physician in atenure track position at a top 5 university. One of my seniot colleagies was busy manipulating his data ( just throwing out inconvenient experiments that did not support his conclusions). I guess i could have been a hero and whistle blower and ended mycarrer in controversy. I just took the easy way out – resigned and went into private practice. Longer hours harder work and more money. What i find amazing is that many of my erstewhile colleagues, who are dependant of NIH grants and indulge in all kinds of churlish behaviour to get them, seem somehow to subtly imply in conversation, that somehow i must be the corrupt one for making more money than them by the stint of my labor.

  4. Very interesting and thought-provoking essay. As one who worked for 32 years in a major research university, his observations hit home. Much changed during my time at University of Washington, where the graduate school programs seemed to grow to overshadow the undergraduate. The money coming in from NIH and other grants seemed to be more important and require more administrators and their time than that from state and student contributions. In effect, to those in the research labs, the University appeared to become more like a corporate entity lobbying the government to buy its products – biomedical and physical sciences research. Undergraduate students were just necessary to justify the buildings, space and services to the taxpayers. And then the costs charged to the research grants for use of those same buildings, services, etc., plus the “administrative costs” was not inconsequential to the overall grant awards. And consider the need for a travel office inside the university: research professors do a LOT more traveling (research collaborations, scientific meetings, etc.) than most faculty. Once an educational institution prioritizes research dependent on private or federal dollars, as the UW and others have, it really is a major business. Unfortunately, the closest many undergraduates get to the most highly acclaimed research professors is buying their books for a class taught by a graduate student.

  5. My question is: who benefits from the research done at public universities? Shwartz seems to believe that the public as a whole does. In some sense, that is correct, just as the public as a whole benefits from any private economic activity.
    But it is equally true that the researchers tend to personally benefit much more than the public. If the research field is in the sciences, any marketable breakthroughs result in spin-off companies, which usually split the profit between the university and the discoverers/creators (and any VCs they bring onboard). In the humanities, researchers land book deals, speaking engagements, and consulting jobs. This probably is not the case for most researchers, but it is clearly the case for some, if not many.
    A question that Schwartz fails to consider is whether public financial support of R&D that ends up in the private hands of researchers and their VC backers (or support of authors/speakers/consultants) is something that states on the verge of bankruptcy should continue to provide. If public funding of research resulted in copyright- and patent-free output (or patents in the name of the people of California, etc), then public funding of research would be much more palatable to a lot of people.

  6. I would only add that this sort of thing is an issue at private colleges as well. The University of Dayton just bought the former NCR corporate campus and the purchase has been universally hailed as a wonderful thing for Dayton. But, really, c’mon — are we to believe this improves the quality of education being provided by the University? I admit I am somewhat ignorant to the benefits of a research institution but it stretches the imagination to see how a private religious institution can finance such a huge endeavor and 1)it not come at the expense of undergraduate education, and 2) not indicate a significant shift in focus for the entire organization.

  7. The amount of money available to the university from the federal and state governments is generally known. If your contention is that those sources should be responsible for covering the full costs of the university research, it seems that the university needs to cut back quite a bit on research spending. After all, if it is a public good, and therefore the public should pay for it, shouldn’t the public that is paying for it get to decide how much of it they buy? The research budget from the state and federal level is that decision.

  8. This is an excellent article by Professor Schwartz.
    It does appear that many UC undergraduates do end up subsidizing the research enterprise at UC.
    One wonders if these same UC undergraduates are not also being targeted as potential deep pockets to help bail UC out of its burgeoning unfunded pension liability mess.
    But the traffic will only bear so much; and it’s not fair to ask UC undergrads to pony up for costs which as Professor Schwartz aptly notes are essentially public goods, i.e. tuition and fee costs in excess of the actual cost of an undergraduate education.
    Of course as Schwartz also notes the UC accounting system makes it very difficult to allocate cost by cost objective. As an issue of mere accounting, this should be a very simple matter, however in practice research university accounting processes make it very difficult – something one suspects may be more a matter of convenience for the administrators rather than a mere accident.
    Help may be on the way, however, in the form of a California State Auditor report which is expected to be issued in January 2011. The title of the audit is “University of California’s Revenues and Expenditures”. Here is a ULR for a document describing in detail the objectives of this currently ongoing California State audit:
    http://www.bsa.ca.gov/pdfs/analyses/2010-105.pdf .
    Hopefully this California Bureau of State Audits report will help to shed some light on how much of the funds received by UC actually go to teach it’s undergraduates.

  9. I would ask the previous commenter- Mr. Heiden- to look at these stories and then review his comment again- it simply does not hold up to the facts in the news.
    * U.C. Spokespeople’s Dueling Rationales For Booting Filmmaker Out of Regents Meeting (2010)
    * Why No Campus Protest Over Berkeley-BP Connection?
    * Thomas Peele: UC Execs Could Do With Some Education of Their Own (2010)
    * UC Needs Some Education On Meetings Laws (2010)
    * Governor Signs Yee’s Bill to Protect UC Whistleblowers (2010)
    * Schwarzenegger Vetoes Whistleblower Protections for UC Workers (2009)
    * UC Denies Filmmaker’s Right to Tape Regent Meeting (2010)
    * Is UC Regent’s Vision for Higher Education Clouded By His Investments? (2010)
    * UC Davis Uses Anti-SLAPP Provisions To Kill Prof’s Discrimination Lawsuit (2009)
    * Former UCD Police Officer SLAPPed For 20K in Fees in Civil Rights Suit (2010)
    * UC Davis Principles Apparently Also Include the Undermining of Civil Rights Protections for Employees (2010)
    * UC Regents Schwarzenegger and Wachter ? Are They Making A Profit From University Investments? (2010)
    * Billion Dollar Baby: The University of California Invests $53 Million In Two Diploma Mills Owned By A Regent. (2010)
    * Sen. Yee clashes with UC, CSU over Alumni , Donor Privacy (2010)
    * UCSF Head Has Millions In Medical, Drug Stocks (2010)
    * Audit Demands Investment Reform, We Hope- Daily Bruin (2010)
    * UCSF Chancellor and Controversial Tobacco Stock(2010)
    * UC Regents sue UCLA radiology professor Robert Lufkin for engaging in non-UC work (2010)
    * Federal Civil Rights Suit Brought Against UCLA, UC Regents For Copying Prof Lufkin’s Hard Drive (2010)
    * Operational Mediocrity- Daily Californian (2010)
    * Protest Studies, The New Yorker (2010)
    * Protest Studies: California is broke, and Berkeley is in revolt (2010)
    * UCLA Consultant Involved In Accounting Scandal (2010)
    * More Scandals Uncovered at UC, Yee Requests State Audit (2010)
    * UC Regents OK Millions In Incentive Pay To Top Execs (2010)
    * UC Davis Pays Settlement To Whistleblower Over Retaliation- Food Stamps Program Involved (2010)
    * Former UC Davis Employee Sentenced For Theft – Food Stamp Program Involved (2009)
    * UC Admits Misleading Public About Senior Executive Buyout Taker (2009)
    * List of Salaries of UC Highest Paid Employees (2009)
    * UC Boss Mark Yudof’s Case Against Himself (2009)
    * U.S. Senator Grassley Raises Concerns About Integrity of Finances at University of California System (2009)
    * UC Regents Award Huge Pay Increases To Execs While Furloughing Staff (2009)
    * Audit Finds Excessive Expenses By CSU and UC Senior Administrator (2009)
    * POGO Praises U.S. Senator Grassley For Raising Concerns About Integrity of Finances at UC (2009)
    * Yakuza Mob and UCLA Med Center on CBS “60 Minutes” by Lara Logan (2009)
    * UC San Diego Data Security Hotline Swamped (2009)
    * UC Irvine To Fire Whistleblower Nurse?! (2009)
    * New UC Davis Chancellor Linked to “Clout” Admissions Probe (2009)
    * UC San Francisco Belatedly Announces September data breach (2009)
    * A Tangled Web At Berkeley by UC Santa Cruz Professor John Ellis (2009)
    * UC Berkeley Journalism Students Data Breached (2009)
    * UC Davis Chancellor’s Actions Cause Concern (2009)
    * Senator Grassley Supports UCSF Whistleblower (2009)
    * Negligence Caused UCLA Student Death – State Safety and Health Agency Faults University For Training Lapses, Unsafe Practices (2009)
    * Deadly UCLA Lab Fire Leaves Haunting Questions (2009)
    * UC Berkeley Computers Hacked-160,000 Staff,Student, Alumni, Patients etc At Risk (2009)
    * Cal/OSHA Chief To Oversee Criminal Investigation Of Fatal UCLA Lab Fire (2009)
    * What Can Be Learned From The Death Of A Young Biochem Student At UCLA? (2009)
    * Berkeley Chancellor Delivers Grim Budget News.. (2009)
    * UC Spending Big Despite Budget Crisis video KTVU News (2009)
    * Farrah Fawcett Helped Prove UCLA Leaked Her Health Records (2009)
    * UC Berkeley Alums Get Breached…AGAIN! (2009)
    * UC ‘s Egregious Actions (video-youtube) (2009)
    * UCB RIP by Erik Tarloff – Atlantic Monthly(2009)
    * UC Davis Center For Abused Kids Misused Federal Funds, Audits Show (2009)
    * UC Defends $2.1 Million Deal For Police Chief -Top Campus Cop Retires with Lump Sum – Then Is Rehired (2008)
    * Court: U.C. Whistleblowers Have Nowhere to Go (2008)
    * After Livers, Cash to UCLA (2008)
    * Japanese Mob Boss Gave $100,000 to UCLA, Rewards After Controversial Liver Transplant (2008)
    * Fired UCSF Dean Says Review Backs His Claim Of Irregularities (2008)
    * UCSF Refuses To Release Outside Review Of Its Finances (2008)
    * WhistleBlower Dean David Kessler Fired From UCSF (2008)
    * Big Raises For CSU, UC – Executives Prompt Bill (2008)
    * UC Chief Yudof Changes Buyout Policy (2008)
    * Meet Linda Morris Williams, in charge of whistle blowing at Cal – Severance AND new UC job for aide in pay scandal (2008)
    * ID Theft At UC Irvine- Scammers Used Stolen Data To File False Tax Returns, Steal Students’ Refunds (2008)
    * 6,000 UCSF Patients’ Data Got Put Online (2008)
    * Audit Firms Backs Up Fired UCSF Med School Dean Claim (2008)
    * UCLA Dentist Whistleblower Resigns Post (2008)
    * UC Irvine Med Center Still Out Of Compliance (2008)
    * UC Irvine ID Theft Caused By Data Breach (2008)
    * Court Rules Against University of California Whistleblowers (2008)
    * Movie Sharing Program Causes A Security Breach In University Of California San Francisco (2008)
    * After the Fall (2008)
    * Union protest pre-empts chancellor’s annual meeting with staff (2008)
    * UCSF Research Computer Containing Cancer Patient Information Stolen (2007)
    * UC Officials Override Rules To Give More Than $1 Million To 70 Execs (2007)
    * Regent Blum Slams UC System in Report (2007)
    * UC’S Top Regent Bashes UC System (2007)
    * UCSF Server Breached, Staff, Faculty and Students Notified (2007)
    * Regents Excuse UC President In Salary Scandal (2007)
    * UC Davis Criminal Probe Launched Into Computer Hacking of Vet School Admissions Info (2007)
    * UC President Robert Dynes Example Of Larger UC Problem written by former Regent Ward Connerley ( 2007)
    * Data Security Breach At UCSF May Have Exposed Thousands (2007)
    * Scandal Mars UC Chief’s Legacy (2007)
    * The Scandal, The Scapegoat, And The Suicide (2007)
    * Low-Rate Loans For UC’s Elite – Some Less Than 2 Percent — System Won’t Divulge Names (2006)
    * UC Audit Blasts Administrators, President’s Office (2006)
    * 700 At UC Awarded $23 Million In Exit Pay – Lucrative Deals For Faculty, Staff, Some With Legal Claims (2006)
    * Computer Breach Might Have Exposed Student Information (2006)
    * UCLA Breach Exposes Almost One Million Identities (2006)
    * 32 Patients On The Liver Transplant Waiting List Died While UCI Medical Center Rejected Scores Of Viable Organs(2006)
    * UC Irvine Med Center Administrators Ignored Federal Warnings (2006)
    * Berkeley Chancellor’s Perks Raise Eyebrows (2006)
    * UC Said To Break Meeting Laws – Exec Pay Votes Must Be Open, Counsel Says (2005)
    * Free mansions for people of means – UC system spends about $1,000,000 a year just on upkeep (2005)
    * UC Davis Cuts Deal To Avoid Bias Suit Ex-Vice Chancellor Gets $205,000 Job — Regents Didn’t Know (2005)
    * UC Pres. Dynes Appears To Have Violated University Policy By Quietly Granting M.R.C. Greenwood A $125,000 Cash Payment (2005)
    * UC Piling Extra Cash On Top of Pay (2005)
    * LANL (Los Alamos National Lab) Whistle-Blower Beaten (2005)
    * The Case of the Battered Whistle-Blower (2005)
    * Kin of 9 Who Died Waiting Accuse UCI (2005)
    * Stolen Laptop Recovered, Fate Of 98,000 Records Unknown (2005)
    * UCLA Acknowledges Sale Of Body Parts As Donors’ Families Sue School (2004)
    * UCLA Suspends Its Willed Body Program (2004)
    * Whistleblowers at Los Alamos Fired in Retaliation (2002)
    * UCSD Big Money and the Ball Club (2000)
    * When Scientists Kidnap Embryos (2000)
    * Claims Against UC Irvine’s Fertility Clinic (1997)
    you can read the stories behind the headlines at:

  10. Prof. Schwartz’s thoughtful essay correctly draws attention to hidden costs in universities, but it overlooks the hidden missions of universities besides those of advancing academic research and educating students. Universities are seen as the equivalent of “stimulus” programs that provide jobs and profits for the economy, not only through the people they employ directly, but also through their huge expenditures on construction and technical equipment. In order for this money to be spent on capital projects it must come in as investments through tax-exempt donations, university-community-business “partnerships”, and government allocations. The executives who are responsible for maintaining the flow of “investment” and capital projects are probably not receiving “excessive executive compensation” when their significant financial role is accurately recognized. The question is whether all of these projects and the system that sustains them are genuinely coordinated with the academic mission. This is not the place to make an argument, except to say that it doesn’t just go without saying.
    I agree with Prof. Schwartz that universities must be defended against market logic, but I disagree that market logic is the sole or biggest problem universities face. What draws universities away from their academic mission is not the corporate culture, but the government culture that strives to manage the whole economy including profit-making corporations.
    The call to recognize and support the public good of university education and research is ultimately the only honest way to justify the costs of universities. However, at the present time it is not possible to tell the public truthfully that all the expenditures and policies of universities, including the academic policies,serve the academic mission optimally or are even intended to do so. I appreciate Prof. Schwartz’s efforts to throw more light on the workings of the University of California. Keep at it!

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