16.1.08

ADJUSTING TO EXCESS CAPACITY. University Diaries relays a story that is unlikely to make me reconsider my position that there are inefficiently many state-subsidized safety schools.
You could make a case that public universities like [Eastern Oregon], which don’t attract many students and aren’t very high quality, shouldn’t exist… And some in Oregon make that case. They point out the sad circularity by which a not very attractive school can’t attract very good presidents, so that they risk hiring people who will make matters far worse….
Including offering LaGrande (at one time an engine terminal on the Union Pacific) a Dilbert moment.

Officials this month released a “repositioning” plan that will pare staff, eliminate physics and German language programs, and consolidate departments in an attempt to save $4.1 million over three years and stabilize the finances at the La Grande-based college.

In all, the school will eliminate the equivalent of 18 full-time jobs.

Don't you love that "repositioning"? We don't need no steenkin' trivium. But we can offer the administrative equivalent of tenure to yet another nest-feathering president.
Ignoring state projections of faltering enrollment and resulting funding cuts, [trade consultant and past president Khosrow] Fatemi hired new administrators, doled out additional scholarships and spent $65,000 to remodel a former fish biology lab into a new president’s suite.
He's now attempting to keep the excess capacity active.
Fatemi is helping develop federal legislation that would steer additional money to rural colleges, much like the government does now for specialized schools that serve minorities, [current chancellor George] Pernsteiner said. If successful, such a program could be a life preserver for rural campuses across the nation, he said.
I doubt that's the most productive use of tax money. Oregon might do better to reduce capacity, tighten admission standards, and redirect the resources to tuition subsidies (we could call 'em merit scholarships if that would be expedient) in order that east-state students might be able to manage four years in Corvallis or Eugene, perhaps with a commissary job, rather than put together a patched-up degree (no physics, what other languages will go next?) in LaGrande.

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