Herding sheep

President La Tourette’s “State of the University” speech outlined huge budgetary cuts that will affect students, faculty and staff. It’s a shame that many of those cuts are misdirected. There exists a huge bureaucracy that undoubtedly will face the guillotine last, if at all.

Current practices indicate this to be the case. For instance, Mr. La Tourette exercises control over some donations that may be used for any purpose he sees fit. He has chosen to use at least a portion of this “clearing account” to pay for liquor expenses incurred by various academic and administrative departments. I have personal knowledge that the College of Business is a frequent recipient of this presidential favor as is the Alumni Association and a host of other academic departments.

If you must spend these funds in that fashion, Mr. La Tourette, throw a party for students and staff. We could use a stiff drink in this time when our educations and jobs are at stake while delays in health insurance payments bring creditors out of the woodwork!

If Mr. La Tourette was truly concerned with the plight of higher education, he would put his money where his mouth is and end these frivolous practices immediately. However, he has not. We should also question why academic departments choose to waste money in this fashion.

I call on President La Tourette to restore some kind of credibility by doing the following:

1). Cease all personal entertainment at university expense. You have a beautiful home maintained by the university and free of charge to you. Take that windfall and hire your own cook instead of the HSC food service.

2). Transfer all funds from your clearing and entertainment accounts to those areas desperately in need of resources. Use those accounts to hire an instructor or to increase university grants for students.

3). Order all departments to cease university-funded entertainment functions, including retirement parties and going-away parties for retiring staff and faculty. If those involved must have such parties, then they should pay for them with personal funds.

4). Make all financial records pertaining to your personal, university-paid entertainment for FY 1990-1992 available for publication in The Northern Star. If you have nothing to be embarrassed by, then this step should be quite simple.

To all staff members: Follow my example and that of Bob Reed by coming forward with specific examples of administrative waste and abuse. Many of you have contacted me since my last letter was published and related specific examples of gross waste such as $3500 expenditures for TV Guide’s (!) and multiple sets of office furniture for one administrator. Use this column to highlight those abuses and put the heat on those responsible by naming names. When huge enrollment cuts are finally realized, your jobs will be on the line, certainly not Mr. La Tourette’s or any other administrator’s.

And finally to students: Pay attention to what is happening around you, recognize that these abuses directly affect you and stop being led like sheep to slaughter. Protect your interests!

Jeffrey Houghtby