WASHINGTON, D.C. (exclusive) by Ivy Harper AAU Kicked out NU in Part Due to Discounting NU’s USDA Dollars, Then Turns Around & Pens Letter to Congress Praising the Same USDA Funding that AAU “Dissed” at NU

July 26, 2012

Uncategorized

[Note from Ivy Harper: Turns out the secretive AAU sends “official” Letters to Members of Congress that they don’t want anyone to re-print. But I’ll do so here, paragraph by paragraph:]

The Honorable Frank Lucas

Chairman, House Committee on Agriculture

1301 Longworth House Office Building

Washington, D.C. 20515

Dear Mr. Chairman:

As you move to finalize the House version of the 2012 Farm Bill, I am writing on behalf of the Association of American Universities (AAU) in support of the USDA’s premier competitive research program, the Agriculture & Food Research Initiative (AFRI) and in opposition to language in the draft bill that threatens this core component of the USDA’s research mission. AAU represents 59 U.S. public and private research institutions, which perform nearly 60 per cent of federally-funded, university-based research.

[I will continue with the rest of AAU President Rawlings supremely hypocritical letter to Congress praising the exact same USDA funding that they refused to let NU include in its federal funding metrics/benchmarks/indicators in order to beef up their numbers, in order to improve their rankings, in order to stay in the AAU. Ivy Harper]

[Note: This language is from UN-L Chancellor Perlman’s Plea to AAU to at the very least acknowledge that the AAU was comparing apples to oranges with its dogmatic decision to exclude all USDA funding:

Chancellor Perlman writes,

“NU’s competitive USDA funding – Eliminating USDA and industry funds ignores important contributions and sends a mixed message. Land-grant universities are particularly disadvantaged in the normalization process, especially when it comes to research funding. The indicators include USDA and industry funding as a Phase II indicator, but that funding is excluded from the ranking algorithm. Though the stated desire of the Membership Committee is to exclude expenditures from USDA formula funds, in practice the adjustment eliminates all USDA expenditures, including competitive funding. However, not all USDA funding is formula funding; in fact the majority of UNL’s funding from USDA was competitively awarded and has been increasingly so over the past few decades. This is most likely true with USDA funds in general and, therefore, the exclusion of USDA funding in its entirety is inappropriate.” End of Chancellor Perlman’s 2011 AAU Appeal Letter.

Note from Ivy Harper: So here it is, barely one year later and a brand new AAU President, Hunter Rawlings III, is pleading with Congress to preserve – as it is – the very USDA funding that the AAU refused to “include” in NU’s total  for purposes of final “rankings” which Chancellor Perlman proved were unfairly measured – on so many critical levels – in the first place.  In fact, the essence of Mr. Rawlings’s case championing “rural initiatives” appears to be almost lifted  from Chancellor Perlman’s brilliantly written Case for NU to Remain an AAU Member.

Now, I am continuing with the July 11th, 2012 AAU President Rawlings III letter to the Chairman and Ranking Member of the House Ag Committee that reads like a section of Chancellor Perlman’s Supreme Court-worthy case to remain a member in good standing of the AAU. Perlman pretty much begs them to respect the the role of ag (USDA) and Land Grant universities – for geographic diversity’s sake, if nothing else (and there’s a lot ‘else’) – in the AAU constellation which is concentrated in the East & West Coasts.  The “Please Let Us Stay Presentation” that Chancellor Perlman et al wrote on behalf of NU and that he – unilaterally – delivered a little more than a year ago in Washington, D.C. to a group was, truly, a masterpiece that pretty much eviscerated every single argument the AAU put out there to justify their decision; a bizarre decision that the AAU stuck to, despite NU proving that their rationale made no sense. Numerically, literally, and figuratively.

Ergo, the Association of American Universities has now been exposed as just another D.C. smoke-and-mirrors “trade association” (there are so many) that bilks its members out of $81,500 a year for dues. For what? Wall Street-like hypocrisy. If Americans only knew what “a joke” half these self-important cliques are they’d drop their membership and spend the money on that which is genuine.

Rawlings letter continued:

Established in the 2008 Farm Bill authorized at $700 hundred million, AFRI supports basic and applied research in the agricultural sciences and provides training funds to recruit and retain the next generation of ag innovators. As a competitive grants program, AFRI supports the highest quality science to address some of our nation’s most pressing challenges: demands for cutting-edge bio-fuels; the need for a safe, sustainable and nutritious food supply; global food security; the understanding of global climate change. AFRI is the only competitive federal research program that addresses the unique needs of rural communities, including ways to revitalize rural economies. [Again, this salient point was practically lifted straight from the compelling case that UN-L Chancellor Perlman made to stave off expulsion from the AAU. To no avail, of course. Then, just twelve months later, the AAU has the gall to channel Chancellor Perlman’s passionate and profound defense of NU – again, which the AAU kicked out – to influence language in an ag/Farm Bill. Wow. Rarely can hypocrisy be so easily substantiated.]

Rawlings’ letter continued:
More than 50 per cent of the AFRI budget support fundamental or basic research, providing the scientific understanding that underpins advances in agriculture and other life sciences.
Unfortunately, we believe that a provision in the draft bill, Section 7513, threatens this critical program. This provision, which requires extensive reporting of upcoming requests for proposals by the agency as well as excessive detail on current projects, encourages undermining of the competitive, merit-based review process and detracts from the scientific expertise of the agency. We are concerned that the reported information could be used to inject political or parochial pressures into the determination of areas of emphasis, thus reducing the capacity of the National Institute of Food & Agriculture thereby impairing the quality of our national ag research program.
As you continue to move the Farm Bill forward, we respectfully request that you remove this language and continue support of the competitive research funded by the AFRI.
Sincerely,
Hunter Rawlings, III
AAU President
[Note from Ivy Harper: AAU hypocrisy updates to follow]
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