Chancellors (Spanier) + Generals (Patraeus, Allen) + Priests (too many to name) Oh My! Not a Single U.S. Institution Left to Trust

November 15, 2012


WASHINGTON, D.C. (exclusive) by Ivy Harper

In 2009, I appeared before the NU Board of Regents to criticize NU’s nefarious relationship with NELNET and said – verbatim – that I thought when the (authentic) “History” of the University of Nebraska was written, the three-year NU/NELNET “Partnership” would be recorded as one of NU’s darkest days.

The NU/NELNET “Partnership” came about when Chancellor Perlman & now-uber-lobbyist Kim Robak was NU’s Vice-Chancellor for “External Affairs” headed up NU. And yes, I’m writing “External Affairs” with sardonic air quotes because just months after leaving NU, the powerful husband-wife lobbying team Mueller/Robak signed on NELNET at around $45,000 dollars a legislative session and the wealthy duo has been getting near that amount ever since which would make Mueller-Robak’s total – just from NELNET – close to the half a million dollar mark, a figure that dwarfs the Big Sandy monetary deal that Nebraska Attorney Jon Bruning struck with NELNET for a lake house. (For years after Robak left NU, she and her husband were pictured in a Union Bank/NELNET ad with this unbelievable caption: “It’s Who You Know.”) Uhmmm, you can say that again, my Friend.

But back to an NU Chancellor’s outrageous abuse of  power. Shortly after my perfectly polite five-minutes before NU’s eight (Rubber-stamping) Regents, I noticed that two policeman were following my every move; one to my left and one to my right.

At first, I thought that it was simply a coincidence; that the two really tall “NU” policeman just happened to escort me to the bathroom and were there when I returned. But then I decided to retrieve something from my car in the Holdrege Street parking lot, and they followed me out and back in again. It felt really weird.

I remember thinking, “What’s going on here?” Earlier, I had simply exercised my American right to act as an activist for students who – via “Partnerships” with Universities like NU – had been forced/coerced/seduced (you pick the verb) into signing private student loans that come with a lot more strings than government loans.

In the 2000’s, public University’s “Partnerships” with predatory student loan companies could – truthfully – be described as an American tragedy of the highest order especially when once-sacred Federal/Morrill Land Grant Act Universities joined the corrupt game.

Still, I put the whole Varner Hall incident out of my mind until I called the Omaha World-Herald’s NU correspondent, Leslie Reed, about a week later and asked her when the OWH was going to publish its article on my NU Regent appearance.

See, after my powerful – if I do say so myself – speech to NU’s Regents, Leslie Reed approached me for an interview. I remember watching several Regents and Chancellor Perlman wince intensely when they saw – as they did – Leslie interviewing me for about twenty minutes in the hallway during a break outside the Regents official meeting room. She had her classic narrow reporters’ notebook in tow and she was scribbling away as I spoke. I even remember Chancellor Harvey Perlman walking by us and shooting me a truly ominous look as if to say, “Don’t mess with me.”

Ms. Reed asked me all sorts of questions about my reasons for starting Land Grant University Reform (LGUR) and she listened as I spoke of the awful consequences for students who were – in essence – forced to sign up with NELNET because of the NU/NELNET “Partnership” deal.

My background is journalism so I know that when someone interviews you for nearly half an hour, there will be some kind of report on it, even if it turns out to be a paragraph or two.

I scoured the Omaha World-Herald for about a week and noticed that Ms. Reed had not filed a story on my crusade. So, since she’d given me a card, I called her.

“Hi, Leslie, Ivy Harper here, ” I said to her message recording.

She called me back and I point-blank asked what was happening with the “article” she was doing on predatory student loan lenders and NU.

Oh, she said, that was cut short because I was “told” by NU that they had to call the police on you last Friday at the NU Regents meeting.

Whoa, I said. Back up here, Leslie, you’ve got to give me some back story here.

So, the Omaha World-Herald’s Leslie Reed told me a tale that – to this day – so smacks of Penn State, it’s eery.

To be continued.


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