Rutgers + Penn State + Gordon Gee + NU – Proof Positive that Absolute Power Corrupts Absolutely

June 5, 2013


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

* I started Land Grant University Reform (LGUR) first as a Commenter on the original Discussion Board of the Lincoln Journal Star (LJS) way back in 2007. From the get-go, I saw that the federal/Morrill Land Grant University modus operandi had badly morphed into a rigged + unethical game in which the Ivory Tower possessed absolute power but had zero accountability. 

Challengers to the Higher Ed Status Quo were doomed because – exactly like the Military + with sexual assualts – the very University administrators/Professors who are being challenged get to determine the outcome of any challenge to them. There’s simply no way they can be impartial, objective or fair; ergo, Ivory Tower misdeeds are swept under the carpet + challengers are crushed.

I learned from my UNO experience that – rather than simply admit, on occasion – that “Hey, it’s true. We erred. Our bad. We’ll correct that,” University administrators/Professors/Lawyers choose instead to circle the wagons and lie. 

I also learned that in states where the flagship public University is the largest employer  – with a beloved football team to boot – that Ivory Tower Chieftains/Department Heads are untouchable [See Ward Churchill @ Boulder etc.] NU – like other Land Grants – receives no serious scrutiny or meaningful outside review from a single independent entity. Politicians + Regents/Trustees – who are supposed to be stewards for all citizens – instead cater solely to Ivory Tower Titans; the reverse of the way it should be.

From the get-go, along with NU, I studied Ohio State’s Gordon Gee. So appalled was I by his lavish salary and rodeo clown statements that I repeatedly mentioned Gee in sardonic comments about Ivory Tower excess.

Well, Gordon Gee’s gone. Interesting, isn’t it? I saw seven years before America did that Gordon Gee had to go. I repeat: Gee’s gone + LGUR’s starting to look mighty visionary. Just sayin’

The whole point of leadership is leading; you know, being ahead of the curve on complicated issues. Not engaging in cover-ups after one’s corrupt “Way of Conducting College” is exposed. Just sayin’

Beyond + before Gordon Gee, Penn State’s criminal m.o. was finally exposed and Rutgers’ systemic troubles mirror what happens at other Land Grants: widespread bullying which often emanates from challenged Department heads or other tenured Professors who have more power than the Pope + the President put together and who sometimes engage in serious wrong-doing.

Someday soon, instead of an entire room full of Military Men in Suits called to Washington, D.C. to answer for institutional failures, it’s going to be long lines of University Presidents + their Provosts, Chancellors, Vice-Chancellors, Assistant Vice-Chancellors, and Deans in the Congressional catbird seat. Just sayin’

Oh yeah, and in conclusion: Gordon Gee’s gone.

Land Grant University Reform – 8 hours agoA summary of “The Way Nebraska Works” with respect to State Auditing.

In 2008, I visited Auditor Foley’s office after I learned that UNO had established an MFA Program held at the lovely Lied Center in Nebraska City that discriminated against Nebraska students.

In the founding documents of this NU Program, the original 2004 language – approved unanimously by NU Regents – stated that this UNO graduate Program had been established “for out-of-state students” ONLY who gave NU more than twice the amount of “tuition revenue” than Nebraska students did.

Problem was: UNO advertised the Program to everyone but UNO “rigged” the admissions outcome. Trust me, I wouldn’t have bothered applying in the first place if I’d known in 2006 that UNO had declared in writing that this UNO Program was “sustainable” only if all of the students admitted paid out-of-state tuition. I qualified for in-state tuition so my application was denied. Yet, I was told that my writing lacked “energy + enthusiasm.” Clearly, UNO lied and then later, lied about their lies. 

This was unlawful; federal/Morrill Land Grant University’s cannot discriminate against in-state students…because of money. I mean, hello. The whole point of the visionary Land Grant Act of 1862 was to give non-wealthy students of each state a “Public Ivy” experience; even then, well-off kids went to Harvard, Yale, + Dartmouth. That’s why Congress originally created just 50 Land Grants; to make Education egalitarian.

Since UNO – and later NU – ignored my respectful challenge, I thought, “Why not go to Auditor Foley’s office given that he audits NU and this falls under the banner of MONEY.” 

Mr. Foley, a Republican, agreed to meet with me; he was exceptionally polite and listened thoughtfully to the results of my by-then-three-year-research into NU’s discriminatory Departmental practices and bullying tactics of anyone who dares to challenge them. [By contrast, NU Regent Hassebrook, a Democrat, refused to talk to me.]

UNO’s discriminatory language was in the 2004 NU Regent “Archives” until I complained. Someone later scrubbed the original discriminatory language and proceeded to marginalize + crush the reputation of the respectful challenger: moi. 

I learned the hard way that no one takes on NU in Nebraska. [See Christy Carlson where in her suit against NU for retaliatory/bullying behavior, a Nebraska Jury awarded her $280,000 thousand dollars only to have a Judge reduce the verdict to $25,000.] Sounds like Rutgers.

Anyhow, I will never forget that Auditor Foley remarked that he’d just hung up the phone with NU President JB Milliken who was complaining about Foley’s most recent request. Mr. Foley explained that NU Department heads had absolute power and since my concerns involved “Academia,” his hands were tied.

I responded that the root of the problem, however, was money + NU, both of which were his areas of expertise. But he said he couldn’t look into it; that he was already looking into a whole host of NU misdeeds; which turned out to be NU’s widespread misuse of taxpayer-funded NU credit cards + more.

Fair play, I thought. Okay, I’ll go see my State Senator, Kathy Campbell, who listened for a few minutes and then cut me off with this line, “Sorry, I can’t help. You’ll have to sue NU.” That’s a verbatim quote.

After my meeting with Mr. Foley, I learned about a bill that NU had introduced in the Unicameral that would have made it a felony to release NU audit information.

Not long after that, the LJS did a front-page article with this headline: “Foundation Pads NU Salaries” and NU’s Men in Suits promptly headed en masse for a little talking-to to the folks there. I don’t think the LJS has done a hard-hitting NU story since.

My point: for Nebraskans + its 49 State Senators to think that it’s the GOP Governor’s office who is the primary resistor of Auditor Foley getting more money is a red herring.

It’s NU, my Friends. Dig a bit deeper and you’ll discover some disturbing details. 

Knowing NU’s feelings about the subject of auditing, it’s also important to follow Senator Heath Mello + Senator Danielle Conrad’s positions on this issue.

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