Sunday, May 22, 2011

Public Records Request On Cal Athletics "laugh out loud funny"?!

Hat tip: University Diaries had this post on the following article: Review of 'Big-Time Sports in American Universities'by Duke University Professor Charles T. Clotfelter. (Reviewed by Ken Armstrong in Seattle Times)

"Clotfelter also gets adventurous while investigating the ways in which universities use their sports programs to court potential donors. He filed public-records requests with eight universities, asking for the names of invited guests who sat in the president's box during home football games.

The University of Washington, to its credit, complied with this request. The University of Oregon, to its shame, demanded payment of $791.87. And the response from the University of California, Berkeley, was laugh-out-loud funny — a snooty version of: We're not giving you the names, because we don't want to."

Clotfelter's experience is not that big of a surprise given this :
UC gets poor grade for complying with records requests
and a review of the findings here: CalAware's Audit of UC Public Records Requests-- UC Gets An F

also of note is this section :"The guests who sat in the box of Mark Emmert — then president of the UW, now president of the NCAA — reflected the salesmanship of such settings, mixing marquee students (A former pole vaulter turned medical student! Olympians who brought home silver and gold!) with moneyed VIPs from Microsoft, Weyerhaeuser, T-Mobile and Boeing."
Important, because Cal's Chancellor Birgeneau claims a close personal friendship with Emmert and--
especially given how Microsoft's Bill Gates is written up in this Sunday's New York Times here:
Behind Grass-Roots School Advocacy, Bill Gates, here is a key section:

"The (Bill and Melinda Gates) foundation is also paying Harvard-trained data specialists to work inside school districts, not only to crunch numbers but also to change practices. It is bankrolling many of the Washington analysts who interpret education issues for journalists and giving grants to some media organizations.

“We’ve learned that school-level investments aren’t enough to drive systemic changes,” said Allan C. Golston, the president of the foundation’s United States program. “The importance of advocacy has gotten clearer and clearer.”

The foundation spent $373 million on education in 2009, the latest year for which its tax returns are available, and devoted $78 million to advocacy — quadruple the amount spent on advocacy in 2005. Over the next five or six years, Mr. Golston said, the foundation expects to pour $3.5 billion more into education, up to 15 percent of it on advocacy.

Given the scale and scope of the largess, some worry that the foundation’s assertive philanthropy is squelching independent thought, while others express concerns about transparency. Few policy makers, reporters or members of the public who encounter advocates like Teach Plus or pundits like Frederick M. Hess of the American Enterprise Institute realize they are underwritten by the foundation.

“It’s Orwellian in the sense that through this vast funding they start to control even how we tacitly think about the problems facing public education,” said Bruce Fuller, an education professor at the University of California, Berkeley, who said he received no financing from the foundation.

--this captures a large part of the circle of what many are calling the "corporate corruption of public (higher) ed"

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