“[Medical University of South Carolina] staff regularly stock up on liquor for the [board of trustees’] ‘hospitality suite.’ One staff member purchased nearly $700 worth of alcohol at Burris Liquor Store and Pence’s Liquor & Wine before a February 2015 meeting.”

Motto of the MUSC Board of Trustees:


‘“Where there was a lot of reasons to be concerned about this guy, York University showed no reluctance to name a very high profile new initiative after him,” said Jim Turk, former executive director of the Canadian Association of University Teachers for 16 years and now a distinguished visiting professor at Ryerson University.’

Look, he hasn’t quite yet actually been convicted of anything… More than enough reason to emblazon his name all over your Institute for Global Health…

He could totally be describing the board of trustees at hideously mismanaged and scandalous Yeshiva University.

If the model of “the buck stops here” applies to this situation, then the buck stops not at the president’s office but at the board level. Yet I have not heard one board member state in effect, “I offer my resignation,” in order that Baylor might move forward from this with integrity and transparency. Instead, they tarnish the reputations and accomplishments of others and point the finger of blame in other directions while the truth lies buried beneath hidden agendas, cliques and power struggles. And they then cloak their language in theological piety, while their very actions suggest otherwise.

As it happens, he’s describing the board at Baylor.

In both cases, not only does no one resign. Everyone plays the theological piety bit to the absolute hilt. Only card they’ve got.

As Bernie Sanders Surges, Here’s a Way to Understand What He Means by All that “One-Tenth of One Percent” Income Inequality Rhetoric.

According to a Senate report released in December, Gilead knew pricing Sovaldi at $75,000 per patient for a 12-month course would restrict patient access by 24% of US payers, and yet it still ended up seeking $84,000 for it. The company priced Harvoni at an even higher $94,500, such that last year barely 2% of the eligible [hepatitis C virus] patients in the US were treated with the drugs.

Sure, that’s much more than one-tenth of one percent.

Nonetheless. Get the picture? Only a small number of rich people get to be cured.

Gilead is so depraved that the Massachusetts Attorney General is stepping in (though she probably can’t do much about it). Yet the story hasn’t even gotten much press, because as Americans we’re so used to homicidal greed.


Sanders owns this reality. He’s running with it. He’s running on it.


The letter from the AG went out to Gilead CEO John Martin, a man who has brought his depravity to the board of trustees at the University of Chicago.


The lovely larger picture.


Never before has Norman Mailer’s immortal statement felt so true: The shits are killing us.

“I didn’t know the damn birds were valuable.”

A trustee at the University of South Carolina is on trial in federal court on seven charges of “unlawfully trapping and killing multiple federally protected migratory hawks.”

Some damn reporter approached this guy on his way out of the courtroom. The trustee didn’t know his damn trial was valuable. “Why you want to put something in the paper like this … whatever.”

I mean sure he imported tons of quail to his property so he could shoot and eat ’em but see quail attracts hawks which he didn’t know I guess. Hyuk. Simple solution: Kill the hawks moving in on your kill. Maybe he and his hired hands (also on trial) didn’t know hawks were protected. Maybe they didn’t care. Fuck the federal gummit thing maybe. Maybe the USC trustee will do a Bundy Standoff and stand there shooting hawks until the feds try to stop him and then he can threaten to kill the feds which are also a protected species but maybe he doesn’t know.

Now this is South Carolina. North Carolina you got a trustee arrested for carrying his handgun into a congressional building up here in UD‘s hometown.

Them trigger happy trustee boys will get into trouble at home or abroad and you really need to keep an eye on them.

One thing the University of South Carolina might look into in regard to helping out this trustee is it might want to introduce this trustee to this USC professor. Right there on their own faculty USC’s got a guy who specializes in dwindling birds and the ways they get dwindled. UD thinks a little sitdown with Professor Mousseau, a cup of tea, a semi-automatic, and a hawk corpse might be damn valuable.

It’s hard to get a good ol’ boy off his ass.

Specially if he’s got a whole bunch of other good ol’ boys watching out for him. But whether he’s at Yeshiva University, where somehow somebody finally made the head honcho get the hell out, or the University of Louisville, where nobody’s managed it yet but they’re working on it, you’ve eventually got to find a way to give fulminatingly bad university presidents the heave-ho. If you don’t, the attention of the nation – and a legion of auditors – will eventually be so riveted to the institution that donors will stop donating and students will stop attending.

UD trusts that the governor plus some of the trustees will eventually be able to do the job at Louisville. But it will be bloody. UL’s president has anger issues.

What do you have to do to get kicked off the board of trustees at Alabama State University?

More than this.

More on ASU.

Recall this limerick of UD’s as you read about the latest incident at one of America’s most shameful universities.

For Moody’s it’s tricky to rate
The train wreck that’s Alabam State.
“It should be a D
But our lowest is C.
We’ll need to revise the whole slate.”

Corrupt, mismanaged, hemorrhaging students, running through administrators a mile a minute, and getting close to being unaccredited, Alabama State University doesn’t need to do anything else to embarrass itself. But the other day, in the very first moments of his deposition in the wrongful termination trial of ASU’s trillionth football coach, trustee Herbert Young deepened the embarrassment.

Something about the way questions were put to him enraged him and he began to leave the room. Here’s a description of a court reporter’s audio recording of the incident:

Young and [Donald] Jackson [the attorney asking Young questions] begin arguing a few minutes into the deposition after Jackson tells Young not to answer questions before he completes them. Young begins to leave, and as he’s doing so, Jackson states that he wants [the] court reporter to note that Young is leaving in the middle of a deposition.

That seemingly angers Young more, who says he’s leaving “because (Jackson) is disrespectful.” He goes on to tell Jackson that he will “respect him as a man” and spells out the word respect. Jackson repeatedly asks [Young’s attorney] to “get him out of here.”

Once the situation calms for a few seconds, [the coach, Reggie Barlow,] can be heard saying: “A board member acting like that.”

Young replies: “I got something for you too!”

At that point, things get chaotic. There is clearly a physical altercation of some sort — whether it was Barlow throwing a punch or Young choking Barlow is not evident on the recording — and [Barlow’s attorney] and Jackson are left screaming at their clients and trying to separate them.

Jeffrey “Dances With Walls” Sonnenfeld is in the news again…

reminding us that sometimes universities – respectable universities – do inexplicably moronic things.

That the board of trustees at Emory University did absolutely nothing at the time is absolutely expected. You have been reading my Trustees Trashing the Place category, yes?

Details. See if you can hold your sides in.

The fraudulent conversion of our taxes to personal profit has always fascinated UD…

… I mean, the many processes by which this can be done…

University-wise, there’s the whole for-profit college scam, covered extensively on this blog (category: Click-Thru U.), and still, despite a few state and federal efforts to shut it down, going strong.

Much more notoriously, there’s ye olde Medicare and Medicaid reimbursement scam, one prominent component of which involves hospital systems paying doctors immense sums to refer patients to them, and then submitting immense numbers of bogus claims based on those referrals.

The biggest penalty so far paid out by a dirty hospital system is the just-announced $118 million case against Adventist Health System, whose CEO sits on the board of trustees of Alabama’s Oakwood University, and whose business was recently named one of fifty “great health systems to know.” Oakwood is a religious school, and this CEO, Donald Jernigan, is always on about our spiritual health even as his business is screwing us six ways to Sunday.

It’s obvious where the ill-gotten gains go.

Hospital chief executives are kind of like the head football coaches of state-salaried workers: many of the highest paid public employees in Florida are executives in the health care industry. Donald Jernigan, CEO of Adventist Health System, takes home a reported $1.98 million annually for his work as head of the non-profit hospital organization which often draws down state money, as well as more than $250,000 in incentives and bonuses.

It takes a heap o’ assholery to get yourself declared “Big Pharma’s Biggest Asshole” by…

…much of the nation’s press, but as you’re admiring 13 to 750 in Seconds Shkreli, remember that the University of Southern California boasts among its trustees Gilead’s John Martin, another amazingly obscene pharma babe.


UPDATE: Matt Taibbi’s thoughts on The American Asshole.


LOL: The Shkreli pill costs $900 in New York!

Probably costs a thousand here in UD‘s ‘thesda.

“… Martin Perez, one of three members of the 15-person [Rutgers University] governing board to attend the meeting in person…”

Run away! Run away!

If you actually show up for the emergency meeting about your criminalized football team and the man who recruited it, it’s liable to be embarrassing. Reporters will almost certainly ask you for a comment, the way they did ol’ Martin up there. And what can you say?


UD found a great comment – she recommends board members use it, or something like it – in this comment thread:

This is dumb, can we move on, this has zero impact on the academic integrity of the average student at Rutgers, stop blowing it up because of 1, or 2, or 3, or 4, or 5 players.

What’s great about this comment is that its player list can be easily expanded as more are arrested. In fact the current number is six, not five, so depending on when the board member uses it she can add numbers to reflect the latest total…. Stop blowing it up because of 1, or 2, or 3, or 4, or 5, or 6, or 7, or 8, or 9, or even ten players.

Cornell University’s Pesky Public/Private Status

The problem with the public part is that they’ve got to put the head of the state senate on their board of trustees.

Now it says here that “The structure of the Board of Trustees has changed several times,” so there may be hope for the school’s reputation in the future. For the present, Cornell gets hit up year after year with whatever grifter’s got that job, which really lowers the tone, trustee-wise.

I know what you’re saying. Ex-officio, big deal! Everyone knows that means shit.

Not everyone knows that. The name’s emblazoned very close to the tippytop of your list of venerables entrusted with the welfare of the university. It says Welcome to Cornell. Welcome to our Board of Trustees.

Here’s some background on Trustee Skelos.

What to do? Albany will always be a whoremarket.

UD presumes that up to now the process of adding the latest Albany name has been like a children’s party game wee UD used to play: Pin the Tail on the Donkey. Blindfolded, you pressed a piece of paper drawn to resemble a donkey’s tail onto where on the wall you figured the image of the rest of the donkey might have been affixed. Then you pulled off your blindfold and laughed at how far the tail was from its proper location. UD‘s figuring that the process of state senate trustee name entry at Cornell involves the blind pressing but not the laughter. She figures it’s like I’m sticking this ass on this page but I don’t want to see and I don’t want to know. It’s a leap in the dark, a leap of faithlessness, a leap of joylessness.

Since there’s apparently precedent for changing the composition of the BOT at Cornell, UD recommends a quick chat among themselves to that, uh, end.

The process of institutional collapse at Yeshiva University is exactly the same as the process of institutional collapse at South Carolina State University.

It’s pretty much the same process at any university that loses accreditation (both of these universities are distinctly heading that way), loses its financial base (both are Moody’s basket cases), loses alumni donations (SCSU never had much of that, but Yeshiva did, and it’s losing it), and loses students (enrollment is tanking at both schools). If you want to know how to drive your school into the dirt, you can learn the procedure at almost any failing or failed university. A few schools (Sweet Briar) shut down because of market or demographic forces they really can’t control (very few women want to go to single-sex schools), but the overwhelming number of institutional collapses of the sort Yeshiva and SCSU are undergoing display the same mix of factors. Let’s review them, using as our focus this account of the latest developments at Yeshiva.

UD used to think that boards of trustees were pretty pointless – rich businesspeople overseeing, in a vague way, the activities of a university, but, basically, above all, and ever and ever, being called upon to transfer huge chunks of their personal fortune over to the place. Indeed this non-interventionism might be more or less the way things are at high-functioning schools… Maybe you’ll find one or two trustees who actually do understand universities, and who actually have a meaningful relationship with the school’s president… At happy roly-poly little sports factories like Auburn you’ll find one or two trustees (they played for the team back when) actually setting admissions policies and sticking their noses in recruitment, but this form of corruption doesn’t push the school in the direction of collapse. You can’t collapse a school that’s already, like Auburn, an intellectual joke. And it can in fact be perfectly serviceable to have a BOT made up of clueless sheep herded by a brilliant Babe.

Most BOT’s, in other words, don’t amount to much in the smoothly running institutional scheme of things; they’re like US ambassadors to Malta. How badly can they fuck up? You don’t want the person you appoint ambassador to Malta to be ambassador to Afghanistan; for Afghanistan, you need someone who knows how to be an ambassador. For Malta, a rich donor to the current President’s campaign will do. For trustee, a rich donor to the university will do.

But it turns out that a truly depraved board of trustees can bring down a school. Truly stupid, self-serving, self-righteous, risk-taking cronies of the sort Yeshiva and SCSU boast can take an already vulnerable campus and pound it into the dirt.

The key is greed and secrecy.

The key is assembling a group of male buddies (if you want total destruction, the more men the better), many of whom are in each others’ pockets financially, none of whom knows or cares anything about universities as such, and all of whom think they’re doing the lord’s work – for race, for religion, for class. Schools that implode tend to be fantastically parochial. Their trustees are fantastically parochial people, ignorant of much beyond their particular political or spiritual orthodoxy. These trustees routinely bring on board characters like Jonathan Pinson and Bernard Madoff and let them run the show because hey Jonathan! Bernie! My man!

So now your trustees are hard at work stealing the school’s endowment while, one by one, being very publicly carted off to prison or court – a carting off that really does very little for your school’s reputation and its alumni loyalty. For president at this point you have one of two types: The twelfth deer in the headlights you’ve hired in twelve days (the board merrily ignores this person) or just the opposite – a loyal long-serving crony-servant.

The process of destruction is now so bad at Yeshiva and SCSU that the faculty is routinely voting no confidence left and right… But another problem with BOTs of this sort is that they do not know that the faculty exists. What does a faculty do? Students they get – students go to concerts and games and students provide the money the BOT misappropriates. Students, yes. Faculty? So this sort of BOT/university president essentially does not communicate with faculty. Their relationship to faculty is restricted to firing most of it when the BOT’s years of malfeasance destroy the school’s credit rating and they can’t borrow any more money.

“It’s the time of year when we put the schedule together, and we realized we were paralyzed because we didn’t know which faculty would be around,” said [Gillian] Steinberg, an associate professor of English and director of writing at YC. “The administration won’t tell us who will get a contract renewal.”

She can’t take it anymore; she’s leaving Yeshiva.

Then there are the students. You can see Yeshiva cultivating a good longterm relationship with them as well.

According Yadin Teitz, a junior at Yeshiva College who has been leading student efforts to get information from the administration, the “administration operates without consulting the faculty.”

“There’s no connection between what’s going on at the top and at the bottom,” Teitz, an editor at The Commentator student newspaper, told The Jewish Week. Teitz’s March 3 article was the first time students, and many faculty members, found out about cuts being made to the core curriculum.

“There’s no transparency,” said Teitz, who said it was “crazy” that faculty members had to find out about cuts to their own programs through a student newspaper.

Exactly the same at SCSU. You’ve basically got a semi-criminalized sect sequestered in a building somewhere on campus, working feverishly to continue bleeding what money they can out of the institution before it utterly bleeds out.

Leslie Berlowitz, the Bremmer Foundation…

… these sorts of obscenely greedy non-profit people/institutions are a perennial source of amusement at University Diaries, passionate as we are here about hypocrisy at its most pious. And it doesn’t get any more pious than the non-profit world, where it’s all for Art, for God, for Enlightenment… for Humanity, dammit!

But chauffeur-driven Berlowitz and the astoundingly overcompensated trustees of Bremmer are teeny weeny greed/hypocrisy tales… Their organizations are too runty to make much of a ruckus when local reporters force open the books and expose everyone. There’s a pleasure in the revelations, to be sure; but it’s a modest pleasure, like drawing on a Cuban cigar while standing on a fine-sand beach on a clear night… Happy-making, but circumscribed…

And then there’s the ABIM.

Let us take a trip mise en ABIM – into the abyss of the American Board of Internal Medicine, as it buys multimillion dollar apartments which offer owners chauffeur driven late model BMWs because American medicine will never obtain optimal patient care unless the ABIM trustees can stay in this apartment when they’re passing through Philadelphia…

The ABIM has figured out over the years that its monopoly on the recertification of doctors means they’ve got the men by the balls and the women by whatever you get the women by. You wanna practice, you gotta stay certified. So…

1. charge tens of thousands of dollars for the test and for test prep materials; and

2. constantly increase the number of tests that have to be taken.

Through these clever expediencies, this non-profit has accumulated tens of millions of dollars for itself! We’re talking tens of thousands of doctors after all! There’s nothing runty about it! And you can’t argue with the results:

[I]n 2001—just as the earliest round of new-test standard was kicking in—the ABIM brought in $16 million in revenue. Its total compensation for all of its top officers and directors was $1.3 million. The highest paid officer received about $230,000 a year. Two others made about $200,000, and the starting salary below that was less than $150,000. Printing was its largest contractor expense. That was followed by legal fees of $106,000.

Twelve years later? ABIM is showering cash on its top executives—including some officers earning more than $400,000 a year. In the tax period ending June 2013—the latest data available—ABIM brought in $55 million in revenue. Its highest paid officer made more than $800,000 a year from ABIM and related ventures. The total pay for ABIM’s top officers quadrupled. Its largest contractor expense went to the same law firm it was using a decade earlier, but the amounts charged were 20 times more.

But then it turns out that you can’t just keep increasing your salary and your tests and your real estate portfolio forever. A tipping point will eventually be reached, and here the tipping point is named Paul S. Teirstein. Teirstein points out that

The ABIM is a private, self-appointed certifying organization. Although it has made important contributions to patient care, it has also grown into a $55-million-per-year business, unfettered by competition, selling proprietary, copyrighted products.

So Teirstein has introduced competition, starting his own certifying organization:

The group’s fees are much, much lower than those charged by the ABIM. And its board and management—all top names in medicine—work for free.

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