Fun stuff going on at Brown, where students closed out of a course are introducing a market in its seats:

Bradley Silverman ’13, facing unexpected barriers to entry, decided to circumvent the regulations governing seats in those classes. Standing in Lecturer in Economics Maria Carkovic’s class ECON1540: “International Trade,” he displayed a sign reading “Dropping this class? I’ll pay $ for your spot!”

I mean it’s funny that at a school like Brown, whose president was a loyal Goldman Sachs trustee through its Ungodly Compensation / Take-down of the American Economy years, and on whose current board of trustees sit both Steven A. Cohen and Steven Rattner (actually, I don’t see Rattner’s name on the latest board list, but I don’t find any notice of his resignation either), you’ve got people lecturing students about the limits of markets in university settings. LOL.

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5 Responses to “‘”For me, as an economist, I should simply remind you that there are circumstances in which the logic of the market system does not apply, and university life is one such example,” Serrano wrote in the same email.’”

  1. theprofessor Says:

    $40K annual tuition and seniors in upper-level classes with enrollments of 100?!

  2. dmf Says:

    http://www.nytimes.com/2011/09/11/business/at-colleges-the-marketers-are-everywhere.html?_r=1&ref=education

  3. Robert Mathiesen Says:

    Trustees at Brown serve for a fixed term — a very small number of years, I think — and then step down. The terms are staggered. If any particular person is no longer in the published list of Corporation members, it generally means only that his term is over.

    The Board of Trustees fills all its own vacancies, if I remember correctly, and does so entirely as it sees fit. The head of the Board of Trustees is the Chancellor of Brown, not the President of Brown. The purview of the Trustees is the financial and business side of running the University

    If ever push should come to shove, the Chancellor outranks the President as chief officer over the whole Corporation. In principle, the Chancellor can fire the President, and ask for formal Corporation support afterwards. (Of course, he will be careful to have informal support before he does this.) This has happened once since I came to Brown in 1967, and only a few times in the whole history of Brown.
    Here, I think, we have the reason why the President is the chief public spokesperson for Brown, not the Chancellor. The President is disposable if anything goes seriously wrong in public and the Corporation needs a scapegoat. (I should probably explain the Corporation: it is simply both Boards considered together. The Corporation owns Brown in much the same sense as any individual person owns a piece of land, a house and its furniture, or a few dogs.)

    There is also the Board of Fellows, and the President is the head of that Board. The terms of the Fellows, again if I remember correctly, are longer than the terms of the Trustees, but still they are fixed. Their purview is the academic side of running the University. There are fewer Fellows than Trustee.

    Both Boards meet together in the same room. Both presiding officers sit at the table before them, each of whom presides only over his own board. It is said to work very smoothly.

    Any powers that the Faculty may have at any given time are by gracious permission of the Corporation. In principle any or all of them may be revoked at any time without explanation. Indeed, the colonial-era Charter founding the University does not even acknowledge that the University might have a Faculty (other than the Board of Fellows). Tthe President (together with the Board of Fellows) are the Faculty, according to the Charter. They are supposed by the Charter to teach all classes and grade all students, and we faculty are merely his hired assistants in the business of teaching, much as other administrators are hired to keep dining services or plant operations running. Even now, the President and the Fellows officially assign grades to students, and our efforts to grade students and their work are merely advisory.

    When I came to Brown, the document called Faculty Rules and Regulations had an appendix saying (roughly) that the University accepted and approved the recommendations and principles of the AAUP regarding promotion and tenure, but reserved the unlimited right to set them aside in any or all cases as it thought good, without notice or explanation. That appendix wasn’t there any longer the last time I looked, about 15 years ago. (It did always seem to me something like waving the proverbial red flag before a bull.)

  4. Stephen Karlson Says:

    Markets find a way, protestations that they don’t belong notwithstanding.

  5. dave.s. Says:

    Serrano should have his degree revoked. Of course economics applies here: people are paying $40000 a year to be in a situation where the management pretends that economics does not apply. That’s the service which is being paid for.

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