We were able to obtain the following rough draft of remarks that were addressed to President Caputo at the last WFC meeting.
We welcome the opportunity to raise with you the issue of the, shall we call it rambling preamble, response of the board.
We are not bothered by the fact that Chairman Bianco disagrees with our views as much as we are troubled by the tone, contents and lack of depth that his analysis shows.
Allow me to explain: Only earlier today I had a rather heated debate with a few colleagues regarding the 2007 prospects for the US economy. I spoke of a hard landing another colleague spoke of a soft landing. Such disagreements are fine. That is what makes a horse race. But then a third person jumped in to say that all is fine, $ is strong, deficit is under control, the economy is healthy ... Now that is a view that is totally disconnected with the facts and with reality if you will. It is delusional and based on wishful thinking.
Please convey to Chairman Bianco our total and utter dismay with the tone of his response which can be best described as an exercise in Obfuscation
The response is an attempt to by pass responsibility for the dire financial straights of the University by attributing what it calls a minor short term enrollment problem to miscommunication. Miscommunication and lack of transparency have aggravated the issue but did not cause it.
The trigger was the increase in tuition fees coupled with tuition guarantees on top of the misallocation of resources (Time, effort and capital) on non core peripheral programs in addition to the granting of excessive unjustified compensation packages to senior officers.
The best evidence that the board is grasping for straws in it attempts to defend the indefensible and justify the mismanagement practices is demonstrated by the logic employed. They had no choice, given the lack of real measurable accomplishments, but to resort to fuzzy, ambiguous purely subjective issues, chief among them is the shepherding of Pace University through the 9/11 trauma. What does that mean? Did Pace implement policies that helped it avoid the fate that had occurred at other similar institutions in this region? I do not recall that any such institutions went under or even came close to that. I must ask again:
What is it that was so special and extraordinary about the way that Pace handled 9/11 that demands so much commendations? I am not of the opinion that individuals require special thanks in the performance of their everyday routine duties.
Then we learn that the President was the guiding force behind the modest Fulbright record. Mind you, this achievement, according to the board, did not only happen under his watch but occurred because of his watch. This is nothing short of the biggest fallacy in logic. (An eclipse is scared away by people beating on empty tins). What was the role of the President in this?
Furthermore, the accomplishments of the winners not withstanding, Pace‘s record in Fulbright was not as distinguished when it is compared objectively to the list of other Fulbright productive schools.
Then there is the most vital of issues that is conspicuous by its absence, the financial quagmire in which the University finds itself in. This is neither short term nor market related. It is not an issue of barely missing a target but instead missing a set objective by a mile, the result of this miss is best reflected in:
Large annual deficit for years to come.
Deficit manifests itself even in a cash crunch.
Shrinking net worth
Weaker Bond rating
Weaker financial ratios
Make no mistake about it none of the above was preordained. We chose it. It was all self-induced. All the above were simply the result of institutional misguided and wrongheaded policies.
Despite all the above plus the failure to grow the endowment over a period of six years and in addition to the inability to move forward on the issues articulated by the management team itself in its strategic plan 2003-2008 the board pronounces such failure as success and decides that those responsible for all the missed targets and the creation of these existential problems ought to be rewarded with better pay packages. This is nothing short of Orwellian Newspeak.