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Letters to the Editor

School’s dealings open

September 30, 2010

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To the editor:

In response to the recent articles about the KU School of Business’ use of differential tuition and Dean Bill Fuerst, I strongly disagree with the assertions made by MBA students.

I have served on six university and School of Business boards and committees and the school’s original differential tuition committee. It’s useful to understand that differential tuition benefits all business students in many ways as intended in the differential tuition proposal. While there was to be student oversight of these funds, and there needs to be again, I feel it grossly unfair to characterize Fuerst’s tenure as dean as lacking transparency. As a member of the board, we have had nothing but very transparent and open communication with the dean about the school’s activities and progress.

Dean Fuerst has accomplished a tremendous amount for the school and leaves big shoes to fill. We owe him our gratitude for launching the school into competitiveness with other top business schools and for helping make it a school from which employers can recruit top students who compete effectively against graduates from any business school. Dean Fuerst has positioned the school and its students for future success and has enhanced the value of a KU business degree.

I support the provost’s remarks in the Sept. 22 article and hope students share my sense of enthusiasm and pride in the accomplishments of this school. It’s a shame the efforts of a few cloud the tremendous accomplishments of many.

Howard Cohen,

Leawood

Comments

pace 3 years, 6 months ago

An audit will probably reveal rather he handled the issue properly, rather than if he seemed open at a board meeting. But good for you for standing up and saying what you personally thought of the man. Too many have an opinion without any first hand knowledge.

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Thunderdome 3 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Cohen being a partner at Deloitte and Touche is a fact. Everything else you said is conjecture

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justmytwocents 3 years, 6 months ago

I didn't throw anything anywhere. Merely stated the facts.

And talking about being objective....hello pot, meet kettle....

us regular folk only what is in the paper and will have to wait for the report.

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Thunderdome 3 years, 6 months ago

Don't throw credentials in my face. This is not about credentials and it's not really a matter of overlooking anything. It's allowing yourself to understand the truth. He's obviously too close to the situation to be objective. Whether or not any fiscal problems are found in the review, it's clear that transparency was not the order of the day in the school. And yet Mr. Cohen, credentials and all, is not allowing himself to understand that these students were not given the facts they deserve in the timeframe they deserved them. In other words, there was no transparency. I don't care where he works, I don't think I want him doing any auditing for me if this is his definition of transparency.

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justmytwocents 3 years, 6 months ago

Mr. Cohen, according to my search, is a partner at Deloitte and Touche and is on several boards University wide. I somehow think he wouldn't overlook anything.

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oneeye_wilbur 3 years, 6 months ago

So Mr. Cohen was on the board. Hmm, and therein lies the problem. Did the Board members not see anything awry when others did? Of is kinda like the women of Watkins Hall and KU Endowment?

Too many professonals sitting on boards just for the sake of being on a board. Look at corporations. The board members have not the slightest clue about the customers and the same holds true in Academia.

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Thunderdome 3 years, 6 months ago

Perhaps it is that you are too close to the situation to see the reality? Serving on boards does not give you full insight to the inter-workings of the school nor does it allow you to see whether transparency exists or does not exist. Of course, you as a board member probably received information that students or the general public has not seen. But that is not transparency. Sharing data with trusted advisors and not with the people paying the fee is anything but transparent. Let’s revisit a couple of indisputable facts:

1) The School’s DT committee existed about long enough to get the compact approved by the Board of Regents and then suddenly, and in direct violation of the compact, was disbanded.

2) The financial reports called for in the DT compact were never provided – not once – until this recent group of students started asking questions. And then, the information given had no granularity and didn’t indicate at all how DT was spent.

These two things alone constitute a lack of transparency.

I don’t think anyone ever said that the concept of DT as a method of improving educational opportunities is a bad idea. But it must be transparent, particularly when it is as high as the Business School’s DT ($186.02/credit hour for masters students).

A review is occurring and that’s a good thing. And hopefully it will find that money has been spent wisely. What clearly has not been done wisely in any way, shape, or form is maintaining open, honest, and fair relationships with students who are, after all, the consumer in this scenario. Had leadership at the School and the University as a whole admitted a failure in allowing the committee to dissolve and in the omission of the accounting reports and rectified those issues in a timely manner, we wouldn’t be having this conversation. Unfortunately, what happened was a massive stonewalling effort all the way up to the highest levels of the University. That’s why this issue made it into the paper and why the Regents have been involved. If anyone at the university is unhappy about the publicity this situation has received, they have nowhere to look for blame except in the mirror.

Mr. Cohen, you are certainly welcome to your opinion, but I would like to see the data upon which you are measuring the current administration's accomplishments. The School has a lot to be proud of with wonderful faculty, dedicated staff, and students who are eager to learn. But in the grand scheme of things, a lot of things have been lost at a time when the influx of DT money should have had the opposite effect.

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justmytwocents 3 years, 6 months ago

it will be interesting to see what the review finds.
he makes some valid points.

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