Surprise! Bachman and the Oregonian trying to create controversy where none exists


Thanks to OMB for pointing out the latest drivel out by Rachel Bachman of the Oregonian.

I would encourage you not to waste your time clicking the link.

The article is about the new Jacqua Academic Center for Student Athletes, a building that was paid for entirely by Phil Knight. She mentions the cost of the building at $41.7 million (expensive, yes, but not a dime of school or taxpayer money), touches briefly on the exclusivity controversy (fine). So, naturally, this is the next line of questioning:

"Forty million dollars buys a lot of new faculty, reduced class sizes, better facilities for the rest of campus," UO senate president Nathan Tublitz said. "It is a travesty to spend so much money for the benefit of such a small subset of students who already receive enormous perks."

Tublitz is a biology professor who works in the Institute of Neuroscience. Clearly, he's a smart guy. However, he is also incredibly entitled. His outrage is clearly based on the assumption that this money somehow belongs to the University at large. Phil Knight can do whatever he wants with his money. He can put it in big piles under matresses. He can set hundred dollar bills on fire by the dozens just for the sheer entertainment value. He can do whatever the hell he wants. Yes, he's built us a basketball arena, and half of Autzen, and the academic center, and God knows what else. But he's also built the law school, and the library, and endows somewhere in the neighborhood of 25 professorships. He's done his duty to the academic side of the University. Of course I want my school to be the best it can be academically, but its not my job to tell private citizens how to spend their money. Clearly, Tublitz thinks that Knight's money somehow belongs to him. Perhaps Nathan Tublitz will remember how many hungry children he can feed next time he takes his paycheck and goes out to a nice dinner.

Bachman then goes on to compare the cost per square foot of the Jacqua Center to other building such as the Seattle Public Library. As OMB says in his comment, not really sure why she came up with these buildings, or what the relevance is.

For the hundreth time, people, let me spell it out:

No private citizen is under ANY obligation to give money to the University of Oregon. Should they be generous enough to do so, it is their decision which department they wish to donate their money to (and the academic side has gotten some nice new facilities: Lillis Business Complex, new Education school, Schnitzer museum of art, as well as the previously mentioned Knight contributions). We have a lot of work to do academically. We're a good school, a tier 1 school, but could be better, need to be better in this regard.

That said, the way to get there isn't to make this a crusade against athletics, especially when your athletic department is self-sustaining and the facilities upgrades have all come from donor support. Where is the outrage over the fact that the Oregon State athletic department is hemmoraging money left and right, taking valuable money away from the university and the taxpayers?

Or is it okay because they bring their lunchpails to practice?

I understand that when you're top dog, people are going to come after you. But the tired arguments about costs of facilities or pitting the academic side of the University versus the athletic side simply doesn't hold up when the athletic department is self sufficient and the facilities upgrades are paid for entirely by private individuals. Costs become irrelevant when they are not borne by public institutions.

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