Monday, June 18, 2007

UWO in news again for financial misdeeds

The Journal-Sentinel reports on our deal with US bank for ID cards (Thanks!). From the article, we find out that Wells sits on some sort of local US Bank board. The company pays the university tens of thousands of dollars to have this access to students.

As the article points out, it is another weak deal for our students, since US Bank charges some of the highest fees in the industry. Instead of pairing up with an institution that would help students and protect them from predatory banking fees, we encourage them to use a company that will really make them pay if they make a mistake.

There was a minor controversy about these cards when they were introduced a few years ago, as faculty members did not want to be tied to this company. Once again, it looks like faculty were right and the administrations attempt to raise a little money on the backs of students is going to give us another public black eye!

Lets get out of this deal ASAP and try at least to pretend the administration cares about the students . . .


Janine said...

I don't have a problem with the US Bank deal because the paperwork students receive from the university does not say nor imply that they must use US Bank.

However, I do have a problem with the fact that Chancellor Wells is on the advisory board of US Bank. To me that would be a conflict of interest and for that reason I have a problem with the deal.

lammers said...

>>There was a minor controversy about these cards when they were introduced a few years ago, as faculty members did not want to be tied to this company.<<

"Minor controversy"??? We raised holy hell over this! It stank to high heaven then, and the stench hasn't improved with age.

We were successful in derailing the original plan, which was for EVERYONE to get a new TitanCard, so they could be harrassed into signing on to the banking services. I swore they'd have to pull my vintage-1999 TitanCard from my cold dead hands before I'd agree to that, and I still have it and am still kicking, thank you very much.

The worst part of it was the way it cut out the university's own banking service, UWO Credit Union. THAT's what made it obvious something foul was afoot.

Anonymous said...

The university whores itself ut US Bank, Pepsi, and SodexHO. Students have been bitching about this for years. Maybe some of this crap will finally get cleaned up?

lammers said...

On the other hand, we must remember the many times the university has told to "get creative" and "run itself more like a business" instead of "bleeding" the taxpayers.

Well, this is EXACTLY the kind of crap that happens when you "think like a business." It is the consequence of our parsimonious legislature and their tightfisted approach to education. That doesn't make it right, but it surely shgould not be a surprise.

Bill Wresch said...

If we are going to sell our souls, don't you think we could ask for more money? Wells sells his integrity for $1200 a year? The university gives a bank access to 11,000 prime customers for $15,000??!! A couple billboards cost more than that.

If the idea behind all this is to run more like a business, couldn't we run more like a SUCCESSFUL business?

Having said the above tongue in cheek, let me add that I agree with all those who are upset about the whole thing. This is something the Chancellor and University need to stop doing.

The only good thing I see in all this is the role of the Milwaukee Journal. I was raised on that paper, and I am glad to see they are still going strong. Journalists still exist!!

Anonymous said...

Delving into kick back schemes
in banking and etc goods and services
is dangerous because your competitors may call you on it. Which happened here. Anytime a state agency makes an exclusive contract with some vendor for something they can bet that there's other vendors that will not be pleased they were shut out. This didn't just start happening yesterday.
Considering all the flack over the
State travel contract who wouldn't see a banking contract as susceptible to the same problem?

It became epidemic in academia to ignore ethics and now the ethics tide is swinging a tiny bit back
towards where it should be.

There are lots of ways a higher ed institution could make money considering the large number of experts and eager workers (students and staff) on board. I find it fascinating that higher ed institutions are seemingly incapable of producing some kind of product or service and making money on it. For example, if you have a large number of people studying computers in many specialities why could the institution not produce software
for it's own use and for sale to other educational institutions?
I know the answer to this, it's that technology transfer policy.
Money is made but it's not going to the university. If there's any money to be made it has to mostly go to a corporation.
This needs to be changed.