1/29/2010 Duke plans a new dorm. Oh oh.

Fellow Dukies. Good day.

I have four questions:

✔First, how is this dorm going to be paid for?

✔Second, does this mean we are increasing the number of undergraduates by 150?

✔Third, who decided that this dorm would be priority #1 when Duke was able to resume construction?

✔Third, what happened to the pledge that students would be involved in planning. The Campus Council, as well as The Chronicle, should demand specifics. Dean Nowicki made that pledge October 8. Tallman Trask said just seven weeks later that interior planning was complete and now we are starting to dig.

Fact Checker is not happy this morning.


There was a time when Duke got a donation or otherwise had money in hand before building. My loyal readers, we are going to borrow to put this up. And that should set off an alarm bell.

Borrow, borrow, borrow. Five years ago, Duke's education division -- in other words, excluding the Duke Health System -- owed $779.4 million. Fellow Dukies, we entered this academic year owing $1,981.5 million. Yes that's right, this debt has almost tripled under Mr. Brodhead.

Duke Health has done just a little better in controlling the urge to borrow. In five year's its debt went from $469.8 million to $555.5 million.

Combined with a 30 percent decline in the university's net assets in the last academic year -- principally investment losses in the endowment, pension funds -- Duke was lucky to escape without a decline in its credit ratings. When Tallman Trask wrote this up in his annual financial report, he said Duke and Duke Health "continue to achieve current credit ratings of Aa1 and Aa2 with both Moody's and AA+ and AA with Standard and Poor's."

Continued from the prior year that is. What Trask did not say was that this represents an erosion of the credit rating that Duke once enjoyed -- and a credit rating below that earned by institutions we like to compare ourselves to. Harvard for example has an AAA rating.

Lower credit rating = higher interest rates. Fellow Dukies, the fastest growing part of our annual budget is interest payments. Up an astounding 20 percent from the 2007-8 to 2008-9 academic years, the latest statistics.

Watch for Duke to operate this new dorm as a separate entity, the room rental fees being channeled to interest costs. And watch too for Duke to try to charge premium rates to rent a room in the new portion of Keohane Quad, K4 as they call it.

One other point about our overall debt. A portion of this debt -- the actual portion is an Allen Building secret -- is at floating rates. For the most part, in the past five years we've benefited from low interest rates. Down the road, when the economy perks and rates start to rise, Duke will be bonged!

You should understand too, that Duke is only paying interest -- it does not it does not pay back any of the principal as we go along. Compare that with a home mortgage where each year, you pay down the debt.

Let's just look at one of the borrowings -- Duke issued bonds known as 2006 Series B. We got $128,435,000 and we are paying interest rates between 4.3 percent and 5 percent until the year 2042.

In the year 2042, Duke needs $128,435,000 lump sum to pay back the loan -- and guess what -- we have no idea in hell and no plan at all on where to get that money.

We are screwing future generations. Let them figure it out. Maybe they can refinance, that is, take out a new loan, at the mercy of whatever interest rates there are in 2042.

You tell me if this is the Duke you want to leave to your children and grandchildren. This will be our legacy if we continue on the current course.


Administrators have dodged a Fact Finder inquiry. It's one thing to say we are putting up K4 and using the new beds to thin out the population in existing dorms. For example to create more commons rooms and other facilities all over campus. But if we are going to wind up with 150 more students, don't say Fact Checker did not sound the alarm.

We want more students to get more tuition! We can earn a profit from more. The added students will be selected from the pool of those who can pay full freight -- our commitment to need blind admissions notwithstanding. This is the precise thinking that one of the most horrible president's in our history, Douglas Knight, used. And you know what the outcome was: a campus wide crimp because our endowment per student declined.

This is one of the key measures of the long term health of the University -- how much money backs up each student and subsidizes his or her education. With the meltdown of our endowment, endowment per student went from $480,633 18 months ago to $341,386 at the start of this academic year. Princeton has almost $1 million more per student.

Fact Checker has factored in inflation: the purchasing power of the endowment per student is $20,000 less per year than it was a decade ago.

We cannot add another 150 undergraduates, on top of the large number of new masters students that we will be seeing because these programs are cheap to create and they are profitable to run. Don't say Fact Checker did not warn you about the endowment per student!

Oh. Last question: will there be faculty living in K4? No one says. Or did the experiment of Few Quadrangle flop?

✔ The addition to Keohane Quadrangle, K4, though on West Campus, was actually part of the Central Campus master plan. When the financial meltdown caused Duke to scrap those grandiose plans, we put aside a decade of collaboration between administrators, faculty, students and others, collaboration to make sure that we got it right.

Please tell me, now that the urge to construct is stirring our administrators, who decided that K4 was our number one priority. Who was involved in that process? Where was the collaboration?

✔Beyond the designation of Priority #1, there was the design process. I try to follow Duke affairs closely, as loyal readers may surmise, and I was quite surprised to learn we were as far along as we were.

I was relieved however, to learn via the Chronicle that Dean Nowicki had met with Campus Council on October 8 to invite student participation. Nowicki even said he was going to go out personally to other groups. So Dean Steve, this morning please tell us precisely what you have done to solicit input since October 8. Precisely how you incorporated that input.

This is important, Dean Steve. You sat there in the Class of 2013 Convocation, when Brodhead told our new freshmen not only to begin their studies, but to begin planning the future of Duke. That was a ringing endorsement of the idea of collaboration. How did you carry it out?

Mr. Campus Council president, Stephen Temple, let me remind you of what you said on October 8. “Campus Council will be acting as the student voice throughout the process.”

You are quoted again in this morning's Chronicle, and one could venture to say your comments mean a collaborative process indeed did occur. But I rather doubt it. Tell us what you did, and on what dates? What ideas of yours will be coming to fruition?

And Alex Reese, vice president, Campus Council, let me remind you what you said on October 8:

“I hope to see Campus Council and a wide variety of students involved in discussions about which living style are most amenable.”

Seven weeks after that student, Tallman Trask said interior planning on the dorm was almost complete. You owe it to your fellow students to stand now and say whether you indeed played a significant role -- at the table, with your ideas incorporated -- or whether this entire notion of cooperation and collaboration is a sham, another example of the Brodhead Administration rolling over students.

✔Fact Checker will be listening. As always.


1/25/2010 Trustees may dip into endowment

act Checker here.
With a warning that requires many checks. Please read carefully.
I want to comment most urgently on the proposed change in the endowment payout. This is very very dangerous.

What is meant by endowment payout? It is the amount of money we move from the principal of the endowment to the annual budget, the amount we are going to spend each year.

For a long long time, Duke has followed a very prudent policy, utilizing a complicated formula which I have greatly simplified.

The formula assumed we'd earn 8.5 percent per year over the long run, counting dividends, interest and capital gain, and that we'd divide that as follows:

-- we would spend 5.5 percent, transferring funds from the investment account into the annual budget.

-- and we'd set aside 3 percent, adding it to the principal to protect the purchasing power of the endowment over the long term.

Very very prudent. It won widespread praise, particularly from our chief money guru Tallman Trask. Plus the Fact Checker seal of approval.

Faced with red ink now because of the financial meltdown, the scramble is on to "find" more money, and thus the move to spend more from the endowment. Rather than a percentage, this is expressed as a certain amount of money to continue to flow every year.

Last year the Trustees made their first assault on the spending formula. Oh you weren't told about this by Mr. Brodhead or the Chronicle? Or the Trustee chair or a news release? Precisely why you need Fact Checker!!

The Trustees allowed Brodhead and Company to dip into that portion of the endowment dedicated to undergraduate financial aid at a rate greater than 5.5 percent. Thus, the administration could continue to bask in the myth that its Financial Aid Initiative was a great big success and to boast of a need-blind admissions policy. In fact, we made a move to live beyond our means.

With a secretive tweak of the formula affecting the endowment backing undergraduate financial aid, we are able to spend 28 percent more than we would have been the case if we did not resort to this gimmick.

That 28 percent increment comes straight from the money that we should be leaving to future generations, to insure the greatness of Duke in perpetuity.

Worse, the Trustees are now discussing tweaking all of our endowment -- not only that portion devoted to financial aid. We will gobble more, we will leave less to the future. It is a grave moral question, and I fear we are making a mistake in answering it.

✔There is a second factor at play here too, adding to the danger. As I outlined, Duke's financial matrix is built on the assumption that our endowment will earn 8.5 percent a year on average, year after year. But that's not happening, despite rosy statistics every once in a while from The Allen Building.

Indeed, last year we had a negative investment return of 24.5 percent. And the key word here is investment -- for the 24.5 percent does not include the percentage we routinely transfer to the annual budget, much less special appropriations needed to cover red ink caused by a sharp decline in donations. Each of these steps reduced the principle.

Administrators have only talked about the 24.5 percent and the endowment. Not one has mentioned applying this loss to the pension funds and to massive Duke Health surpluses. Or similar losses in university-related accounts, thousands of them, including The Chronicle's reserves which are invested in part through Duke Management Corporation.

Forget 24.5 percent. A better measure of what really happened during the financial meltdown is to look at the university's net assets -- amassed over more than 125 years. Our net worth tumbled 30 percent in one year. Kaboom!

Have you heard Brodhead talk about this? Have you seen a PR release? Has the Chronicle covered this even though it was tipped? No. No. No. This is why you need Fact Checker at your side.

To deflect our attention from the misery of losing 30 percent of everything, the Brodhead Administration has focused on the ten year average of our investment return, boasting it is 10.1 percent. We'll let slide that my own calculation differs a bit from that, not significantly. There are several problems with that statistic, the most important of which derives from the first year embraced in the ten year average.

In that year, 1999-2000, Duke rode the dot.com boom to an awesome 58.8 percent return on its investments. Fact Check: 58.8 percent. Not even Bernie Madoff offered that!

Next June 30th, the aberration of 58.8 percent drops out of the ten year average, and my calculation is our return will dip to an average in the 6 percent range.

Loyal readers, when you build your house anticipating 8.5 percent, and in the last decade you came up with only six percent, you are in deep shi..... well deep water.

We do not need financial gimmicks. We need hard and courageous decisions during the budget crisis.

✔Finally, every Duke financial report that I have ever studied embraces the academic year -- July 1 through June 30. Today we are given statistics for the calendar year. This precludes any analysis and comparison. So congratulations, Tallman, on obfuscating again.

✔Thank you for reading and supporting Fact Checker.

1/25/2010 Duke expands to China

This post provoked many responses that are not included here. They can be found on the Chronicle website

Good day fellow Dukies! Fact Checker here.

I was wondering where Dick Brodhead was. After all, the day that he arrived in China to expand Duke's international footprint had been designated by the chair of the Academic Council for our President to finally get around to delivering his annual address to the faculty, traditionally offered in October.

To explain the delay from the autumn: the chair and the President agreed the address would be so important this year given Duke's "dire financial strait" (a quote from the Trustee chair) that it should occur in a forum larger than usual, which is a sub-sub basement room (seriously) in the Divinity School seating 107. Fact Check: there are 3,031 regular members of the faculty this semester.

There was no reason given why Brodhead just did not immediately commandeer our largest venue outside of Cameron, which is Duke Chapel, or our largest auditorium, Page. The President's subject may be important, but that term in administration-speak apparently does not embrace the concept of urgency.

There is no new date that I can discover for the faculty address, unless it was revealed at last Thursday's Academic Council meeting. My mole has not yet checked in.

✔The China trip was Mr. Brodhead's second, fulfilling no doubt a promise he made after his first visit in June 2006 to return every year or every other year.

The Chronicle should be red-faced about its coverage of this trip last week. Or more accurately about its failure to cover it.

Fact Checker gave you the news first on Friday with a post on the Chronicle website. But the paper itself had no story. And as more information became available -- and this information was called specifically to the editor's attention -- the newspaper never updated its website either.

One of two things happened: the Chronicle editors may have concluded the President's trip was not worth any special effort, which would only prove they are bigger journalistic boobs than previously known.

Or the PR department could have left the Chronicle hanging, that is, it did not "protect" the campus newspaper with a tip.

Friday's DUKE TODAY, the house organ that manipulates news principally for employees, had a long story and dramatic architectural rendering of the proposed new campus. And the Durham Herald Sun weighed in on Saturday with a fuzzy picture plus a long quote from the ubiquitous mouthpiece Michael Schoenfeld, over-shadowing the much shorter comment from Brodhead.

The PR department has failed the Chronicle before -- even on stories that bear fully on the undergraduate experience. One outstanding example: the first word of the appointment of Steve Nowicki to be super-dean of undergraduate life came in a Wednesday edition of the Herald Sun, rather than the weekly Thursday edition of the summer-time Chronicle. The reason for overlooking the newspaper is simple: administrators at this university simply do not include many stakeholders -- students, alumni -- in their snapshot of who properly participates in governance and defining Duke's future.

The internalization of Duke is of course one of Brodhead's signature projects, the other being student aid, and to leave students out of the loop is unforgivable. But enough lessons from Fact Checker's course in PR 101. Let's refocus.


✔Kunshan, China. I will return to this backwater in a moment -- but first I am impelled to put this into context as just one part of our bubbling international aspirations.

Behind the closed doors of Allen Building, the new buzz word is "Incheon," as in Incheon, South Korea. Every time I hear this, I can only be jarred into thinking of the substantial questions for the environment posed by the development that Duke might be part of, and wondering if this be appropriate for a school that prides itself on being green.

Of course you have heard nothing of Incheon from Mr. Brodhead. Nothing either from the platoons of PR people filtering the news. Nothing from the Chronicle. It's a damn good thing you have Fact Checker on your side!

This tip comes courtesy of a distinguished professor emeritus at Berkley, Randolph Hester, a transplanted North Carolinian who cares very much about Duke, whose specialty was environmental planning and whose accomplishments include stopping the destruction of ecosystems by investors and developers looking for a quick buck.

With cooperation from the city of Incheon, developers are putting up the world's largest private real estate project. 30 of 50 proposed buildings are already under construction, ultimately to consist of 40 million square feet of office space and 22,500 apartments. (Every building at Duke combines to 15,622,000 square feet).

This development is at the expense of 10,000 acres of wetlands already filled in, and 2,000 acres that Professor Hester hopes to save. (All of Duke, including a forest so vast that most people cannot imagine it, totals 8,610 acres).

Cisco, 3M and United Technologies are among the companies planning big outposts (and moving operations from the USA). The developers and city of Incheon also want to partner with nine American universities. The deal sounds much like the one Duke is getting in the backwater of Kunshan, China (more about this fiasco coming up from Fact Checker) to pay for all facilities and to give us a contract to provide an instant academic enterprise. While a possible deal with Duke is said to be pending, according to the latest information from Professor Hester and other sources, and may or may not happen, Incheon has already locked up North Carolina State with a lure of $50 million in facilities that are due to open later this year with 3,000 students.

Hester has amassed proof that filling in the remaining wetlands will destroy the last of a natural treasure and affect the ecosystem from East Asia to Australia. The filling will shatter several species, quite likely leading to their extinction. And Hester asks how can an institution like Duke join in this.

Duke, you know, the university glowing green. The school whose president on November 12, 2007 sent out a long letter pledging to conserve the environment and lead us in saving every drop of water. The university with the Nicholas School of the Environment. With the Home Depot dorm. With its own wetlands and forest being protected. Not to mention the lemur center, saving from extinction the species that responds to stimuli and pharmaceuticals much as humans.

These are all vital questions, raising the specter of a university without principle, a university content with the rape of the natural resources of a different people for its own benefit.

✔And there is another vital question now that we have the name Incheon on the table joining Kunshan, China. On October 18, 2007, President Brodhead used his annual address to the faculty to speak about "The International Dimensions of Duke's Ambitions."

Bloviating much of the time, he did make a damn good point:

Duke's international ventures have been "opportunistic in character," in other words, we grabbed the buck, with more than 300 individual professors and schools scooping up what they could.

Brodhead said "....the university’s internationalization will need to become more concerted and more strategic. This raises deep questions: what is it Duke should be trying to accomplish in the international domain, and why? If we have a finite number of steps we could take, what steps would carry us toward the most important goals?"

The president was proving he does his homework, ripping off Duke's strategic plan, "Making a Difference," issued September 29, 2006 and never updated in the face of our "dire financial strait." 155 pages long, down on page 18 we are introduced to the word "international." Buzz word of academia, just like earlier generations saw the words "strong regional university", "national university" "research university."

Page 86: "To reach these internationalization goals will require that we rethink how best to organize our internationalization efforts. Much of our progress in the last decade has been accomplished by decentralized entrepreneurial activities by faculty and schools, sometimes encouraged by the infusion of central initiative and financial support from the Vice Provost for International Affairs. Future strategic initiatives, however, especially in the areas of international service and institutional building, will require greater coordination and targeted strategic and entrepreneurial effort. How best to organize ourselves to assure continued entrepreneurial initiatives on the part of our schools and institutes while increasing our capability for more centrally coordinated strategic undertakings is a major administrative challenge."

Mr. Brodhead, Fact Checker is unaware of any attempt to define strategy and set goals. Tell us, please, when you have had "deep" consultation and with whom -- faculty, staff, students, alumni, friends -- to coalesce ideas and execute them in places like Incheon, Kunshan, Dubai, Singapore. What is our strategy, as we leap from city to city?

Incheon surely seems opportunistic to me. So does Kunshan. Cities far away lure us with cash and we put it in our pockets.

✔Fact Checker now turns to Kunshan, China. I did a Chronicle search to ascertain when this first arrived in our news and this popped up: "do you mean unshaven."

Where does this fit strategically? We were all focused on Shanghai, and suddenly this backwater emerged.

Backwater, yes. Fact Checker has been at work, with a Deputy Fact Checker even going to the Chinese mission at the United Nations to talk to two people who have been there. What follows is the best information I can gather. I welcome others making contributions, even corrections about a far off place, including Mr Brodhead.

It is NOT a suburb of Shanghai as the business school dean has asserted. (His brochures still list Shanghai for the Cross-Continent MBA though the program is being relegated to Kunshan) In fact is is just about as far from Shanghai as Durham is from Winston Salem. Remember a Chronicle description too: "located just outside Shanghai."

Kunshan has no airport, and it is 82 miles to the international airport in Shanghai used by US travelers.

There is little transportation to the airport or downtown Shanghai: a four hour bus ride is the best bet. If anyone tells you about a high speed train, tell them you read Fact Checker and cannot be misled: that $23.5 billion train project is nearing completion, to wisk people on the 700 mile corridor between Beijing and Shanghai in five hours. No stopping in the smaller cities, a test run went through Kunshan recently at a record 214 miles an hour.

There is a freight railroad from the sea near Shanghai to Kunshan, for the city imports vast quantities of US cardboard. Cardboard to be turned into boxes for electronics made in Kunshan, and then shipped back to the US.

According to such websites like hotel.com and Travelocity, there is only one hotel in the city that merits three stars. No two stars. No one star. Most of the hotels advertise for $24 to $32 a night.

There is no university, just a branch of a radio and television school.

The city does not have 1.4 million people as the Duke Trustee chair said. The correct total is 640,000, which is insignificant by Chinese standards. Oh yes, there are another 108,000 workers who have come into the city, and they live eight to a room next to the 24 / 7 factories where they work, which are set behind high walls because of the local crime.

The walls do nothing to keep out the smog, and the Deputy Fact Checker was told to expect eye irritation on some days, just like in Beijing.

There is much industry, spawned by businessmen from Taiwan in search of cheap labor. Yes the same US manufacturers who once outsourced to Taiwan, now find their Taiwanese contractors outsourcing to the mainland. Apple makes all its I-Pod Touches in Kunshan. There's one huge factory turning out computers for many brands: Dell, Toshiba, Fujitsu and Hewlett-Packard. The city also makes a substantial share of the motherboards used around the world.

The total value of goods made in the city has been leapfrogging, up 15 percent in the last year with available statistics. The lure has been cheap labor -- but already the seeds of destruction are evident. Wages have risen to $17,000 US, compared to an average of $3,100 US across China. (There are varying statistics on wages, these seem the most reliable)

Fellow Dukies, how long will it take capitalists to dump Kunshan just like they dumped Michigan and Ohio, and then North Carolina and Georgia, and moved on to other backwaters where labor is cheaper and cheaper.

And this is where Duke has landed.

The first I ever heard of the city of Kunshan, China was in the April 17, 2009 Chronicle, when reporter Julia Love breathlessly described how the city will pay to construct and also to run a 200-acre campus (Love did not note that this is twice the size of East Campus) for Fuqua's Cross-Continent MBA program.

There was more in that article: euphoria over the number of applications for the Cross-Continent MBA class starting in September, 2009, never mind the article also noted the school found it necessary to extend the deadline. And never mind that ultimately there were only 120 and not the planned for 180 students -- a loss of $7 million in tuition -- and never mind that far fewer international students showed interest and more applicants from the US had to be accepted, robbing the program of its intended international flavor. Full steam ahead, Kunshan!

Do the good people of Kunshan understand Duke's primary commitment? The Cross-Continent MBA will have students there for precisely seven days per year. Yes seven days. And Kunshan is building housing for students and faculty, athletic facilities and a research library. Do they understand how vague all the other talk of programs in Kunshan is?

This MBA program -- as outlined by a Fuqua counselor whom I called, who never asked my name nor encouraged me to apply in any way -- is for people who will continue to work at their regular jobs. It involves just 37 days total in five international cities. It involves another 23 days in Durham. Viola MBA!!!!

At $120,100 for the degree in 14 months, that works out to $2,000 per classroom day -- not including travel, hotels or a "managed laptop" costing $2500.

The Provost was honest about the proliferation of masters programs, including some beyond the Cross-Continent MBA landing in Kunshan: they are cheap to start, they bring students who will pay their own way (as opposed to poor undergraduates and hungry PhD candidates) and they yield a big profit. Just last Friday, our School of Law announced another masters degree in the Law School. And at Thursday's Academic Council meeting, there was yet another proposal.

The careful Chronicle reader will remember the Kunshan story on April 17, 2009, saying "construction will begin in August." Well it didn't.

Then on December7, 2009, the Chronicle said trustees approved continuing discussions with university and municipal partners in Shanghai and Kunshan, with a city-funded Duke presence in Kunshan. In its first phase, the initiative would require 200 acres and newly constructed facilities—funded by the Kunshan government—to house programs for the Fuqua School of Business. Finalized plans will be announced in early 2010, said Trustees Chair and Democratic state Sen. Dan Blue, Law ’73

And then this in the Chronicle: "The University and the Board will analyze many concerns before committing to further plans in China, including the effect overseas programs could have on education quality in Durham, financial sustainability and cultural differences." My loyal readers, that sure sounds different from the quote from the chair in this morning's Chronicle: "There arguably could be some risks, they're not substantial..."

I am listening, Trustees. What did you analyze and what did you conclude. Most importantly, for such a massive question, when did you do all this thinking, between the December board meeting and the January announcement from Mr. Brodhead.

Fact Checker notes that after the last Trustee meeting, there was one news release, restricted to another master's program that may embrace 25 students. China was on the agenda; we heard nothing about it.

Let's remember Fuqua's international record: it tumbled reaching into Frankfurt, fumbled with the London School of Economics, bumbled in Moscow and crumbled with the Indian Institute of Management in Ahmedabad. And its profitable executive training programs have been slammed by the recession, off a reported 33 percent.

Fellow Dukies, we deserve a thorough look at the finances of Fuqua and far far more discussion of what is afoot in these cities far away.


Finally I turn to another international venture, Dubai.

Loyal readers will recall my essay on the ruler of Dubai, and how his name is on the school Duke is partnering with, a precursor of his name being on joint Duke diplomas following the Singapore model.

My essay focused on the ruler of Dubai who sends his fellow tribesmen into neighboring countries to kidnap little boys, for use as slave labor to tend to the ruler's vast camel racing empire and also to use as sex slaves for the humps in charge. I quoted from our State Department and from UN reports, telling of boys given hormones so their voices do not change, as camels respond better to high pitched screams. To say nothing of the boys lashed to saddles because they are too young to hold on, jockeys who on occasion find one of their lashes giving way and thus they fall under the camel to be trampled by its hooves.

Listen to the Duke representative for Dubai, quoted recently in the Chronicle:

Jonathan Barnett, Fuqua's regional director for the Middle East on the launch of Duke's MBA programs in Dubai: "To that launch will be coming His Highness Mohammed bin Rashid [Al Maktoum], who is the ruler of Dubai. We are immensely honored that he will be joining us at this event."

This is a lesson in how low you can bow to a scumbag.
That's Fact Checker for today!!

1/22/2010 Athletics budget

Fact Checker here.

I am surprised -- to put it mildly -- that the lead in the Chronicle today is not President Brodhead's trip to China and Duke's international expansion. Originally, Mr Brodhead had reserved January 21 to deliver, finally, his annual address to the faculty in the Academic Council forum, but alas, that frequently illuminating event, usually held in October, is put off again.

I begin with a thank you to Professor Hain for spawning healthy debate in the Academic Council. No matter what you think about the role of athletics at Duke, there is not enough informed discussion.

Now... some specifics on Coach K's salary. It is not, as the Academic Council's chair is quoting as saying, ten times that of a professor.

According to the American Association of University Professors, for the 2008-09 academic year, nine month contract, Duke's full professors on average made the following:

Male $163,000 (above the 95th percentile)

Female $152,400

Now as for the men's basketball coach, the latest figures available are for 2007-08, when he earned $3.7 million. Duke was prepared to pay him approximately ten percent more, but this was forfeited. Fact Checker believes this would have been a bonus had the team won championships.

Let's go back to the 2002-2003 school year. Coach K received $800,000 in base and an expense account, unexplained in documents that I have seen, of $617,028. For 2003-04 he received a modest raise.

Enter the Lakers in the fall of 2004. After Coach K decided to remain at Duke he received a 50 percent hike. In fairness, and Fact Checker is fair, I note the expense account got trimmed at this time, but apparently use of a corporate jet got added. Even though Mr Trask said all this is transparent, believe me you cannot find out squat.

In the next year, K received an additional hike of $1 million a year. And in the year after that he received yet another increase of $1 million a year.

That's right. Back to back raises of $1 million a year. Just like the history and French professors!

$3.7 million in 2007-08. Statistics like this are buried in Form 990 of the university's tax return, on page 60 of 88 of the 2007-08 filing in case you want to do some research of your own. Luckily you have Fact Checker!

I do not know if Coach K saw his salary freeze during the fiscal crisis -- as faculty members did -- or if his contract specified an increase. Watch for Fact Checker to report on that in April, along with confirmation of Coach Cut's initial salary.

The above of course is not Coach K's entire financial package: Duke and he get intertwined in endorsements (Nike for example). Plus all of his other activities that build on the Duke brand.

We do not know if, for example, the Nike deal in outfitting our teams and in gaining endorsement, is included in K's university salary, or if Nike may cut a check directly to him. The same applies to the Fuqua motivational program that coach K conducts annually ($1600 a guest) which Fact Checker believes is handled by a subsidiary corporation.

What the hell am I doing as a Fact Checker. I should have been a basketball coach!!!

"...the athletic department makes the money it needs to operate, except for the University subsidy." Seriously? That is such a coincidence because I make all the money I need to build a new mansion!! (except for $14.6 million). What kind of argument is that? It's *only* costing this many million. Athletics, as a tangential projection to the mission of this university, should have to be completely self-sustaining as a very bare-minimum condition of them being allowed to continue at all.

It's time to stop following our traditions with a blindfold on. Some of them make sense, others, like athletics, do not. There is no logical reason ("logical" being the operative word) not to seriously consider completely abolishing all athletic programs at Duke if they do not allow everyone to participate (as in intramurals/club sports), *especially* if these programs are, in effect, stealing our money.

Aside from the direct financial effects of the athletics programs - the income from ticket and gear sales, etc, vs the outlays in equipment, staff, those parts of scholarships which would not otherwise be covered for students under Duke's financial aid package, etc. - I wonder if there might be some way to quantify the secondary and tertiary impact our varsity programs have on the institution (and, in this context, on its finances). For example, what is the secondary PR effect and how much would that cost without DI sports? What kind of institutional loyalty - again in this context measured in dollars though that is not the only way such a thing should be measured - comes about as a result of participating in or observing our DI teams? What additional monies come in through vending - or to the City and County of Durham from visitors specifically coming in to watch our DI teams? Of the University Subsidy - how much of that would otherwise come from financial aid for those students who would attend Duke and not be on athletic scholarships; how much of it is made up of funds from other divisions that only get those funds because of an attachment to or appreciation of our DI programs?

Along with the monetary considerations comes those of what impact abolishing DI programs would have on the student body. Duke has 26 teams, 245 Full-time-equivalent scholarships, and hundreds of DI athletes. What would it mean to the institution if DI sports went away entirely? How many of those students would have still pursued their education at Duke without being able to simultaneously pursue their excellence in athletics? How do you quantify that impact?

I don't know the numbers or how broad the impact is, but I think such considerations must be taken into account when analyzing the institution as a whole.

I'd like to know the breakdown of how much the mens basketball program brings in vs how much it costs....I hate when people jump on the coaches in money sports simply because they make the most....the mens basketball program likely brings in much more money to the athletic dept than it costs the school to operate....its the other programs that drain the budget without providing substantial income

this whole issue came up last year in connecticut with jim calhoun's famous 'not a dime back' tirade....and he's right.....the state stood behind calhoun simply because, though he is likely the states highest paid employee, he brings in 8 million a year (or whatever the number is)....the people the faculty should be aiming at is the cost of the sports teams that run in deficit....obviously the answer isn't to cut all the sports that don't make a profit....because that would leave us with mens basketball.....

but I think Dr. G is right here, the amount of 'intagibles' (to use a sports term) that the athletics dept bring in which don't show up on the stat sheet might be worth the 15 mil it costs the university each year....

does anyone thing coach K coaching the olympic team doesn't bring huge amounts of free publicity to duke? he might be the universities best recruiter, not just of athletes, but of students

This is the sort of arrant pedantry up with which I will not put.


This cycle of arguments gets kind of old (mine included) so I'll keep this brief. The basic point is: if Duke is going to suffer greatly from it not being able to rely on its athletic programs for free ad space, then Duke isn't doing a very good job. The only reason we put up with this is because sports are a very culturally acceptable idea. We also got free advertising when one of our seniors last year posed semi-nude for Playboy Magazine. We could probably get students to go around Durham graffiti-ing "DUKE" everywhere just the same. Is this the kind of advertising you want? NO, because those actions, unlike sports, are considered morally questionable.

But should the cultural moral value be the only criteria for what makes advertising appropriate or justifiable? It seems to me like we would like to advertise ourselves on who we are, not by whatever means possible. Take a quirky example: What if Duke were in a different predicament where it chose to spend $15 million/year printing its name on toilet paper, and it was discovered that if Duke stopped printing its name here then the university would encounter serious ramifications. I would probably ask: How great a university is it if it has to rely on printing simply its name on toilet paper in order for it to succeed?

While I recognize that these two things--sports and toilet paper--are somewhat different in nature, I believe the analogy is accurate because both are morally sound actions, yet are unrelated to the university's mission of education. Just because one is more common than the other doesn't mean it's any "better".

Finally, if we're going to say that sports can stay only because they are useful, this begs the question: are they the *most* useful way to get advertising. Perhaps it would be better if Duke started a national donut business and made blue donuts in order to get publicity. It seems like it would be quite a coincidence to me if we found out sports actually were the best possible way of the nearly infinite possibilities. (Then we could return to the question of whether Duke should sink itself to relying on donut sales for ads.)

One other idea for using that money to "effectively" advertise: give every freshman $9000 off their tuition....

OK - T-12 - to continue your analogy - if Duke abolished toilet paper from campus, how many students would show up? :-D

A bit more seriously, you focused your last post on the advertising but did not cover what it would mean with respect to the student population if we became an institution at which students would be unable to participate in the highest levels of sport *and* the highest levels of academic achievement. The PR value is useful, but not - in my opinion - the *sole* positive characteristic of having a DI athletics program.

Seriously considering abolishing the program necessarily means seriously considering the full gamut of advantages and disadvantages of the program to the institution. It also means looking at those aspects from the myriad perspectives of the broad-spectrum "target community" that would make up a vibrant and enriching Duke University - from those whose benefits from and contributions to the community in their roles as students, staff, administrators, alumni, visitors, faculty, etc, would generate a rich and varied place - rather than from the narrow confines of our own, potentially orthogonal, agendas.

Important statistics from Fact Checker

Fellow Dukies, your Fact Checker has dug up some more material for you to consider. This is from Duke's 2009 filing to insure compliance with the federal Equity in Athletics laws. You would never know it from the numbers I am about to give you, but this is designed to even the playing field so our female athletes get just as much support as male.

Total expenses - just about everything including coaches salaries are embraced here. And total revenues.

Men's basketball cost $13,873,859
revenues $11,842,009

Women's basketball $3,159,268
revenue $322,882

Football cost $15,746,727
revenue $9,029,583


Number of players

Men's Basketball 14
Women's Basketball 12

Football 111

All intercollegiate sports
Men 372
Women 244


Head coaches Average salary
11 head coaches for men, 11 for women
Includes bonuses. Does not include benefits.

Average salary men
Average salary women


Annual cost of scholarship, grant or financial assistance specifically to athlete. Does not include a portion of assistance that accrues to all students generally.

Men's teams $8,118,602 for 61 players
Average per player $133,091

Women's teams $5,227,671 for 39 players
Avereage per player $134,042


Recruiting expenses

All men's teams $769,474
All women's teams $320,908


Operating expenses. All expenses attributable to "day of game", home, away and neutral site, including lodging, meals, transportation, uniforms.

Men's basketball $5,516,953
Per player $394,068 (correct figure!!)✔

Women's basketball $1,161,924
Per player $96,827

Football $5,869,292
Per player $52,877

Other notable per player costs

Men's golf $20,619
Women's golf $20,190
Women's tennis $29.074

Total operating expenses - "day of game"

Men's teams $13,174,776
Women's teams $3,080,923


Thank you for reading Fact Checker.

Michael, I think this issue will become clearer if you look at sports in a more objective way rather than accepting the cultural assumptions that make them acceptable. Also, let's talk more about ethics than about effect.

First, to your question "If Duke abolished toilet paper from campus, how many students would show up?" Short answer: at least one, namely me. Longer criticism: just because I use the words "toilet paper" doesn't mean that you also using them is in any way related to the original analogy, which is focused more on a concept than on individual words. I was really referring to advertising, but, if you want me to take your point seriously: I will have to go out on a limb here and posit that the existence of toilet paper on campus is more central to the goal of acceptable living conditions (and therefore more relevant to the mission) than is a university without sports teams. But I would gladly pay for my own toilet paper if you were to insist.

Second, let's look at the statement: "Seriously considering abolishing the program necessarily means seriously considering the full gamut of advantages and disadvantages of the program to the institution." Logic here = bad. Your statement is only true if you are also willing to give up the premise that a university should allow anything that is to its "advantage". But where then is the room for academic integrity?

Contrary to popular belief, a university, like any institution, is not a place for an infinite number of "good" things. Our purpose is not: "Do whatever, so long as it's good." While the definition of "good" here would be highly contentious if we were to debate it out, luckily, there is no need. Instead, a university does have a unique purpose, that is, a mission to do something specific through a specific means, which looks more like this: "A university should do whatever is good at X by Y." Thus, if athletic programs are not good at X or not achieved through Y, even if they are good at P by Q, we don't need to "[consider] the full gamut of advantages of the program to the the institution," because they are irrelevant! My argument is that athletics are part of neither X nor Y and therefore should be discontinued, despite any "benefits" of a more general sense.

A job for you to prove me wrong would come up with a set of X and Y that would include a place for athletics. (And as a further challenge, to come up with a set of X and Y that would justify a $15 million athletic subsidy.) Here's my formulation of what you are intuitively working with:

"A university should do whatever is good at achieving any type of culturally sanctioned success by any culturally-justifiable moral means."

- Which is crappy, so hope that I'm wrong.

FactChecker, thanks for those last stats. I really enjoyed going through them. The average coach salaries and the per player "day of game" costs were particularly stunning.

I find it interesting that female coaches actually make less on average than female professors but male coaches make 3.5 times more than male profs. I'll make the implicit, intuitive argument here explicit as well:

- Salaries are an accurate indicator of institutional value
- Coaches, on average, have higher salaries than do professors
- Thus, Duke values its coaches more than its professors

What's wrong with this argument? Obviously if you're going to find a grudge, it's going to lie somewhere within the first premise, but even that seems pretty solid to me.

It's kind of funny (in an upsetting sense) that when I'm calling for the abolition of athletics that Duke is actually paying the coaches more than the professors. To me, this simply highlights how, in some respects, our institution is influenced by culture and tradition more than it is by reason (which, in my opinion, is one of the very things a university was created to protect!).

1/21/2010 Central Campus

Fact Checker here.

I am very interested in the statement in this article that Central Campus will see an "influx" of new police officers. And I regret that the Chronicle just let this pass, and did not delve into it.

I am mindful that after at least two of the incidents of Durham-on-Duke violence, we heard promises of more Duke Police patrols. The newspaper did not report any specifics then either.

Where are these officers coming from? Is Duke hiring? I think not.

What areas are being stripped to favor Central Campus?

How many officers have been patrolling Central, and what does the influx entail?

Is Duke buying more marked police cars?

I am mindful too that Dr Trask -- whose responsibilities specifically embrace Duke Police -- has advocated in the past fewer regular, fully trained armed police officers, and more cheaper security guards hired from private companies. With gunshots on campus last weekend, with a murder of a graduate student still in our hearts and the shooting of an undergraduate more recently, I would be curious to learn if this approach is still his view.

Ahhh the fence. This would seem unprecedented at Duke. How high? How much of an area does it embrace? To be effective, it will have to look like the Berlin Wall or that barrier Israel is building against Palestinians. Is this what we want? Have our relations with Durham come to this point?

This article also states "Once Mill Village is completed, administrators will address other issues affecting Central students, such as safety and transportation." This cries out for explanation too. How are these linked? Can't administrators chew gum and walk at the same time? Why do safety and transportation have to await the completion of the Village.

Lastly, Mill Village itself. The picture suggests it is not very big, and I would be interested in knowing more about it. How can a place to work out (and shower afterward?) a place to eat and a place to hang out all be embraced therein.

Fact Checker appreciates your time in reading this.

1/21/2010 Selection of Trustees, Young Trustees

Fact Checker here. Good day!

It is wonderful to see the level of interest -- 15 candidates for one job!!

It is wonderful to see the process of selection at work -- and people trying to perfect that process!!

Compare that please to the clandestine way in which our Board of Adult Trustees operates.

Do you know that at a recent meeting, the Adult Board elected two new members from a secret list that was two names long -- and it won't even tell us who those new Trustees are? We have to wait until they actually take office (I assume next July) to find out.

What reason in hell is there for secrecy? On this. On everything. What an unhealthy way to run the show.

And a suggestion: elect as a Young Trustee only someone pledged to work to make Trustee meetings open, to announce the agenda, to report on all votes and to publish full minutes.

Students should demand this of their Young Trustee; the alumni should demand it of their 12 Trustees. And the Methodist Church should stop participating in the falsehood of claiming to elect 24 Trustees, as well as demand its Trustees follow the above course.

Thanks for reading and supporting Fact Checker.

1/20/2010 Duke student aid

act Checker here

Yes Duke has switched to the Federal Direct Student Loan Program and it appears to be a good switch.

Now I would like to inquire what leadership role our President and other administrators played as the Bush and Obama Administrations and the Congress reshaped student aid programs. I am aware, for example, that Mr. Brodhead went to Washington to lobby for more faculty research dollars. And I am aware that on a more recent occasion during two days of jumping around Washington he discussed Duke's participation in expanded veterans' higher education programs. But what precisely did he do as crucial questions arose and crucial decisions were made in the much broader area of student aid?

Did he speak out? To whom? Was there a news conference? Did he write any op-ed articles?

I cannot find any evidence of Brodhead's involvement in this national debate of great consequence to students. But as always, Fact Checker is open to updates and correction.


1/15/2010 Duke University celebrates Dr Martin Luther King

Fact Checker here.

Duke does precious little for the patriotic holidays, letting July 4th, Memorial Day and Veterans Day go by with barely a mention. It neglects American heroes like Washington and Lincoln by passing on President's Day too, not to mention the common working man's Labor Day. On the most rare of occasions, it does pay homage to the eclectic, as when President Brodhead adopted the role of Satan and joined in readings to celebrate the 400th anniversary of Milton.

In this context, with so little observance of other holidays, the annual week-long celebration of Dr. Martin Luther King's birthday has raised many eyebrows: Is Duke trying to atone for its racist past? Is the University pandering?

I shall leave that debate to others, and instead propose that we follow the grand sweep of speakers and events in the coming week with new resolve to address unfinished business right here on campus.

At the beginning of last semester, two student leaders (Bergmann and Passo) called our attention to the man whom we honor with this building: an aggressive white supremist, agitator and fomenter of a lynch mob in Wilmington NC that succeeded in killing dozens of blacks -- perhaps 100 -- on November 10, 1898.

A Deputy Fact Checker wrote to President Brodhead on September 22, 2009 about this outrage -- and sent two other e-mails to jar him -- and has yet to receive the courtesy of a reply.

Given annually to the law school graduate with the highest academic average, this award memorializes a rabid racist. Chair of our Trustees, he stopped two votes by the board that would have integrated Duke. He also ran for the US Senate. His winning slogan: "Wake Up, White People!" He labeled his opponent, Frank Porter Graham of UNC fame, as a proponent of "mingling of the races."

A Deputy Fact Checker wrote to Mr. Brodhead and Dean Levi of the Law School about this disgrace, and I regret to report to you that there has been no response since September. With Brodhead, I have come to expect it. Shame on you Dean Levi.

Duke took a small segment of its vast forest and carved it into building lots for faculty members. It inserted two covenants in every deed:

The faculty member could never sell nor rent to a person "with Negro blood," a common covenant in the south in years ago.

The faculty member could not allow a person "with Negro blood" to sleep over on the property unless he or she was household help. That's distinctly Duke.

People of good faith have challenged these covenants for more than half century; after much prodding President Brodhead went further than any of his predecessors in responding, adding to the deeds a promise that Duke would never enforce its rights. Though he called this "largely symbolic," Fact Checker found it interesting that Mr. Brodhead never apologized, and made an underling sign the promise. Sadly, only one member of the faculty spoke up in support of Mr. Brodhead's actions, even though hundreds are directly affected.

Brodhead's "action" is not good enough. As the former University Counsel agreed, Duke can take legal steps not only to waive its rights under living covenants, but to kill the covenants themselves. Here's one time that we should call for the death penalty.

Duke takes money for special causes, for example scholarships restricted to blacks. I find that laudable -- to advance a stated university goal to make higher education more available to people historically discriminated against or marginalized.

Some donors had malice in their hearts when they restricted their endowments to "whites only." That's wrong.

Duke has secretly sued two of those early donors to try to change the terms -- but our secretive administration refuses even to say what court the lawsuits were filed in.

It's time for the Brodhead Administration to come clean on this one, to show us all the cards.

Dr. King stood for more than racial justice. He summoned everyone of us to fulfill all of America's promise with honor and fairness and social and economic justice.

Which brings us to the award presented annually by the President personally -- named for a sick homophobe who carried on a personal pogrom. How's this quote: "There are two things we cannot have around here. Thieves and homosexuals."

Mr. Brodhead, answer the e-mail you got four months ago on this.

Nan Keohane initiated a thorough review of the status of women at Duke, and Dick Brodhead buried it. There will be a revival in the coming weeks, and here are some statistics that should loom large at that time.

The numbers are from the American Association of University Professors, salaries for the nine month 2008-2009 academic year at Duke.

Full professor - average excluding Medical School
Male $163,600 (Above the 95th percentile for all academics)
Female $152,400

Associate professor - etc
Male $116,300
Female $89,500

Assistant professor - etc.
Male $98,900
Female $79,800

Why the academics on this campus do not raise holy hell about this, I have no idea. Engage, my teachers, engage!

✔ The Keohane initiative to hire at least one new black faculty member in every department bore some fruit. But not enough. Fact Checker does not have updated statistics. But I assure you we can do better.

I would hope in the not too distant future, one of our newest recruits, Professor Matory, who was very outspoken at Harvard, will be heard.

As Mr. Brodhead has noted, the Duke Health System has more than 700 contracts with health care insurers and others -- a crazy quilt that means different people are charged different fees for the same treatment. Indeed the task of keeping tabs on all this -- and squeezing out every dime -- is so complex that we have set up a separate entity, the Patient Revenue Management Organization, with 1,341 employees. Fact Check: yes that's right, 1,341 employees sending out medical bills.

And who do you think pays the highest fees for medical care? People not covered by insurance, who do not have contracts with a negotiated discount. Those discounts can be huge -- 50, 60, 70 percent.

The uninsured people are most often poor, often minority. And they are always pursued by Duke for every buck. For most of them, Duke is not a school or a hospital, but a plaintiff represented by an aggressive collection attorney.

This is immoral. At the very least, the poor should be accorded the same rates as the rich, who benefit from negotiations by insurance companies. Chancellor Dzau, take time off from your international travels and high paid corporate directorships, and address this.

Hold up a piece of imported Swiss cheese. Notice the holes? Our investment policy is worse.

Duke's pledge to withhold investments in Sudan is empty. It covers only "direct investments," that is, when we go to the stock market ourselves and do the picking. It does not cover our hiring of investment managers -- private equity and hedge funds -- who in turn do the picking.

Loyal readers, at least $3.3 billion does not fall under our policy.

All of Duke's investments are a big secret. Duke says to reveal any of its holdings and the results of its trades would cut into our annual return. That's as close to bullshit as you can get: even the charity founded by the partners of the Wall Street vultures Goldman Sachs reveals its annual purchases and sales, profits and losses, and not one of Goldman's partners has been heard to say this affects the yield.

Moreover, our investments should be made with more than an eye toward profits. They should do some good too.

Finally a history lesson. Fact Checker provides historical background and discusses Dr. King at Duke on November 13, 1964.

For many years prior to that date, as Dr. King emerged as the moral leader of his generation, students and others called for an invitation for him to speak -- an invitation to be handled by the Major Speakers Committee of the Student Union.

But there was subtle pressure against this. From administrators, from stacking the committee. Dr. King was "too radical" and "too disruptive." We'd prefer "someone with an intellectual approach." "Inflammatory."

Please understand the times: during most of these years Duke was segregated. When students in Women's College voted to ask the Trustees to include blacks, the KKK burned a giant cross through the night in front of the East Campus auditorium. The White Citizen's Council held sway with rallies at Durham High School's football stadium, George Wallace punctuating the night air with cries for "segregation forever."

There were sit-ins in Durham for the right of blacks to eat at lunch counters, and pickets for the right to go to movie theaters. Duke's drama students invited their counterparts from North Carolina Central to a performance -- only to have President Edens (honored with his name on a quad) bar them, explaining Page Auditorium had no rest rooms for blacks.

Even after Duke desegregated, the athletic director refused to take down the "Negro Section" sign at the football stadium (he's honored with Cameron Indoor Stadium). And on the very day that the first four black undergraduates arrived, the new president of the university (honored by having Knight House named for him) knowingly joined the notorious all-white Hope Valley Country Club.

And so the Student Union invited the president of Morehead College in Atlanta, Dr. Benjamin Mays, as our first major black speaker. He fulfilled the milquetoast requirement perfectly.

When Dr. King won the Nobel Peace Prize, he could be denied an invitation no longer.

He promptly accepted -- indeed Duke was one of his first stops. But segregationists took control of arrangements and denied the foremost Christian preacher of the era the pulpit in Duke Chapel. Relegated to Page Auditorium, an overflow crowd also gathered under loudspeakers on the Quad.

He had two messages:

--The Civil Rights Law of 1964 covering restaurants and hotels was very rapidly changing the landscape -- even in Alabama and Mississippi -- proving the moral force of law.

--People who stand by silently in an age of moral challenge are as guilty as the segregationists themselves in sustaining immorality and dishonor.

A few people did sit silent in Page. But many cried. And most rose in thunderous ovation and spontaneous singing of "We Shall Overcome." Please relive that moment in Duke's history by clicking here and listening.


✔✔ Thank you for reading and supporting Fact Checker.

1/14/2010 Bad management: Brodhead retirement incentive plan leaves departments stripped

A Chronicle article revealed that the housing (dormitory) department had been stripped of all its leadership.

Fact Checker here!

This article illustrates how badly the Brodhead Administration formulated and executed the first retirement incentive program. It allowed ANY Duke employee to leave with extra benefits, leaving open the possibility that an entire department would be emasculated.

The same bad management stripped the leadership of Duke Police, where three lieutenants retired.

Under the 2nd incentive program, after our president and his administrators woke up, it was necessary for Duke to declare a position expendable in order for an incentive to be offered.

We are being told NOTHING about the third incentive, for faculty to retire. The deadline had been moved from December to now, and it is about time we found out how much EACH professor got -- as the potential cost of this is overwhelming. Chronicle, wake up!!!

Welcome back El-Mo. It is going to be interesting to find out what difference a semester studying universities in Crotia makes... studying how they deliver services to their students. Big dividends no doubt... from what seems to Fact Checker to be a rather absurd waste of taxpayer dollars through a Fulbright Scholarship. Today the Chronicle used these words... that Moneta needs time to determine "a better sense of what leadership RLHS needs before working to recruit a new head. " Quoting the paper, not El-Mo.

These managers and their department have reported to El-Mo since August 2001 when he arrived at Duke following similar experience elsewhere. And just now he needs to learn??