✔✔✔✔✔ Fact Checker here. All summer. No vacation.
The Brodhead Administration, with its back to the wall, has surrendered to the faculty in the Fuqua School of Business "all existing sources of information" about the Kunshan Initiative.
As Loyal Readers know, the Administration has been operating largely in secret for two years -- and this very fact has caused an uproar among faculty and other stakeholders. But larger by far, there is a revolt against the Initiative itself, substantive opposition that has grown as more and more details have emerged. Fact Checker is developing a Special Report to explore the issues.
The quote "all existing sources of information" is from e-mail by Fuqua's Deputy Dean Bill Boulding, who announced two extraordinary faculty meetings. The meetings will be held pursuant to authority granted the faculty in the by-laws of the University to approve all academic programs. In addition to the Fuqua consideration -- mandated because the first offerings at Duke Kunshan would be from the business school -- there are other steps including review by the Academic Council, the university-wide elected faculty senate. The Chinese have been aware of the necessity for the Duke faculty's approval of any academic program in Kunshan since the start of negotiations.
Curiously Boulding notes that while the Administration has delivered "all" information, faculty committees working on Kunshan "have been working to collect additional information."
The first faculty meeting, on June 1, is to discuss two degree programs that Fuqua Dean Blair Sheppard wants to start.
The degrees are:
----- MMS, Masters in Management Studies, a one year program designed for students who have just completed their undergraduate studies and thus have no work experience. The more arduous and traditional MBA is a two year program designed for people with several years of work experience.
----- EMBA, an executive MBA program designed for rising stars in business who will continue working while completing their degree. In some cases, the employees get time off and have their tuition paid.
✔✔✔✔ The second, and more important, faculty meeting is on June 20th. On this date, the tenured faculty, tenure track faculty and professors of the practice -- about 95 professors of various ranks -- will vote in secret, giving an up or down decision to the proposed degrees. FC expects many faculty will vote the proposals down in order to impose a moratorium on Kunshan and step back and assess the financial risks and the damage a mis-step could cause to Duke's reputation, assessments that are incredibly missing in the Administration's undertaking.
Anything less than a "yes" vote is sure to be seen as a rebuke of the leadership of President Brodhead, Peter the Provost, and Dean Sheppard. The Special Report we are preparing will include information on arm twisting and horse trading.
According to Dean Boulding, the documents surrendered to the faculty went to two committees, one for each of the proposed degrees. It is unclear if the committees, one with four members, one with three, will share the entire texts with other faculty.
A consistently reliable source tells FC the documents include the 24 pages excised from the Duke Kunshan Planning Report given to the Academic Council in early March. This omission alone caused a furor and further ruptured trust in the Administration.
Our source says consultant reports were included in the surrender. As Loyal Readers know, one report, arriving last December, undercut the Administration's projection of the finances of Kunshan. It said Chinese would be unwilling, on average, to pay more than $15,000 tuition for the MMS, while the administration was counting on more than $41,000. This omission of this information from the Planning Report given to the Academic Council three months later made some professors livid.
$15,000 vs $41,000 -- the annual operating deficit could soar. In the latest version -- there have been several versions, each one worse than the previous, causing Peter the Provost to concede some faculty might feel there has been bait and switch -- the Brodhead Administration is forecasting that Duke's share of deficits in the next 6 years will be $37 million. Fact Checker estimates the red ink, plus start up and capital costs, will exceed $100 million in the first decade, and more likely will be $150 million.
There are other consultant reports too, perhaps as many as eight in all, but that is not confirmed.
Our source says he or she believes the 30 page appendix to the Planning Report was surrendered, although this is not confirmed. We have confirmed existence of the appendix. We have no idea what is in it. Yet.
We have no information on whether other documents were surrendered. For example the agreements with the city of Kunshan and Wuhan University, our silent partner in creating Duke Kunshan University. Another example is the documents that the Administration has assembled with respect to the attempt to get the Chinese to guarantee academic freedom; FC has learned that the Administration is only negotiating for on-campus freedom, and that off-campus will not be included, despite the tradition started at Trinity College by John Spencer Bassett. President Brodhead has been wishy washy about such basics as unfiltered internet access, unfiltered e-mail and unrestricted text messages.
Another key document that we have no information about is the application to the Chinese Ministry of Education, on both the provincial and national levels, to operate a university. A source in China -- in a superior position to know who has just started proving a Deputy Fact Checker with a wealth of background -- says the application would include a proposed tuition.
Deputy Fact Checker's are hard at work. We already have compiled far more information than in this interim report and will share it with Loyal Readers as soon as possible.
Continue to visit our blog. All summer. No vacation.