North Dakota’s New Higher Education Chancellor Got Himself A Porsche
William Goetz, the outgoing chancellor of the North Dakota University System, is leaving his office in disgrace having presided over one of the worst scandals in state history (the diploma mill fraud at Dickinson State University) and being guilty of actively working to put off auditors and legislators attempting to look into the matter.
In June Goetz was replaced by Hamid Shirvani, a product of the California university system. Upon accepting his job (after a not-so-thorough background check) Mr. Shirvani got a big, fat $120,000/year raise.
What’s he spending that windfall on? A Porsche, for one thing. A reader at the state capitol sends along the pictures below taken in the state employee parking lot. As you can see from the temporary registration tag, it’s definitely his car.
The value? Kelly Blue Book says over $67,000 (I guessed the mileage at 50,000).
Normally I’m not one to gripe about how people spend their money. It’s a free country, after all. But the optics here are just atrocious. The state’s university system bureaucrats gripe about being chronically underfunded. Going into the next legislative session,Chancellor Shirvani is asking for a doubling of his NDUS staff, from 26 to 56, and the university system as a whole wants a 16% increase in general fund spending plus another $146 million for campus improvements.
If those funding demands are met it would continue a trend where university system spending has grown at more than 4x the rate of enrollment growth (see this chart).
Tuition has increased dramatically for college students both nationally and here in North Dakota. Student fees, too, have gone up and student loans have become a national crisis, being second only to mortgages in terms of national household debt. But these problems aren’t due to a lack of funding for the ND university system. Not when spending is growing so much faster than enrollment.
Maybe the problem is that the university bureaucrats are flying around in private airplanes, living in expensive mansions while raking in enormous six-figure salaries that allow them fabulous perks like driving around in a Porsche.
Pay for the presidents in the university system has skyrocketed over the last decade, and they all just got raises again earlier this month.
The average pay for full professors at the state’s largest university is over $100,000/year and has increased dramatically over the last decade.
Chancellor Shirvani’s Porsche may we be a shining symbol for everything that’s wrong with higher education in North Dakota.
Maybe the problem with higher education isn’t funding. Maybe the problem with higher education is the people and policies managing it.