June 29, 2011

HIGHER EDUCATION BUBBLE UPDATE: Testing Harvard’s Mettle With A Flood Of Gold:

When the thermostat gambit failed to make up for the $10-billion hit, Harvard waited until the campus emptied out for the summer and then laid off almost 300 clerical and technical workers. The top administrators who lost the money and the full-time faculty members who received the money were unscathed.

That’s because the real priority of elite higher education, as the receding tide of money has exposed, is the greater glory of elite higher education and the administrators and faculty members who work there. That’s where all the money went, and that’s where, now that some of the money turns out to have never existed in the first place, it needs to come from.

And when those cuts happen, as they must, Harvard and its peers should take the chance to assess why they made the choices they made with their huge piles of gold, and how long they can keep making them in the future.

Read the whole thing.