Lifestyles of the rich and academic (cont'd)

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In a post on some recent reporting by Matthew Tresaugue on Priscilla Slade’s expenses at Texas Southern University, we wrote:

It would be most informative for readers if the Chronicle would request similar expense information for Slade’s equivalents at other state universities.

Today, Tresaugue delivers on that request. Here’s an excerpt:

Documents show that Slade traveled the world, furnished her million-dollar home, employed a full-time maid, bought rounds of drinks and learned to play golf at the school’s expense.

She defends much of the spending as legitimate and necessary as chief advocate and fundraiser for the 11,600-student university.

But a Houston Chronicle analysis of 2005 financial records from 26 public university presidents shows that Slade’s spending generally exceeded that of her peers. Her expenditures at TSU, a historically black university, revealed few, if any, examples of the penny-pinching displayed by many of her colleagues.

Out of all the presidents in Austin on the eve of the appropriations hearing in February 2005, only Slade spent more than $200 on her room. Her room service and bar tabs added $76.80 to the Four Seasons bill.

Meanwhile, the University of Texas-Pan American’s president, Blandina Cardenas, stayed at the Red Lion in an $80-a-night room.

“What we have is a sense of entitlement with some presidents and chancellors,” said Patrick Callan, president of the National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education in San Jose, Calif. “There is a belief that they ought to live like the people in the highest income brackets. Part of this is because we expect them to raise money. But we’re forgetting this is a public service.”

The story is worth reading in its entirety.

(hat tip to Laurence Simon for the heads up on the reporting)

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Kevin Whited is co-founder and publisher of blogHOUSTON. Follow him on twitter: @PubliusTX