November 10, 2010
Our beloved Mother Ship, the Association of American Law Schools, has announced that Elwood Gordon Gee, the President of Ohio State University, will be a featured speaker at the group's annual barn raising and bean feed, which will take place this year in San Francisco. Gee, who holds the U.S. record for most university presidencies (West Virginia, Colorado, Ohio State, Brown, Vanderbilt, and Ohio State again) is said to be the highest-paid public university president in the country, at over $800,000 a year. (Left, Gee with OSU's homecoming queen and king.)
He might have some interesting things to say, since he's been battling to cut costs at OSU, where he's been working to evade costly government regulations and bring more commercial practices to the school. In a recent piece in the OSU student newspaper, Gee says he found that OSU deals annually with about 35,000 vendors, or about 34,000 more than Ford Motor Co. (more vendors mean much more paperwork and administrative time), and argues that burdensome construction regulations drive up costs unnecessarily.
Those processes are not the only forces hindering OSU's productivity. Government regulations on construction are another hurdle the university must jump.
OSU received permission for ProjectONE, the $1 billion renovation and expansion of the OSU Medical Center, to be exempt from those regulations, Gee said.
"Because of this, we stand to save at the very least 15 percent in total expenditures and will be able to complete the project much more quickly," he said.
Gee said ProjectONE demonstrates the savings and improved productivity afforded to institutions that are free from external control.
People in the private sector make those claims all the time. It's interesting to see these points raised by a man who's been running nonprofit institutions since I was in law school.
P.S. One alternative Columbus paper says it has a list of vendors the university wants to cut off, and one of the is the Order of the Coif.
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