OSU spends $64,000 on Bow Ties

Submitted by Blazefire on September 25th, 2012 at 11:38 AM

No, seriously!

http://www.daytondailynews.com/news/news/state-regional-govt-politics/expenses-of-osu-president-run-into-millions-for-tr/nSGkK/

You can bitch and moan about Dave Brandon and his money grubbing or the expensive cost of things at Michigan, but I don't know anyone who has a problem with MSC's expense account. When a dude is making nearly $9 Mill, I think he can handle his own wardrobe.

Comments

LSAClassOf2000

September 25th, 2012 at 12:11 PM ^

"In a statement, OSU said rigorous standards are used in reviewing Gee’s expenses." - from the article

Indeed. After all, only the finest silk from the Khorat Plateau in Thailand will do.

To be fair, of course, a spokesman for Ohio says this: "Bow tie-related items could include these crimson and gray cookies, bow tie pins and other objects shaped in the tie that's a symbol of Gee"

 

oriental andrew

September 25th, 2012 at 12:14 PM ^

I was going to write something to partially justify the spending based on my experiences as a consultant with fairly heavy travel and frequent contact with high-level execs in my firm, but after reading the article, I echo the guy who said his expenses are "breathtaking."  I know a few old-school guys who would spend money like it's on fire, but they are mostly long gone in this day and age.  Gee is spending more like the president of a bank than the president of a public university. Who does he think he is, John Thain?? 

Section 1

September 25th, 2012 at 12:32 PM ^

Almost completely misleading, with almost no hint of any wrongdoing.

A person in the position of Gee is a round-the-clock fundraiser.  Constantly entertaining donors, meeting donors, recruiting donors, hobnobbing with faculty and faculty recruits, etc., etc.

Somebody casually reading the executive summary of this thread or the Dayton paper's talking points might think, "$64,000 for a man's bow ties?!?"  Which is so misleading as to be misinformation.

The article states:

"The university spends tens of thousands of dollars alone branding Gee around his signature bow ties. Since 2007, Ohio State has spent more than $64,000 on bow ties, bow tie cookies and O-H and bow tie pins for Gee and others to distribute, the newspaper found." 

In other words, it is all about university branding, promotion, entertainment perks etc.

If I were an OSU alum, I'd ask one simple question:  How much fundraising has the University gotten out of the millions spent to support the efforts of Gee?  And I suspect that the answer is a 100%, or a 1000% return on investment.

-1 for blazefire, for a technically untrue and purely misleading OP title.  It is about as truthy as a Daily Show or Colbert Report story.

Next up, a FOIA request for the University and Mary Sue Coleman (because if the U-M isn't spending similarly, on similar things, something is very wrong).  And I really don't believe the numbers that the Dayton paper published on MSC.  There must be a different way of accounting her fundraising expenses.

Section 1

September 25th, 2012 at 12:39 PM ^

And if one reads the whole article, it is a helluva lot more nuanced than "$64k for bow ties."  Right?  Am I right?  Check how this thread started.

And I frankly have a real hard time imagining that the numbers for MSC are an apples-to-apples comparison. 

If somebody wants to make a case that Gee is an underperformer in endowment fundraising, in comparison to Michigan or Northwestern or UNC or Cal Berekely, that's fine.  That is a highly nuanced story.

You don't get there, by snickering about $64k spent on men's bow ties.  That's the Dayton paper trying to sell copies and page-hits.

Section 1

September 25th, 2012 at 1:49 PM ^

When a dude is making nearly $9 Mill, I think he can handle his own wardrobe. 

 

So tell us, how much of the $64,000 of endowment usage was for Gordon Gee's "wardrobe"?  And how much was for bow tie cookies handed out to students, bow tie-branded items for faculty and donors, "O-H" pins for donors, faculty and others, and other bow-tie stuff that has nothing to do with Gordon Gee's "wardrobe"?

"$9 Mill" being his total compensation since 2007, right?  Not exactly what he is "making" (as in some sort of an annual compensation package)... right?

UMgradMSUdad

September 26th, 2012 at 8:57 AM ^

Given the other expenses, $64,000 seems like pocket change anyway, but it does attract people's attention. My problem with the whole $64,000 for bow ties is that it's what most commentators seem to focus on.  In the scheme of things, this is perhaps a favor to Gee; it takes attention away from the real issue: his multi-million dollar expenses that are far above the expenses at similar institutions.

The 64 thousand dollar question: Why isn't Gee paying for the bow tie cookies and paraphanalia himself? This seems more a promotion of Gordon Gee than of OSU.  If he wants to promote himself, he should do it on his own dime.

jonvalk

September 25th, 2012 at 12:42 PM ^

Did you read the whole article? They pretty much said that, by comparison, other B1G schools are doing more fundraising with less expenditure and higher academic standards. They cite Michigan, Northwestern and Minnesota (along with UT-Austin) as doing a better "bang for buck" job (no pun intended). The bottom line for this article is that while Ohio is struggling with making sure they make good fiscal decisions when it comes to public money, OSU has seemingly given Gee blank check authority - and that grates on the public who see past the bow-ties. Nowhere in the article do they say he's a bad fit for the University or not good at what he does. He simply spends too much to accomplish that good.

Section 1

September 25th, 2012 at 12:49 PM ^

If a newspaper reporter and his editors don't know EXACTLY how a story like this plays out, they are stupid or lying.

The intent was for readers to take the bait just as did blazefire.  $64 thousand dollars for bow ties!

It is an attack on Gee.  A personal attack, after months and months of fighting FOIAs, persumably after they wanted to investigate every conceivable angle of Gee's involvement with Tressel.  And this is all that they had to show for that work.

Section 1

September 25th, 2012 at 6:21 PM ^

Consistent, that is, in looking for the real story, told fairly and in an interesting way.

I'm not consistently "Warring" against journalists.  John U. Bacon, Angelique Chengelis, Jon Chait and many others sure wouldn't think so.

Jon06

September 26th, 2012 at 2:15 PM ^

this thread is full of section 1's transparently political bullshit that doesn't get moderated away for whatever reason. jokes that fail to amuse a drunken mod: bolivian. section 1 is shilling for the 1%: eh, that must not really be political. right, BiSB?

the numbers in the article must be wrong because they don't comport with section 1's corporate executive fetishist worldview. it's simply impossible that a university could fundraise without pissing away millions on excessive benefits for people who already get 7 digit salaries on the public dole. that's your line, right?

Jon06

September 26th, 2012 at 2:42 PM ^

identifying a public figure's multi-million dollar slush fund as a "personal attack" on said figure is a page out of a right-wing spin doctor's playbook. especially from a guy with a history of posting obviously political content that you guys have failed to identify as such. (you didn't think lauding william f. buckley while gratuitously denigrating the nytimes and engaging in irrelevant apologetics for the political right was political either.)

justingoblue

September 26th, 2012 at 2:53 PM ^

I didn't think anything of that diary. I didn't moderate it or post within it, and judging by the date and time it was posted I wasn't near a computer while people were making judgments on it.

I can't believe I'm going this far into defending Section 1, since I do believe he's crossed the line more than a few times, but his argument isn't "don't post the guys salary and expenses". His argument is more like "don't grab a headline with a spending figure on bowties when that isn't very descriptive" and "look at MSC or Bill Powers in such a close light and you would find similar numbers". Like I said, I disagree with him here, but his critique was on the journalistic merit of the wording and numbers reported, not the merit of posting a public figure's expense reports.

On the other hand, your last two posts have included "corporate fetishistic worldview", "1%" and "right wing spin doctor".

Jon06

September 26th, 2012 at 3:43 PM ^

the way to determine whether or not something is political is to look for key words. If those words aren't there, it isn't political. I can't believe I didn't see this before.

Assertions that the press is lying--never political. Assertions that the story is a personal attack on Gee--why, Section 1's just defending a fine public servant against an overreaching tabloid. Assertions that we little folk aren't fit to have opinions about the complicated "art and science" of university fundraising--it's just a good thing the big boys are around to figure it out for us. Assertions that the Michigan/Texas numbers must be wrong--after all, facts have been biased for years! Mischaracterizations of the content of the article--I can't believe I thought the article was about something more than Gee's bow tie spending before. Extended apologetics for public officials wasting public money--thanks to Section 1, now I know it's not waste.

Give me a break.

(Incidentally, if you think I think my posts didn't contain political content, that's even worse than your inability to identify Section 1's posts as political. I'm just saying that, if you're going to have a no politics policy, you should enforce it both ways. And if you're not going to, it's fair game for people to call Section 1 out when he starts with the spin. Re: the diary I linked earlier: I brought it to the mods attention more than once via the moderation thread, but BiSB or somebody denied it contained anything political, which is as preposterous as Section 1's oddly triumphant response just now, and then after stalling for a while said it had been long enough that they were just going to leave it.)

justingoblue

September 26th, 2012 at 5:43 PM ^

If all you're going to do is mischaracterize what was said, I have no reason to write out anything else. Either show a direct quote on this thread where there is any type of political posturing greater than the "key words" you posted, or my first post (claiming that you got "far more political" than he did) is absolutely correct.

Jon06

September 26th, 2012 at 6:34 PM ^

Kids these days and their reading comprehension

1. The media is lying:

What a bullshit story.

Almost completely misleading, with almost no hint of any wrongdoing.

2. The story is a personal attack on Gee:

It is an attack on Gee. A personal attack, after months and months of fighting FOIAs, persumably after they wanted to investigate every conceivable angle of Gee's involvement with Tressel.

3. The "art and science" of university fundraising is just too complicated for us to criticize Gee based on what we know:

I am trying to avoid all judgments other than the simple fact that no one seems to have spent $64,000 on bow ties for Gordon Gee. The art and science of university fundraising is about a trillion-dollar issue, and massively complicated.

4. The reported numbers just have to be wrong:

And I really don't believe the numbers that the Dayton paper published on MSC. There must be a different way of accounting her fundraising expenses.

And I frankly have a real hard time imagining that the numbers for MSC are an apples-to-apples comparison.

5. Mischaracterizations of the article:

If somebody wants to make a case that Gee is an underperformer in endowment fundraising, in comparison to Michigan or Northwestern or UNC or Cal Berekely, that's fine. That is a highly nuanced story. You don't get there, by snickering about $64k spent on men's bow ties. That's the Dayton paper trying to sell copies and page-hits.

That one's special, because he starts that post by saying the article is nuanced. Then he decides a different article would be nuanced (never mind that the article actually suggests Gee isn't raising money at a rate commensurate with his slush fund), but this one is just the Dayton paper trying to make money.

justingoblue

September 26th, 2012 at 7:01 PM ^

Although I think your perception of what is and isn't political is way off. The quotes you've used for 1-4 aren't so different than what everyone said about the Freep "Stretchgate" piece in 2009.

Saying that the press might publish a "bullshit story" that's a "personal attack", that a story might be more complicated than reported or numbers might be misleading is not political. It's certainly possible to make those statements about or into a political issue, but that's not what we have here, at all.

jonvalk

September 25th, 2012 at 1:00 PM ^

Are you seriously suggesting that a newspaper headline writer NOT use the hook of the bowties to get a readers attention? There's no ethical problem there - it's called marketing and it's the same damn thing every company that wishes to succeed does. I agree that it is somewhat of an attack article, however, assuming they actually used the info from the FOIA request and didn't fabricate numbers, it's not an unfair thing to make the public aware of how endowment money at their State school is used. If it came out that MSC was doing an equally large amount of spending, I would be just as taken aback.

COB

September 25th, 2012 at 1:59 PM ^

"His Hair, details at 11 only on ACTION News".  

 

I get why the paper did it but it's just intellectually dishonest to further than headline as the substance of the article.  What the details note is that it is not 64k for bowties...it's 64k of marketing materials in some instance relating to bowties.   Relating that spending to other schools, in particular private schools who aren't divulging such expenditures, is a pretty wank/wank meothod of comparison, don't you think?

Section 1

September 26th, 2012 at 11:40 AM ^

If it came out that MSC was doing an equally large amount of spending, I would be just as taken aback. 

And that is another level of the apples-to-oranges comparing goin' on in this story.

Gordon Gee was subjected to a kind of tax-audit level of scrutiny.  FOIAs, personal charge account records requests, months of analysis of things like how much did two nights in a Manhattan hotel cost...

And as to other university presidents, the Dayton reporters seemingly just asked other the respective universities how much their presidents' spending was.

Should we ask for Mary Sue Coleman's personal Amex records?  Should we get the nightly rate for whatever hotel she was in the last time she was in New York City?  Nobody seems to have FOIA'ed Mary Sue.  Would you agree that that would make for a fairer comparison?

Again, I am trying to avoid all judgments other than the simple fact that no one seems to have spent $64,000 on bow ties for Gordon Gee.  The art and science of university fundraising is about a trillion-dollar issue, and massively complicated.  I do get the impression that Gordon Gee has a big ego and that he likes to live large in his professional life of university administration and fundraising.  I also get the impression that this was a newspaper hit-piece.

93Grad

September 25th, 2012 at 2:41 PM ^

from the expenses, but whether the expenses and returs are reasonable based what peer institutions are doing and there is evidence that Gee is spending far more than his peers for a lesser return.  That is entirely fair game and not at all misleading. 

doughboy

September 25th, 2012 at 12:23 PM ^

Unfortunately, this reminds me of the Goss years. Most notable "wasted" expense included the Halo around the stadium.

Anyone know whatever happened to that physical piece of infamous history?

DamnYankee

September 25th, 2012 at 3:08 PM ^

"Vedder said he has attended catered parties thrown by Gee both at Ohio State and Vanderbilt. “He thinks he’s in a special category by himself,” Vedder said of Gee. “In public service, that is kind of grating and I would think it would be grating on the public if they knew about it.”

BlueSpiceIn SEC.hell

September 25th, 2012 at 8:35 PM ^

     during Gee's tenure and Vedder is correct.  They were pretty opulent and lavish.  Keep in mind he is entertaining  an "A" list group of people.  The crazy thing is he was well liked in the community and many were disappointed he was leaving - even in shadow of the WSJ article. He raised a lot of money and the students liked him.  Me? not a big fan -I think I agree with everything Vedder is quoted as saying