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By Anonymous Mike, pseudonymously.

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Wednesday, October 1, 2008
Confidence in Government

2 1/2 years ago, the City of Phoenix held a series of bond elections. The one that attracted the most attention involved the City building ASU a downtown campus. Strange you say, a city building a campus for a state-supported university, especially when that money could have been used for other unmet needs such as police substations, but the City wanted to get foot traffic downtown and ASU wanted a free campus.

At least we as taxpayers were spared the justification that the campus would help spark economic growth; after all nobody would call moving the School Of Journalism there the engine of downtown growth.

Now the Arizona Republic reports (and good job by the way) that even the enrollment numbers claimed for the downtown campus aren't all what they seem.

ASU claims a downtown enrollment for 2008 of 8,400 students. The key term is "enrollment" because the number counts students who enroll in classes offered by departments which are headquartered in downtown; the student in question may never set foot on the downtown campus and instead attend classes at the other campuses. As the Republic states, this means about of those 8,400 students actually set foot downtown.

Upset? Little angry about the weaselness? Well get over it...

"But why do they think that?" (ASU President Michael) Crow asked. "The institution isn't run based on fourth-graders sitting in a classroom being counted the way that fourth-graders are being counted."

If this was my deal, I would be reaching for the contractual language right now to show President Crow that the deal he made with my fine city clearly states that the enrollment numbers for downtown would involve students actually... you know... being downtown. I would point to the language in our contract (or in this case inter-governmental agreement), that in exchange for giving him a free campus downtown that he was obligated to actually populate said campus with actual students, otherwise that campus would be more an office park than an educational institution.

There is such language right? Our beloved mayor, head of supposedly one of the best run cities in the world didn't just build ASU a $220 million (closer to half-billion after interest) campus for free and not include some basic language to protect its interests?

It did right?

Oh dear

Should I now be worried about the brand-new downtown hotel that the City just dropped several hundred million on?