Sunday, March 1, 2009

Brodhead to speak - but on what??

As happens every February, Trustees approved increases in the cost of attending Duke -- 3.9 percent higher for undergraduates next year. That's in line with inflation and it breaks a pattern of hikes in excess of a cost of living adjustment. Interestingly, the announcement was vague on financial aid, not at all like last year's boast and commitment with very specific numbers and percentages.

For those who read tea leaves, the job of announcing tuition hikes has fallen to the Provost. Just like Executive Vice President Trask has been sent out twice with news of the falling endowment.

That's the pattern -- Steel and Brodhead nowhere in sight when the news is considered bad. There's no shortage of praise for Brodhead though: congratulations to the PR staff for working the word "success" into mention of the Financial Aid Initiative in conjunction with the tuition hike.

Brodhead will be in New York on Thursday for a routine appearance at an alumni club. Don''t count on a briefing on the financial crisis, nor anything
substantial, nor a chance to ask real questions.

(Monday morning Update: Brodhead is ill. He even missed some of the Trustee meetings this weekend. There is no word on the nature of this, nor if he will be able to travel to NY)

Brodhead typically bars follow up questions when he does take them at all.

So what will Brodhead speak about? Depends on what you read.

Version A -- e-mail from Alumni House says Brodhead will lead Judy Woodruff '68, Hon '98, the TV presenter, and John Harwood '78, New York Times political writer, in a discussion of "the influence new forms of media have had on
politics and younger voters." Don't ask us what we think of this lame idea.

Version B -- The Duke Club of New York winter-spring newsletter says Brodhead will present "The Duke Idea: Education, Discovery and Service in the 21st Century." This sounds like a regurgitation of the slick dog and pony show that Brodhead, his PR staff and their consultants toured with two years ago, trying
to remake his image in the aftermath of his dismal handling of the lacrosse hoax.

Whatever the topic, the alumni meeting is at an odd hour: 6:30 PM with no dinner. Dessert will be served afterward, however.

No comments:

Post a Comment