The Board of Regents

With the recent brouhaha over the proposed merger for KSU and SPSU, there have been some very active conversations (here and here) in the comment sections. Some making good points, others not so much. Though when it comes to the actual merger, I don’t really care one way or the other.

However, as part of the conversation on the topic, there have also been some interesting (and often wrong or misleading) things flung around about the Board of Regents. You know, a popular whipping boy as of late. Especially after the Georgia Regents University thing.

So let’s go ahead clear a few things up, and talk about the Regents.

First things first here’s the org chart. See those 19 people at the top? They don’t get paid. They get a per diem and travel allowance for meetings but that’s it. That per diem is also capped at $105. Here’s the numbers for FY 2012: Total Regents’ Per Diem: $30,870; Total Regents’ Travel: $15,911.16. A drop in the bucket really.

You’ll notice that’s a far cry from the $28 million figure mentioned in the comments. Now let’s go to the FY2014 budget and see where that $28 million number could have come from. Remember that Org chart? Yeah some of those people do actually get paid, and the $28 million is everyone else that works for the Board of Regents, the office managers, the IT people, etc. If you have roughly 500 folks on the payroll, it’s going to add up quick with an average salary of $56k. Though keep in mind the salaries actually range from $16k-$475k.

Another fun question is what the Regents actually do. The actual Regents (the 19 unpaid people) set policy for the University System of Georgia. The Regents’ office (the 500ish paid people) then implements the policy which includes: work student issues, set tuition and fees, approve real estate and building plans, projects, etc, reviews and approve all academic programs, personnel action for presidents, chancellor, review appeals (personnel action, some student actions, etc.,), approve legal agreements, approve all budgets, prepare financials, run most of the System’s IT systems, conducts audits, provide legal guidance, provide guidance on HR issues, provides employees benefits, and works with K-12. Etc. Etc.

Now that we have a few things straightened out about the Board of Regents and the Regents themselves, feel free to continue discussing the KSU-SPSU merger .

On a side note, I have to say my favorite comment of the discussion so far was “This is a f’n crime. Southern Poly alums are not happy. I will now be voting against the Bond to Redevelop the Franklin Road area also. Announcing this just after Early Voting ended was staged and shady.”

The logic of how these two issues relate to each other continues to be just out of my understanding.

23 comments

  1. Jon Lester says:

    OK, that’s interesting, but it hasn’t earned the Regents any new respect from me.

    Suzanne Yoculan’s relationship with one of them is why the rodeo isn’t in the Coliseum anymore, as was confirmed to me by a very high-level insider.

  2. The comment you mention is mine, and I can lay out the logic for you, Eric.

    – The Franklin-Gateway Redevelopment is .8mi from the entrance of Southern Poly.
    – Many Early Voters supported this referendum because of the direct benefits to Southern Poly. There was actually a nice push from the alumni to support this.
    – The announcement about the merger came five hours before the close of Early Voting.
    – I support the domino effect that razing and rebuilding Franklin Road would bring to Cobb County, but the area development should include retail/restaurants/housing that bolsters a technology-based university…not gets rid of it.
    – You’ll see on this map where Franklin Road is in the middle of the GreenTech Corridor:http://www.mariettaga.gov/ggtc/pdf/Map_8x11.pdf
    – I can see the benefits of having the 3rd largest school in Georgia situated on Southern Poly’s land.
    – What I don’t understand is why we (SPSU) have to be folded into KSU’s brand. Our name has been changed four times already, but we’ve always had Technology or Polytechnic in our name.

    The announcement, planning, and execution has been handled very poorly…hence the uproar.

    http://www.insidehighered.com/news/2013/11/06/secret-merger-now-public-meets-opposition-georgia

    • MattMD says:

      So wouldn’t you be for the bond measure? I don’t see how having slums 8/10 mi. from your school does anything to help it.

      Personally, I think anybody living in the county should be ashamed of Franklin Rd.

    • Eric The Younger says:

      I can see why you are upset as an alum, however I am still completely befuddled about how anger at a state level bureaucratic decision is best taken out on a city level bond referendum.

  3. chrisknowles says:

    Not sure who wrote the following trash …

    College Merger Controversial? Southern Polytechnic State University (whose name is seriously missing some letters) is going to merge with Kennesaw State University to save some money for Georgia’s University System. Good, right? NO! “We’re going to lose our brand name,” SPSU graduate student Elizabeth Fokes said during an open forum Monday with both school presidents.”

    Your brand name? Unless they flunked out of Georgia Tech, nobody’s ever even heard of SPSU.

    “I promise if SPSU stays I will donate to the alumni association, (but if the merger happens) you won’t see a dime.” Oh look, a college kid who promises to pay later! Isn’t that just adorable?

    … but it is completely inexcusable! As I posted on your FB page, Southern Tech grads (and non-grads) have been exceptionally successful in the various realms of technology for which they were educated.

    The above was completely CLASSLESS and TASTELESS and not worthy of those who typically post on this site.

    As far as I am concerned, you owe SPSU a written, public apology regardless of the status of the merger or your personal opinion.

  4. Charlie says:

    The following was posted on Peach Pundit’s Facebook page by a gentleman by the name of Chris Knowles:

    “Normally, I am all about your point of view. However, the completely classless and tasteless slam on Southern Tech / Southern Polytechnic State University was unnecessary. Many serious students who couldn’t afford GA Tech (and couldn’t afford to borrow money) got great educations – and for the record, many of us earn the same or more than our GA Tech counterparts.

    You owe everyone an apology.”

    If Mr. Knowles could send me the address for “everyone”, I’ll start labeling envelopes.

    I’ll start with him, and note that I’m sorry that of all of our posts, this is the one that he found a completely classless and tasteless slam. There are many, many others that I thought had fit that category much better, but I apparently failed to properly convey that in these other posts that he apparently is all about. I shall try harder in the future.

    Who’s next?

    • Ed says:

      “I’ll start with him, and note that I’m sorry that of all of our posts, this is the one that he found a completely classless and tasteless slam.”

      Like, has he read anything I’ve posted?

    • chrisknowles says:

      Really Charlie, had you bothered to read before you posted, you would have noticed that I had already posted to the blog as well. Clearly, you were too intent on stretching your pseudo-intellectual, sardonic wit to its absolute limit (which doesn’t appear to have much of a reach).

      In an uncreatively clever manner, you attempt to use the above blog post to obscure the real comment about which I am exceptionally displeased. Let me help you:

      College Merger Controversial? Southern Polytechnic State University (whose name is seriously missing some letters) is going to merge with Kennesaw State University to save some money for Georgia’s University System. Good, right? NO! “We’re going to lose our brand name,” SPSU graduate student Elizabeth Fokes said during an open forum Monday with both school presidents.”

      INSERTED BY PEACH PUNDIT: Your brand name? Unless they flunked out of Georgia Tech, nobody’s ever even heard of SPSU.

      “I promise if SPSU stays I will donate to the alumni association, (but if the merger happens) you won’t see a dime.” Oh look, a college kid who promises to pay later! Isn’t that just adorable?

      As a former Southern Tech student, I found your comment completely insensitive and ignorant of the value that SPSU has brought to many, many students and the community-at-large. Do you really know anything about Southern Tech / SPSU? Did you go to school there? Clearly not, as I saw many Tech washouts come through and keep right on washing out while I was there. On the other hand, there were MANY sincere students working their butts off and doing their very best to achieve and succeed. Not really the mentality you would expect from a bunch of Tech flunkies.

      The truth is that KSU will be much stronger in Technology offerings with the addition of SPSU than the other way around so it isn’t that I am adverse to the prospect. (although I am somewhat saddened) However, the derogatory email comment had no place in the discussion and could have been left out with no detrimental impact to your point.

      Now to address your last bit of pomposity in the previous post … being called out on your ignorance, you resort to arrogance. No wonder you took this off of your Facebook page; heaven forbid your ignorance be left up there like a shining beacon of stupidity for all the world to see.

      I’d love to continue bashing you but I am going to get back to my well-paid technology position I obtained with my puny little Southern Tech education. Besides, I think I have made my point. You should stick to local politics Charlie, it suits you – I don’t think you could swim with the big fishies.

      And as for your apology … well, you know where that can go.

      • Charlie says:

        Oh, MY comment?

        Scroll down to the bottom of the newsletter you’re quoting from. I’ll wait.

        In the mean time, I have A LOT of other apologies to get to before I can check “everyone” off the list.

        • chrisknowles says:

          Bridget, you mistake my offense for having issues with the merger … I don’t. Once the state decides … well, it is pretty much done – even Charlie is smart enough to know that. The statement (since the owner of the comment in the email teaser isn’t quite clear) and Charlie’s further poking of me … is with what I took issue and all I was addressing.

          You should be more offended at the reference than anything the merger is going to do to the school. That is the type of attitude displayed by many in this state because the school was never really given the resources to compete with other schools regionally or sufficiently paint the image that accurately represented the quality education people received there.

          Pettifogger made the most sense of the issue and perfectly highlighted the bias issue Southern Tech / SPSU has suffered for years. At least now, they may actually have a shot at the resources necessary to be taken much more seriously – even if it is under the KSU umbrella.

          • It’s Hassinger, Chris – not Charlie.

            I <3 Hassinger, but "classless and tasteless slams" are sort of his thing. I've met/emailed both of them at least once, maybe twice – so I feel I have a good understanding of PP. Hassinger writes the summaries with snark for both reaction and entertainment. Getting remotely offended by anything he writes only chums the water.

            Onward and upward – my interest is to not be rebranded as KSU.

            • benevolus says:

              I like it! If Hassinger is chum, that makes Charlie as Quint, and maybe.. Stefan?… As Sherrif Brody, and Buzz or Ed as Matt Hooper? And Fearless Leader always lurking beneath the surface as Bruce.

  5. pettifogger says:

    I admittedly don’t understand the angst around this move. The mentioned Franklin project makes some sense, though I question whether there was a lot of planning that went into that conspiracy or coincidence. I just can’t see SPSU folks really having an overwhelming impact on it.

    Moreover, I’m just confused by the outrage. Initial reports quoted an SPSU guy saying that they’re “nerds” and it would dilute the nerdy character of the school. I guess I understand, though it seems a little odd to warrant outrage. Now it seems those upset are concerned that the SPSU brand will be tarnished, which I’m suspicious of, but as someone out of the industry, can’t make too definite of a statement on.

    I knew a couple of guys to go to SPSU, and I remember hearing that it was a decent alternative to those not going to Tech or large state schools with well known engineering programs (UF, UT, Auburn, etc.). However, my impression was always that the reach didn’t exceed far beyond Georgia. The few out of staters I’ve polled since this story arose aren’t familiar with it (admittedly only one is an engineer). So what is it? I wouldn’t be exhilarated to have a KSU degree, though I don’t know that it would be a big downgrade from SPSU. To me, both schools could use a branding overhaul to give them more reach beyond Georgia, as I’m not sure reputation is keeping up with growth.

  6. efokes says:

    I just want to make a comment regarding some errant information and a misjudgment made by Chris Knowles. I could go into the financials, but I am currently finishing up the first rough draft of my *master’s thesis*, and am preparing to leave to go out of state to look at a PhD program… I am 46 years old. I am NOT a child who has not paid taxes!!!!!! I have been a homeowner, have been married, and I was a legal secretary/paralegal/legal assistant and notary public before returning to school for a Master’s Degree in Information Technology! So, please before you assume that all people who speak on behalf of Southern Polytechnic State University are ignorant children, please get your facts straight. Thanks!

  7. John Konop says:

    First, Southern Poly Tech is a very good school and serves the state and community well. Second many students have started out at SP and ended up graduating at GT, obviously they were prepared. Third, the idea is driven by wanting to lower overhead via cross utilization. Four I can understand how engernering students which is very difficult would sensitive to the change. Five, obviously the KSU has not hurt the reputation of the nursing school, which very well respected. Six, I do not think with the addition of football it could further attrack students to KSU. Seven the combined population will be over 30k with room to grow and size is a major advantage…….Finally, I can see positive and negative, but I do think long term this could be a major win for economic development for metro Atlanta. KSU could be a major feeing ground and fuel many business opportunities via the size and power.

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