Letter to the editor

[Monday’s] UB Spectrum contains an article by Ashley Inkumsah titled “Philip Glick and Domenic Licata speak out on UB Foundation transparency” (Oct. 24, 2016). It includes the following passage regarding a plan by Staff Senate Chair Licata and Faculty Senate Chair Glick to share UB Foundation secrets with a slightly larger group, including staff, student, and faculty representatives: “’I think I’ve read in other news organizations that there’s still some faculty members that are very unhappy about this,’ Glick said. ‘When you represent 1800 faculty members you just can’t make everyone happy, but this was an effort to try to make the majority of the people happy and to represent them.’”

This is not a matter of making everyone happy, but of Professor Glick remembering the decisions of the body he is trying to chair. On Dec. 3, 2013, the UB Faculty Senate passed a reso­lution calling on the UB President to make the details of the UBF budget public, as if it were subject to the Freedom of Information Law.

President Tripathi refused, but the Faculty Senate's call for full transparency stands. This is true even if Professor Glick now feels that secrecy shared among a slightly larger group—including himself, perhaps? – Is better than full transparency among the entire UB community and the citizens of New York State.

Why is this important? There are many, many reasons. As one might expect, when a self-appointed group of lawyers, CEOs, and building contractors like the UB Foundation oversees a billion dollars worth of other people’s money, serious problems crop up. The UB community can read about them in "The Other Buffalo Bilion: Time for Transparency at the UB Foundation," a report issued by the UB chapter of AAUP, which I co-authored.

But here’s another example, which we did not mention in that report: in fiscal year 2014-2015, students living in UB housing paid $22,132,111 in rent not to UB but to the UB Foundation. Did you know that? Neither did I, until I poked around a good deal. This sort of information should be public, easily accessible, and widely discussed, not squirreled away or available to a slightly larger secret group.


Jim Holstun

Professor of English