Campus Free Speech

Audit: Too Many Administrators With No One to Administer at Syracuse U.

Too many cooks in the kitchen.

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Administrator
Dreamstime

Syracuse University is scrambling to offer retirement buyouts after an audit discovered that the university employs hundreds of administrators who only oversee one or two employees.

According to The College Fix:

The report states 211 managers, or 30 percent, have only 1 "direct report," and another 134 managers have just two people reporting to them. Ninety-three managers have three people reporting to them, it adds, noting the private university employs "too many decision makers."

"Syracuse has a higher ratio of staff to faculty, and senior administrative staff to line-level administrative staff, than peer averages," states the report, which advises an organizational redesign to reduce administrative bloat.

The College Fix also noted—with an appreciable hint of sarcasm—that Syracuse was labeled a "Best Value" school by U.S. News & World Report in 2015.

Tuition is scheduled to increase again at Syracuse next year—to $41,974 per student—as is room and board. At least now students know why their education is so expensive: they are quite literally paying for edu-crats to sit around doing nothing.

When these stories arise, I usually point out that a bevy of bored administrators is an existential threat to students' free speech rights. This time, I will simply redirect to the Bias-Free Language Guide, a project born of idle bureaucracy if ever there was one.

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  1. That’s an unsanitary stock photo if I ever saw one.

    1. Apparently we know what she is – we’re just talking about the price now….

      1. Peter Gibbons: The thing is, Bob, it’s not that I’m lazy, it’s that I just don’t care.

        Bob Porter: Don’t… don’t care?

        Peter Gibbons: It’s a problem of motivation, all right? Now if I work my ass off and Initech ships a few extra units, I don’t see another dime, so where’s the motivation? And here’s something else, Bob: I have eight different bosses right now.

        Bob Slydell: I beg your pardon?

        Peter Gibbons: Eight bosses.

        Bob Slydell: Eight?

        Peter Gibbons: Eight, Bob. So that means that when I make a mistake, I have eight different people coming by to tell me about it. That’s my only real motivation is not to be hassled, that and the fear of losing my job. But you know, Bob, that will only make someone work just hard enough not to get fired.

        1. +1 Michael Bolton and Milton’s stapler.

    2. Don’t worry — the money was appropriately laundered beforehand.

  2. Reminds me of my days at UMass Med School. I was a manger, had 1 report, at times 2. My manager had 2 reports. Her manager had 3 reports. His manager had 2 reports, her manager had 5 reports. The last manager was the head of the organization (a business unit of umass med). The all group managers meetings were not much smaller than the all group meetings. Being a state organization, at least 5 managers were in any 1 meeting and they all had to come to a consensus before anything was done. Good Times.

    1. A lot of private organizations aren’t much better.

      1. This is true. They eventually go out of business. I’ve worked for several.

        1. Or the axeman cometh.

        2. Unless they’re government defense contractors.

          1. Right, whenever they have a revenue shortfall they just force their employees to commit billing fraud and add hours to contracts with leftover budget.

          2. Defense contractors are required to blend into their environment.

      2. The ones that aren’t criminal enterprises and that don’t rely on smug condescension as the primary driver of fundraising tend to suffer from it. Many large organizations, especially old crufty corporations, consist of a handful of people who keep the wheels moving, and a whole lot of people whose primary job is to jack each other off all day. When the latter group forgets their place and starts to interfere with the former, everything comes to a grinding halt pretty quickly.

        1. a whole lot of people whose primary job is to jack each other off all day.

          *cough*95% of HR*cough*

          1. It’s too bad, really, because a good HR department can really improve an organization.

            Get rid of shitty employees and help keep the good ones.

          2. *cough*95% of HR*cough*

            I read that as HyR on first glance.

      3. Layers of middle management at the bank I worked at.

        Lotsa dumb people trying to pretend they mattered.

    2. We’ve had some interesting conversations here following our “disaster response” training.

      One of the points made in that training is that its hard to be effective if your “span of control” (the number of people reporting to you directly) is bigger than 8 – 10 people.

      My span of control is four people, with a total department of 15. We’ve got some VPs that have a span of control of over 20, with one having a total department of nearly a thousand.

  3. How long until progressives tell us this is caused by private universities seeking a profit?

    1. If they do, refer them to the UC system which, a couple of years ago, reported a 1-1 admin:faculty ration.

      1. Or refer them to the fact that the private university hired Bain to tell them who to downsize.

        1. THE DOWNSIZING WILL BE VERY PAINFUL

          FOR YOU

        2. But I’m a people person!

      2. Well, keep in mind that administrator =/= manager. At my school, “administrator” is defined as anyone in a certain pay classification, which includes laboratory support staff, IT support, and a whole bunch of other folks who are actually needed. On the other hand, it also includes a bunch of folks that are “needed” solely to comply with state and/or federal mandates.

        1. I agree with your basic point. But, at UC, they were/are simply multiplying offices. Raising tuition does not translate into more or better paid faculty.

          1. Oh yeah, I completely agree.

        2. That’s true. I wonder if all the administrative assistants in the various departments, who are often the people who actually get things done, count as administrators for this.

          1. I’ve actually experienced the opposite at all Universities with which I have been affiated – most of the admins are of little to no value. Unions demanded as many employees as possible – hence high admin/faculty ratios, and it was impossible for us to hire skilled professionals/technicians.

            1. In my experience selling stuff to universities, it’s usually the administrative assistants who actually make things happen.

          2. Robby’s headline notwithstanding, the audit is about managers who have only one direct report (or only a few), not adminstrators.

            1. You’re right. I just went off on a tangent following one of my pet peeves.

              1. And I just didn’t read the article.

        3. A lot of college Administrators are now basically Residential Advisers – something most colleges would pay a Junior or Senior next to nothing to do back in my college days. Now it’s somebody collecting $75k and a defined benefit pension.

          1. Really, that’s a thing? Back in the early 90’s the RA’s got free room and minimal pay to be an RA. Indeed, I’m not sure they were actually paid to be an RA, I think the pay was linked to actually manning the front desk or other specific hourly activities that they did during the quarter.

            1. When I attended a state school a few years ago as a resident student, there were student RAs but I think they got a stipend on top of free room and board. There was usually 1 RA per floor, but larger buildings split each floor up into wings and each of those had an RA. Where it started to get really bad though was that each resident building had a full-time paid coordinator and the Department of Resident Life had a large full-time staff. Beyond assigning students to rooms and babysitting the overgrown children, as far as I could tell they all spent most of their time doing nothing.

              1. was that each resident building had a full-time paid coordinator and the Department of Resident Life had a large full-time staff

                I had a similar experience, except my dorm had 3 or 4 full-time paid “directors”, a handful of paid security guards, and the Residence department was ridiculously overstaffed.

                80% of the job of the “directors” was writing checks for the next dorm activity that nobody would attend.

            2. That’s how it was where I was in the late 90s. The RAs didn’t do much of anything besides orientation and provide free condoms and advise against having kegs of beer in dorm rooms.

            3. That’s a thing. I visited a Penn State freshman dorm last year – there was a giant list of full time Administrators responsible for baby-sitting the residents.

  4. [Administrators] who only oversee one or two employees.

    How many oversee none at all?

  5. Obviously they need to hire more administrators to make sure that everyone is supervising enough people. And some efficiency consultants to come in and tell them where the fat is.

    Reason, on the other hand, seems to have the opposite issue with their web staff- plenty of people and a distinct lack of adult supervision. Everyday must start with a scrum session about how to fuck up the site even more. Today it froze the web browser on my smartphone for about 30 seconds because of all the crap the site loads.

    1. Come on, there’s only so much a lone intern shackled to a desk in Hyderabad can do. It’s not like Reason is Facebook – who can spring for three interns and a weekly box of donuts.

  6. When these stories arise, I usually point out that a bevy of bored administrators is an existential threat to students’ free speech rights. This time, I will simply redirect to the Bias-Free Language Guide, a project born of idle bureaucracy if ever there was one.

    That’s some Grade-A writing there, Robby. Your writing, not theirs.

  7. “Syracuse has a higher ratio of staff to faculty, and senior administrative staff to line-level administrative staff, than peer averages,”

    Nothing that a new Federal education program, to the peers, can’t fix.

  8. Diversity Officers oversee all of us.

    The Department if Bien Pesant is too important to be cut.

    1. Pesant

      Bah. Stupid peasants.

      1. Actually, I’m thinking the Department of Bien Peasants could be a real proposal. Though perhaps you’d have to be slightly more tactful in the phrasing. Maybe call it the Department of Human Welfare?

  9. “This time, I will simply redirect to the Bias-Free Language Guide, a project born of idle bureaucracy if ever there was one.”

    Actually, when bureaucrats are idle, they cause no problems. It’s when they decide to do stuff that we all suffer.

  10. Singling out Syracuse is silly. Every university larger than a fly fart is top-heavy with administrators.

    The money wasted by the average university in a year is the size of Scrooge McDuck’s swimming pool.

    1. I believe this is what’s called “an example”

      1. I know, but it will be blamed on them being private, and not the nature of the beast in toto.

        1. YOU’RE A TOWEL!

          1. Wanna get high?

        2. What they really need is more staff to write up disgusting porn vignettes.

          1. I can’t shoulder this burden alone.

    2. The money wasted by the average university in a year is the size of Scrooge McDuck’s swimming pool.

      This doesn’t clearly convey the size to me. I think “The money wasted by the average university in a year could buy enough gold to fill Scrooge McDuck’s swimming pool” gets the point across better.

      1. You words are hurtful.

  11. “too many decision makers”

    Too many to MAKE a decision. Better kick it upstairs…

  12. Retirement buyouts? WTF?

    Why don’t they do what most of their MBA graduates will do in the real world–downsize and package those people out. Lay them off. Kick their asses to the curb because they have been deemed “redundant”. Become a lean organization!

    1. Live Proud! Be Strong!

      /Billy Blanks

    2. Why not do what every private company in the U.S. does now? Offer them a 401k. When it comes time to chop heads, they get to keep their 401k and a few weeks pay.

  13. In other news, water is wet.

    1. So’s your mom

      I COULDN’T STOP MYSELF. I’M SORRY!

  14. noting the private university employs “too many decision makers.”

    “Too many” is biased language.

  15. I remember reading a couple of years ago about a Limey movie company that was going to make a parody of the NHS. They were going to set their story in a hospital that had no doctors and no patients, only administrators.

    In doing research for their show they discovered that there were, in fact, three such hospitals actually in existence. I googled ‘nhs hospital no doctors or patients’ to try and find the story and instead was horrified at what came up.

    “Doctors and Nurses ordered to stop denying dying patients water”

    “Britain’s banned hospital death panels means doctors are forgetting to give patients water”

    “Getting lost in hospitals costs the NHS and patients”

    “NHS hospital patients may have to show ID to access treatment”

    “Top Doctors chilling claim: the NHS kills off 130,000 elderly patients every year”

    “Mental health patients hit by chronic shortage of NHS hospital beds, says doctors”

    “NHS hospitals pushing young medics to brink of ‘burnout’ ”

    “Many NHS patients complain of ‘lack of dignity'”

    It goes on and on and on. The NHS is a fucking horror show. This is the ossification that bureaucracy brings and it has real life human costs. Where are the sniveling liars who defend Obamacare at every opportunity? Don’t they often hold up the NHS as a shining example of socialism’s glory?

    Everything that Obamacare opponents claimed would result from socializing medicine are happening in the NHS just as they said they would.

    1. That is one hell of a legacy you have there, Barry. I hope you burn in hell, motherfucker.

      1. Wasn’t Michelle a Hospital Administrator?

        1. Now that you mention is…….

          And her hospital was caught taking indigent patients out and leaving them in alleyways, IIRC, on her watch.

          1. And, amazingly, she got a huge raise right after Barry was elected to the Senate and, miraculously, a big grant came through for her hospital.

            1. Even more amazingly, the position was not filled after he won the election and she moved to DC. One would think such a high paying, and thus important, job would need filling.

              1. Jesus. You can’t make this stuff up. Well, maybe Ayn Rand could.

      2. Watch out! Preet Bharara will come after you next!

        1. He can burn in hell too.

          1. Them’s woodchipperin words

    2. I got distracted.

      I was going to assert that this trend will continue with our universities until we have a similar situation. There will be schools with only administration staff, no profs or students. It will probably have to go that far before things change.

      No matter how ridiculous is it you can bet your ass government will do it and do so shamelessly.

      1. I’ve often joked that we could get rid of the students and keep the going as we do for at least 5 years. It’s really not a joke.

    3. It’s like looking into a crystal ball, isn’t it.

    4. I remember reading a couple of years ago about a Limey movie company that was going to make a parody of the NHS. They were going to set their story in a hospital that had no doctors and no patients, only administrators.

      Yes, Minister

      They did have 1 patient — the deputy chief administrator fell over a piece of scaffolding and broke his arm.

      In doing research for their show they discovered that there were, in fact, three such hospitals actually in existence.

      Actually, there were 6, including one in Cambridgeshire where they had one patient — a Matron fell over a piece of scaffolding and broke her leg.

      It’s mentioned in Wikipedia but the original interview is offline.

      1. “…the original interview is offline.”

        Right to be forgotten?

      1. Them teeth, though…

    5. No, no. One of my online acquaintances linked to an article wherein an American doctor had the bestest experience ever with NHS when her son had a problem with his eye while they were visiting London. It’s the Promised Land.

      1. I will never forget the cavorting patients and spinning hospital beds during the opening ceremonies of the London Olympics. I don’t think even America’s hardest progs could have come up with something so grotesque.

        1. At least they haven’t yet.

          1. I don’t think even America’s hardest progs could have come up with something so grotesque.

            “And now, the opening ceremony of the 2016 International Olympic games-brought to you by Planned Parenthood Federation of America!”

        2. I had to look that up. That is some creepy shit.

          These fuckers are stepping up the collectivist game from what they learned from the Soviets.

  16. Syracuse was labeled a “Best Value” school

    That’s like being the tallest midget, or smartest retard.

  17. What’s interesting is, if this school was directly accountable to a profit margin, this would have probably been discovered without an audit.

  18. “Overseers” sounds biased. Also Fuck off, Slavers!

  19. after an audit discovered that the university employs hundreds of administrators who only oversee one or two employees

    this is my shocked face

    /Capt Renault

  20. Robby, bello, listen. Very important question.

    DID YOU ASK ANNA MERLAN TO THE GALA?

    1. “‘Will you go with me to Awards Banquet,’ asks Idiot”

      Correction: This is what a professional correction looks like, in case Reason (drink) ever needs to use it!!!

      /Anna Merlan, Columbia J-“school” “grad”

  21. You people are missing the point.

    It’s *because* there are so many ‘edu-crats’ that keeps the school from falling into barbarity.

    Stop taking your cues from right-wing extremist organizations funded by Koch Inc. and (looks down on index card) Bush.

  22. “Syracuse University is scrambling to offer retirement buyouts after an audit discovered that the university employs hundreds of administrators who only oversee one or two employees.”

    This is where you see the profit in non-profit – the horde of apparatchiks who produce no value but feed on the carcass of the institution.

  23. “Syracuse University is scrambling to offer retirement buyouts after an audit discovered that the university employs hundreds of administrators who only oversee one or two employees.”

    This is where you see the profit in non-profit – the horde of apparatchiks who produce no value but feed on the carcass of the institution.

  24. So this is why they’ve been hitting me up for money even more than usual lately. Yay for my alma mater in the news!

    1. Why I will never donate a penny to either of my Alma Maters.

  25. Only a few years after the consultants tell them that they need more administrators if they want to be more like Harvard,

  26. The ratio of administrators to teachers at a university should be no higher than 1:100.

    -jcr

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