In a recent piece for the Weekly Standard, Mark Hemingway wrote about his alma mater, the University of Oregon, with an eye to student government and waste.

Schools for Scandal

For anyone who follows national politics, there is no shortage of scandals and harrowing economic figures to buttress the opinion that our leadership is corrupt and incompetent. My own pessimism about government, however, is born of experience. I was foolish once and young; I even believed in The System. That was before I spent time in student government, a corner of campus life that is directly responsible for accelerating the degradation of our broader political culture. If, as P. J. O’Rourke once quipped, giving money and power to government is like giving whiskey and car keys to teenage boys, then giving actual money and power to teenage boys (and girls) is as predictably disastrous as you would imagine.

Before I explain what happened during this spring’s campaign for student government at the University of Oregon, my alma mater, know that there are good reasons why you should care. The student government president who emerged from the tragicomic thunderdome I’m about to describe now presides over a $15 million budget that runs 413 pages, with almost zero professional oversight or legal accountability. That’s more than many municipal budgets in the United States. The UO is located in Eugene, which has a population of 157,000. The annual budget for the city’s Department of Public Works is around $6 million, and for fire and EMS services $25 million. If such financial stakes seem absurdly high for a student government, they’re not atypical for a major public university—and the cost of student government, like the cost of everything else in higher education, is exploding.

As a former journalism major who cut his teeth reporting on the UO student government—the Associated Students of the University of Oregon (ASUO)—before briefly being elected to a position with it, I am qualified, if not exactly eager, to revisit this topic. Like most other forms of government malfeasance, corruption in student government is perpetuated by the fact it is largely opaque even to those who are victimized by it.

Read it all at the link below.

Read the original article:
Schools for Scandal (The Weekly Standard)