September 18, 2012


Corporate Events, on Campus. Universities have been contacting companies like Sodexo, a subsidiary of the French Sodexo Group, with its headquarters in Gaithersburg, Md., to manage and promote their conference centers. Rush Sherman, vice president for operations for campus services in the Northeast at Sodexo, said the company concluded that campuses were not running at capacity during the summer and saw an opportunity. “There’s a lot of space and also financial need,” he said. The New York Times

Five Looming Curses of Privatization. With the breakdown of the private financial industry, and with the decision by corporations to stop meeting their tax responsibilities, and with the dramatic surge in tax haven abuse, less tax revenue is available to state and local governments. Deprived of funding, governments are forced to consider privatization schemes to balance their budgets. But any such scheme comes with adversity and pain. The futility of diverting public funds into the hands of profitseekers has been well documented. Here are a few of the gathering curses of privatization. Common Dreams

VA: Hampton Road maritime interests decry port privatization. The proposed fast-track outsourcing of Virginia’s publicly owned Hampton Roads’ port operations will hurt maritime businesses and local governments in the region, speakers told a state legislative panel today. “The proposal would clearly be a stake in the breast” of Portsmouth, the city’s mayor, Kenneth I. Wright, told a standing-room-only meeting of the House Appropriations Committee. The city could lose 2 percent of its real estate tax revenue under one of the proposals, he said, adding: “The loss would be nothing short of catastrophic.” Richmond Times Dispatch

IN: Indiana privatization effort may soon have us all playing parking lot lottery – column. Recently the Indianapolis Business Journal carried a front-page story reporting a revolution in university life. “Indiana University is considering leasing its parking assets in Bloomington and Indianapolis.”… The university could use the argument it is not in the parking business and is withdrawing from a commercial activity it has run only by historical accident. The same argument has been used by universities shedding responsibilities for their dorms, eating facilities, book stores and other student services. The idea that the university might transfer its parking monopoly to a private firm bothers few in the Hoosier Holyland where the Indiana Toll Road was leased for 75 years. That deal has gone well for the state, thus far. It nonetheless raises the question, What is the role of the modern university in the lives of its students, faculty and staff?  Evansville Courier & Press

MS: Gautier council considers privatizing utility, public works services. City employees and residents asked the Gautier City Council to reconsider a proposal to privatize the city’s public works and utility services during an emotionally charged public hearing Monday night….There are 34 public works employees and four in utility services, but three of those would stay with the city even if privatization occurs because the council previously passed a measure to protect those with 20 years or more with the city, she said. City employee Al Stanton said he’d “earned the right to be here” after his years of service with the city. “You should do whatever you need to do to save people’s jobs … people who have been here 15 years or more.”  Sun Herald

NE: Don’t privatize UNL’s student health center – opinion….What Franco, Perlman, and the administration didn’t reveal in their address was what students will be losing in the process….Currently the University Health Center offers discounted medications and drugs in their pharmacy along with free, walk-in primary care visits with a certified medical provider. The University Health Center is allowed to do this because it is a university run and student funded entity, something a privatized health center could never offer. The University Health Center also offers free HIV-testing and counseling, of which is funded through a grant and could not be replicated by a private for-profit. But the losses don’t stop there. University students could also be losing the health education and outreach program they’ve come to rely on…,.Not only will students be losing important programs like these, but they will also be losing a physical Health Center on campus.  The Independent