The UNSW funding storm. After Crikey reported on the storm at the University of NSW over the decision to bequeath the naming rights of a school to a private benefactor, UNSW Foundation chief executive Jennifer Bott fired off the following email…

From: Chief Executive UNSW Foundation
Date: Wednesday, October 20, 2010
Subject: Acknowledgement of benefactors

Dear colleague

You may have seen the recent publicity surrounding the very generous gift of $2 million to the College of Fine Arts from the well known philanthropists and arts patrons Dr Gene Sherman and Brian Sherman. Some COFA staff and students have raised concerns that as part of the acknowledgement of that gift, the College’s School of Art History and Art Education is to be renamed the Sherman School of Art History and Art Education.

As you would be aware, the naming of facilities and academic entities such as professorial chairs and research centres for benefactors is a well established practice.  This is the first time we’ve extended the practice to one of our schools, but it’s a long standing tradition in many universities overseas, including  the world’s top institutions, such as Oxford, Cambridge and Harvard.

It has always been made absolutely clear that there is no linkage between donor recognition and the conduct of the University entity involved. Naming does not entail any diminution of the governance, management or academic freedom of the University or any University entity. Nor does naming entail any commercial relationship between the donor and the University.

I was pleased to report to the University Council yesterday that the very active fundraising strategy we’ve pursued over the past five years, under the leadership of Chancellor David Gonski and Vice-Chancellor Fred Hilmer, has seen the University’s fundraising income grow substantially, from $5.6 million in 2006 to $16.6 million in 2009, with the expectation of a further increase this year. This is a tribute to the generosity and goodwill  of our donors and the voluntary efforts of many people, such as the members of the Foundation Board and the Faculty Advisory Boards, as well as of the University Council itself. Deans and other senior members of academic staff also play a significant role.

These contributions support scholarships, research, academic leadership and capital investment. We still have a long way to go though, given current resources, if we are to generate the investment needed to ensure world-class facilities and programs into the future. We will continue to build on our relationships with alumni and the wider community, and continue to look for opportunities to encourage philanthropic giving to support our endeavours.

Yours sincerely

Jennifer Bott
Chief Executive
UNSW Foundation

Something amiss at Admiralty? You may wish to have a look at Admiralty Resources NL, their forthcoming EGM (and explanatory memorandum) and posts on www.hotcopper.com.au. In short, something appears to be amiss with both the proposed purchaser (being a special purpose BVI company) and the guarantor apparently having no substance. Shareholders do not appear to have enough information to make an informed decision and Admiralty appear to be reluctant to provide the required material.

SA Premier Mike Rann is spinning himself an embarrassing web over superannuation payments up to 26% given to his Spin Doctors. Rann’s chief Spin Doctor Jill Bottrall was this week defending the indefensible when she bizarrely said — on behalf of Rann — that superannuation benefits were not considered a monetary benefit. Bottrall was of course defending Rann’s Chief of Staff Nick Alexandrides’ hidden extra payments of up to $80,000, allegedly comprising $45,000 in superannuation payments. And on the question of Bottrall’s extra $25,000 not publicly disclosed…the sound of silence. Labor backbenchers are furious that Rann’s senior Spin Doctors are being paid much more than they are — almost twice as much in Alexandrides’ case. Watch this super space.

Monash leaving South Africa? Council was advised that the financial projection for Monash South Africa produced a break-even date for the campus of 2014; two years later than previously projected, including an increased capital contribution by the University. A range of scenarios were considered and in the discussion matters of concern were aired, including the appalling Staff : Student ratio of 1 : 38; that student fees are already considerably greater than the fees set by South Africa’s foremost university, the University of Witwatersrand and to propose putting them up even further would send quite an alarming signal. The current range of course offerings did not form the profile of a well-rounded university. Finally the elephant in the room was drawn to the attention of all by one councillor who asked for a breakdown of the “cut and run” option. One of the scenarios was proposed, its main aspects being: no further capital investment after the completion of currently agreed building; Non-introduction of Science; Student ratios remain at no more than current levels; and Tuition fees increasing by CPI plus 2% for the years 2011 to 2014. Being asked to consider and support 1 of 4 scenarios when there was no documentation or costing for the 4th scenario, the “cut and run” option, produced a change from the usual unanimous support of recommendations to the tune of 12 in support, 1 against and 1 abstention.

And from the grassy knoll… There are a number of us business men sending large amounts of cash to Iran  ??????? What would batman say to robin

Peter Fray

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