Phi Beta Cons

A Revolutionary Higer-Ed Transparency Blueprint

Having recently posted on financial corruption in the Alabama community college system, I now want to alert the public to a promising prototype for financial transparency on our nation’s campuses.
Oregon State University has developed a web-based accounting system that makes all university transactions visible to the public from any campus computer. Here is a brief description, and here is a video demonstration (which takes a while to load) of how the system works.
Thanks to Harvard’s Bob O’Hara of  Collegiate Way for the tip. Dr. O’Hara comments:

It should go without saying that public universities should be financially transparent. Just how much money, for example, did that new ornamental gate for the baseball field cost? And to whom was that money paid? (A political crony, a friend of the coach, or an honest local business?) How much is being spent redecorating the chancellor’s bedroom? Students, parents, faculty, and taxpayers have a right to know these things. Oregon State’s exemplary transparency should serve as a model for every public university in the country.

It has become a cliché to exclaim that “Sunlight is the best disinfectant” for American higher education. But, then, there’s an awful lot of infection on our campuses today.