Edison State College has a PR problem. And, as it turns out, it’s their PR department.
From South West Florida’s News Press:
They’ve hired DJs, photographers, valets and a party planner who is the president’s sister-in-law. They’ve spent college money to make donations to charities and feed campus.
As the 25,000-student public institution wiggles its way through a budget crunch, Edison’s senior leadership has spent $670,298 in discretionary public relations funds during the past three years.
It gets worse:
On one day, Nov. 7, Edison spent $29,823 on a three-hour dedication ceremony for its new nursing building.
Guests were met by valets and whisked into a room draped with fabric and decorated with exotic arrangements of orchids and bromeliads and expensive pottery.
A chef supplied pastries and a string quartet played in the background.
No expense was spared, right down to a trio of custom-engraved armchairs commemorating the occasion.
Even if there was no breach in legalities (apparently the funds came from auxiliary funds, not tuition), Edison State’s PR team clearly has a problem on their hands.
Parents and students paying tuition are unhappy (to put it mildly), top brass are looking like they put their own marginal happiness above that of the colleges, and the PR department is looking like the shady night club owner charged with laundering the cash.
All in all, not a good week for Edison State. The question is, if you were the college, how would you respond?