San Jose State University’s spending on technology over the past year has made the campus ground zero for heated discussions about how university leaders should try to innovate—and the role faculty members should play in those decisions. And it hasn’t been pretty: Just five months ago Mohammad H. Qayoumi, the president, had to apologize for bypassing “longstanding SJSU consultation practices” in his attempt to move quickly toward his goal of “engaging SJSU with Silicon Valley.”
That was in May. Now the San Jose Mercury News has published an article that lends more context to how Mr. Qayomi’s administration lost the faith of the rank and file.
According to the article, Mr. Qayoumi struck a sweetheart deal worth $28-million with Cisco Systems, the locally based technology giant, to overhaul the campus’s communications infrastructure. San Jose State did not take other bids for the contract, which draws on the university’s operating budget (among other sources) to fund tech upgrades that critics say are either unnecessary or available at much lower prices from other providers.