The well endowed university Presidents

Tyler Cowen

Here is three and a half minutes of their testimony before Congress.  Worth a watch, if you haven’t already.  I have viewed some other segments as well, none of them impressive.  I can’t bring myself to sit through the whole thing.

I don’t doubt that I would find their actual views on world affairs highly objectionable, but that is not why I am here today.  Here are a few other points:

1. Their entire testimony is ruled by their lawyers, by their fear that their universities might be sued, and their need to placate internal interest groups.  That is a major problem, in addition to their unwillingness to condemn various forms of rhetoric for violating their codes of conduct.  As Katherine Boyle stated: “This is Rule by HR Department and it gets dark very fast.”

How do you think that affects the quality of their otherdecisions?  The perceptions and incentives of their subordinates?

2. They are all in a defensive crouch. None of them are good on TV. None of them are good in front of Congress. They have ended up disgracing their universities, in front of massive audiences (the largest they ever will have?), simply for the end goal of maintaining a kind of (illusory?) maximum defensibility for their positions within their universities. At that they are too skilled.