Monday, March 26, 2007

Taking the Honor out of Honorary:Go Florida!

Right up until the fall of 2000 there were (I am estimating) at least ten or so people on the face of the earth who did not know that Florida is the wackiest state of them all. Then, thanks to Jeb, Katherine, and the eventual judicial coup d'etat the word was "out."

Last week we were at it again although this time it was not a shoot out, harassing Congressional pages, vicious Disney characters, or marauding ex astronauts. It was the no vote of the faculty senate on an honorary degree for Jeb.
Like 99% of the people I know, whether Jeb gets an honorary degree is not something I lose sleep over but only in Florida could you have all at the same time:
1. One person explaining that honorary degrees are for accomplished scholars when politicos are regular recipients.
2. Another person saying Jeb does not deserve one because he did not spend enough of the State's money on UF. (This logic also rules out Mother Teresa.)
3. Calling for the University President's resignation because he was critical of the University Senate's "academic" decision.

Other than than another indication of chaos of Universities, what does this have to do with MoneyLaw? Well, take a closer look at number 2. Number two is the institutional version of how many law professors evaluate virtually everything: Is it good for me? If the answer is "yes" then you are an effective administrator. If the answer is "no" you are, by definition, awful. Put in different terms it is the "my approval" is for sale approach. It is also the "University" as an end, not a means to an end.

If it were my decision, Jeb's name would not have been in the running but not because he has not done anything for me lately. But, if that is the test, why not just sell honorary degrees to the highest bidders. How about 10 per year? You can even buy more than one if you bid enough. Hey, I'll take 7 and pass them out as party favors!!

I better stop now because I feel myself easing into another related matter I have already brought up on classbias. Did you ever notice that faculty members who scoff the most at "law and economics" actually think and behave the most like the rational self-interested people of economic theory?


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