Massive government waste at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU)

I started off the new semester of Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU) by marveling at the outright government waste that makes up their spending decisions.

The university, in its infinite wisdom, decided to replace a large number of desks that were used for student seating. Now, while a modest number of seats were broken and in need of replacement, what did the university decide to replace the traditional style of desks with?

An alternative that costs over twice the price.

How do I know this? Because, I, as an enterprising young hate-blogger, know that state agencies are required to purchase their supplies, especially their furniture, through the Virginia Department of Corrections’ Correctional Enterprises.

Now, if you go to the website for the VADCOC’s Correctional Enterprises, you can look through their inventory and see how much stuff costs. What does a traditional desk cost? $140 at the cheapest.

Meanwhile, the university decided that instead of choosing that frugal option, it would instead purchase “general purpose office table[s]” and put two chairs under them.

How much does the table, which seats two, cost? $200.

How much do the chairs cost? $210 a piece.

Now, we need a table and two chairs for two students, which would cost $620, or $310 for seating space for one student, or over twice the price for a single desk.

And how much does it cost if you multiple the cost difference out over multiple rooms, floors, and buildings? For the sake of simplicity, assume ten rooms seating 30 students a piece over four floors. It would be $168,000 for the regular old desks while the table/chairs setup would be $372,000, or a waste of $204,000 to seat only 1,200 students.

And the university is wasting this level of money after they raised tuition 24% in the last academic year and the state has already threaten to reduce its share of the university’s funding?

And it isn’t just the cost, the table/chairs setup just doesn’t work in a majority of the rooms. The chairs don’t fit under the tables correctly, and since the seats closest (to the often times single) aisle are the first to go it, you end up with an inch or two of space for someone to squeeze through to get to the other seats.

All around, it’s a Charlie-Foxtrot and a massive waste of limited money the college has.

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

A couple of people at Virginia Commonwealth University need to be fired.

Ah, the joys of incompetence at VCU.

Let’s say that someone, say a handsome young blogger, submits his Free Application for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA) on February 9, 2010.

How long does it take for this application to be processed by his public university? Over six months. And then only after two e-mails and a phone call.

He finally gets the financial aid request processed and is awarded a respectful amount of money for his schooling. However, a large portion of the financial aid awards are now not being credited to his outstanding account balance.

Then, on August 24th, he purchases a parking pass at the expense of $170 for VCU’s parking garage on W. Broad Street. On August 26th, the first day of classes, he drops by the Monroe Park Parking Office to pick up the permit.

What is he told? That they won’t have the parking permit available until 3:00 p.m.

Uh, what now? This is the parking office, where do you usually keep the parking permits? Are they kept in a secret depository at Mount Weather or something?

This university needs a massive purging of its incompetent employees.

Virginia Commonwealth University’s poor stature is its own doing.

I had an exam in a class on Monday at Virginia Commonwealth University (VCU). During the next class, today, the professor for the class, Dr. Michelle Peace, said that she had seen several instances of suspicious behavior during the class and she had to issue several warnings to the students. She went on to say that she had worked to improve the stature of VCU in the eyes of the academic and professional community and she didn’t want students undoing her work.

She went on to say that the university had also worked for many years to improve its image. And while I agree wholeheartedly with her opinion on this matter, and frankly, if they’re cheating, give them a zero and report to them to the Honor Council, this university has done nothing to improve its image.

When you award someone a degree when he has failed to meet 10 of the 28 requirements for receiving the degree, you’re not improving your stature.

When you refused to rescind the degree awarded, you’re not improving your stature.

And, as most people probably know, I am referring to former City of Richmond Police Chief Rodney Monroe.

But it doesn’t just stop with him unfortunately. I was talking to a couple of people (who shall remain nameless) about a receiving a degree with a double major in Criminal Justice (the primary major) and Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness (the secondary major). According to the bulletin for receiving a double major according to VCU’s website:

A double major is the concurrent fulfillment of the requirements of two majors. To earn a degree with two majors, the student must complete the courses required in each major, any collateral/prerequisite courses required for both majors and the general education requirements of the primary major.

According to the bulletin posted for a B.A. in Homeland Security and Emergency Preparedness:

Collateral requirements

In addition to the homeland security and emergency preparedness courses required for the Bachelor of Arts degree, students must complete the study of a foreign language through the intermediate level (202 or 205) through courses or placement.

While I was talking to these students, they asked why would someone go for a minor in Homeland Security & Emergency Preparedness when you could just go for a double major and take a couple more classes.

I brought up the fact that you had to go take two additional language classes on top of what is required for a B.S. in Criminal Justice, which only requires a foreign language through a 102 level (two classes).

Care to guess what they said? “Oh, I got that waived.”

They got it waived. By whose authority? The degree requirements are pretty clear. You have to complete a foreign language through 202.

I e-mailed the President of the College, the Provost, as well as the Director of the Wilder School on April 16th and asked where there is authority to waive a clearly stated degree requirement (without mentioning any student’s name).

And I am still waiting on a response.

But, hey, at least it’s not only the big shots that get out of doing mandatory degree requirements.

Cross-posted at Virginia Virtucon.

Two universities encouraging Facebook spam.

From my VCU e-mail:

1. Facebook Face-off: VCU vs. GMU
Virginia Commonwealth University and George Mason University – Virginia’s largest universities and CAA rivals – are going head-to-head to see who can bring in the most Facebook fans. The competition tipped off at noon on Jan. 19 and runs until noon on Feb. 9. The school with the most new fans when the buzzer sounds will be announced at half-time during the VCU and GMU men’s basketball face-off that night. Show your spirit and help VCU win the Facebook challenge. Go to

It’s bad enough the crap I get on Facebook everyday, but here are two dumbass universities encouraging their students to send out as many fan requests as possible.

Maybe the university should send out a link to the video that WTTG (Fox 5 in Washington, D.C.) had during their 10:00 p.m. news about how you shouldn’t act like an obnoxious brat on Facebook.

Ouch, and I thought VCU was bad.

How much does it cost to get a parking permit at D.C. area colleges? A lot according to The Washington Post:

Parking might be more available on campuses in some parts of the country, but in an urban setting such as Washington it comes at a high price. The AAA survey of area colleges found that the annual student parking fee at Howard University was $240. A permit for the general parking lot at George Mason University cost $225. At American University, it cost an estimated $964 to park on a Nebraska Avenue lot. In College Park, the University of Maryland charges $412 for those who live on campus and $213 for those who commute daily to school.

George Washington University students pay $550 a semester for a parking decal, and students who commute to Georgetown University pay $656 a semester to park at satellite lots in Rosslyn.

At VCU you get to pay $126 for a parking slot at their lot in the 400 block of W. Grace Street and then you get to walk half a mile to any classroom (which wouldn’t be that bad if it wasn’t for the heat and humidity).

Hack “journalism” from the Capital News Service at VCU.

From WTVR:

[flv: 320 240]

And the full YouTube video:

Here’s Dave Albo’s response on the WaPo’s Virginia Politics blog:

Amy: Did it occur to anyone to inquire what was going on at the time? Had the VCU reporter told the full story, she would have mentioned that at that time no votes were being taken, and I actually recall we were in a recess “break” awaiting Senate action. We get on line all the time to respond mostly to constituent inquiries. I get 100’s a day and its tough to keep up. At the time of this report, I was looking at house values in Mason Neck b/c I had a constituent write, all upset about his County Real Estate Tax. But the “reporter” did not give any subject of the report an opportunity to respond. Just a slam piece taken out of context.

And, unfortunately, the video WTVR is from their 5:00 broadcast and not the 11:00 broadcast. When they ran the story at 11:00, there was a comment at the end of the segment from the newscaster that went something like, “When the VCU student tried to contact the Delegates before posting the video, none of the Delegates said that the photos were taken during a recess of the House.”

Um…excuse me, you have to be told that there’s a recess going on when you’re in the House gallery and can see and hear everything going on on the House floor?

School Pride, part 2: VCU Police Chief had a degree from a diploma mill.

Jesus Christ, can I apply for this guy’s job? At least all my education is from accredited organizations. Although if VCU keeps this up it won’t be:

Willie B. Fuller became Virginia Commonwealth University’s police chief with a bachelor’s degree of questionable quality.

For VCU, which has endured nearly a year of negative publicity for improperly awarding a degree to Richmond’s former police chief, Fuller’s arrest Wednesday on charges of using a computer to solicit sex from an underage girl is a setback in efforts to repair its reputation.


Fuller holds a bachelor’s degree in police science from St. John’s University in Springfield, La., according to St. John’s director of permanent records. St. John’s in Louisiana is not affiliated with the prestigious Catholic university with the same name in New York, or with St. John’s College, which has campuses in Annapolis, Md., and Santa Fe, N.M.

Robert D. Holsworth, former dean of the College of Humanities and Sciences at VCU, said yesterday that he discovered St. John’s University was not an officially accredited institution while researching the case of a VCU employee who did not have a legitimate undergraduate degree.


“In this instance, I personally made the unhappy discovery that the degree not only came from an unaccredited institution, but that the Web site of the institution was now a conduit to pornographic sites,” he wrote June 26 to Richard O. Bunce, VCU’s director of assurance services.

Holsworth made the discovery around 2006, the year VCU awarded an undergraduate degree to Fuller, who had attended VCU in the 1970s. When Holsworth discovered it, “I brought that to the attention of the appropriate individuals at VCU,” he said.

Fuller was awarded a VCU bachelor of interdisciplinary studies degree [the same degree that Rodney Moore was awarded], university spokeswoman Pam Lepley said. He also has a post-graduate certificate in public management from VCU, Lepley said. VCU officials did not say who approved Fuller’s undergraduate degree.

The St. John’s degree apparently raised no red flags until Fuller began work on a master’s degree at VCU.


However, the university is not accredited in Louisiana, said Cheryl Michelet, director of communications for the state Board of Regents.

Nor is it accredited by the Commission on Colleges of the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, which covers Virginia and Louisiana. Tom E. Benberg, the commission’s chief of staff, said the university is “totally unfamiliar to me.”

School Pride: VCU Police Chief arrested for electronic solicitation of a minor.

And the best comment award at the Richmond Times-Dispatch‘s site goes to this guy:

Maybe they can ask Rodney Monroe to comeback and serve as Chief. That way he could finish his degree requirements and actually earn his degree from VCU.

Well, actually, someone did speak up…

You just chose to ignore them.

Right now, VCU is facing the embarrassment of awarding the former city of Richmond Police Chief, Rodney Moore, a degree when he failed to meet certain requirements (specifically, the requirement that the student complete his final 30 credit hours at VCU and that the student take at least six credits of “writing intensive” classes).

The university has since decided to set up an anonymous tipline for people to notify the college of “ethics violations” (Richmond Times-Dispatch):

Virginia Commonwealth University will set up a confidential help line to make it easier for a whistle-blower to stop an ethics violation such as the one that led to the improper awarding of a bachelor’s degree to a former Richmond police chief.


VCU President Eugene P. Trani said the controversy over the degree awarded to Rodney Monroe, now police chief in Charlotte/Mecklenburg County, N.C., should never have happened.

“It has done a significant amount of damage to the university’s reputation” and could have been avoided had a single person spoken up, Trani said.

Well, folks, someone did speak up. From another Richmond Times-Dispatch story from back in October:

The coordinator of the program through which former Richmond Police Chief Rodney Monroe received his bachelor’s degree says she argued from the start that he should have received his degree from the University of Phoenix, not Virginia Commonwealth University.

Linda L. Spinelli, who retired in May as the degree investigation began, said yesterday that she objected from the moment she received Monroe’s transcripts from her supervisor, Jon Steingass, who was then dean of University College. That’s because Monroe didn’t have enough credits from VCU to receive his degree.

“Immediately I recognized that although Mr. Monroe had plenty of acceptable transfer credits, he would need to earn 30 from VCU,” said Spinelli, who was coordinator of the bachelor of interdisciplinary studies program, which is part of University College.

She said she informed Steingass of the problem that same day.

The administration at VCU ignored her…