Comment of the Day: Selling Out from Under the Kids

COMMENT OF THE DAY: SELLING OUT FROM UNDER THE KIDS “Would anyone charged with this project done it any differently? If you have to move your family to a new neighborhood, do you seek your kids’ permission first? Yeah, it affects them, but it’s not their decision.” [Carol, commenting on Getting a Good Look at KTRU without Tipping Off Students]

13 Comment

  • Ugh. KTRU was donated to Rice for the students, not funded or created by the administration. This is more like if grandma gave the kids a present, and then the parents sold it.

  • Evan, I think that your analogy is a good one, capturing the angst of so many spoiled and entitled kiddoes; so long as you append to it that the proceeds of the sale of their toy were going directly into their college funds.

  • @Evan: more like the students built a pirate transmitter and blackmailed the administration into getting them a license.

    Rice never set out to built a little bitty radio station, not to mention a 50,000 watt one.

  • Niche, I think your analogy is a good one provided you replace “spoiled and entitled kiddoes” with “committed and passionate volunteers” and “were going directly into their college funds” with “were being used to build a dining room that only some of the family can use and other unspecified things that Mom and Dad might want.”
    As I posted on HAIF, there are a LOT of KTRU DJ’s. Last year there were sixty. I have known several of them over the years. They have every right to feel as though they were treated unfairly. Just like all the classical music fans like my wife who will suddenly find their reception south of BW8 has gotten suddenly worse. And just like all the UH students who are wondering what, exactly, benefit they are getting for all this money spent.

  • Marmer, let us be clear. KTRU was a plaything for the student body. The sheer number of “volunteers” should make it evident that we are not merely talking about a gruelling and necessary chore or some kind of noble burden.

  • The analogy only works if the kids are the ones paying bills in that family. Rice University is supported in large part by the students’ tuition (currently a cool $33,120 per year). They’re not “spoiled and entitled” and KTRU is not a gift bestowed upon them gratis. Rather, the students are the one paying bills and they rightly have a say in how their money is spent.

  • Whether you think the students “deserve” a radio station, the university administration is clearly behaving badly. An open and honest discussion about the future of the station was merited before anyone started talking of selling the transmitter and FCC license, not months after a sale agreement was all but finalized.

  • Or think of it this way: Grandma gives you her old Beetle when she gets a new car. You are twelve years old and you can’t drive yet, so of course the title is in your parents’ name. But you work on the Beetle for YEARS and make it pretty nice. When you get your license, you make friends in the Beetle collector community and you earn a little respect for the job you’ve done on the car. You love your Beetle, but eventually a big collector offers you a trade you can’t pass up. Call it a brand new Passat. The Passat goes in your parents’ name, largely because the title to the Beetle is in their name too. Or maybe you’re still not legally an adult even though you’ve been doing a lot of the things adults do. Again, you get involved in the enthusiast community and get some credibility as a Passat wrench. So then you come home from college to find that your parents have sold the Passat to finance home improvements without discussing it with you. Their rationale is that there is light rail and you have a perfectly good bicycle. Oh, and their stock portfolio didn’t do so well last year.

    In other words, if people spend their spare time on something, it usually means they care A LOT.

  • My alma mater has a much smaller student body and an even smaller endowment than Rice, and yet it can afford to keep a student run radio. Sorry, but this isn’t your weird Uncle’s Rice anymore. Rice has sold out.

  • Tacotruck, a crazy number of Rice students have scholarships, so I don’t think it fair to cite the total tuition figure as something that conveys meaning. Also, grade inflation there is a travesty committed against the student.

    Marmer, your VW analogy is weak.

  • Really, Niche? That’s the best you’ve got? I could go back through my post and annotate the KTRU historical background and provide some info about the VW enthusiast community, but I don’t think you really care and I’m not going to convince anyone who doesn’t already agree. I’m not seeing the kind of information and insight in this discussion that your best posts bring to the table. You seem to have a negative personal bias toward KTRU and Rice that isn’t going to change.

  • It’s actually interesting to know that Rice was planning to sell KTRU earlier than it first seemed. Ike damage and the market downturn hit Rice pretty hard in 2008; it’s no secret that a lot of departmental budgets went into and remain in hard austerity mode. Now, perhaps, a word of defense if not exactly agreement with the Rice administration’s actions: If the sale of KTRU had been put to a student vote, it would have been strongly divisive. I can easily believe that a majority of the student body WOULD have voted in favor of the sale. This way the acrimony is directed at the administration instead of at other students. My biggest problem with this is that a student organization with a public voice is being silenced on the FM airwaves. This is a breach of cultural tradition that Rice should have been more sensitive to, and that’s why the student body is rightly upset in a way they wouldn’t be with other University financial transactions like investments and real estate deals.

    I don’t think tuition is particularly relevant. It’s a significant outlay for all but the very wealthiest families, it does represent an important source of revenue for the University, and most students receive financial aid which comes from a variety of university, charitable, and government sources. Most undergraduate financial aid is need-based, anyway, using standard formulas used by almost all other institutions.

  • I could tear apart your VW analogy point by point, but I don’t think that that is necessary. It’s weak and that weakness is apparent for all to see. I just thought that you should know.

    I suppose that its possible that the analogy was in fact a strong one and that the only way for me to realize that was to have been an insider. I’ll acknowledge that, but if so, then you may as well have cracked an inside joke and expected a bellowing laugh from me. It’s just not effective communication.

    I suppose that I do have a negative bias against Rice, but it has been mostly shaped by my interactions with Rice alums and their own predilections to criticizing their alma mater.