Adding Up the Numbers
It’s hard to understand why Brandeis feels it needs to take such a drastic step to plug the financial hole, but a few stories today may shed some light.
Judith H. Dobrizynski at the Daily Beast has an exclusive interview with a top Brandeis official about the university’s financial collapse. “Peter French, Brandeis’s chief operating officer, explained that the university’s situation is far more dire than it appeared in news accounts”
But David Bonetti of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch smells something fishy.
“You don’t shutter a highly respected museum, sell off its collection – estimated to be worth in excess of $350 million – eliciting in the process a cacaphony of denunciation on the internet and blogosphere, and risk destroying the university’s good name, for such a relatively small amount of money… No, the rape of the Rose suggests that the $79 million is just the tip of the iceberg.”
He also reveals that Brandeis’s Treasurer is Rhonda Zinner, daughter of Carl and Ruth Shapiro, Brandeis donors who admit to losing close to $500 million from both their Foundation and their personal holdings in the Bernie Madoff Ponzi scheme.
We also get a little more insight into the decision to close the Rose Museum from Felix Salmon at Portfolio.com. He spoke to David Nathan, director of communications in the Office of Development and Alumni Relations at Brandeis who confirmed that the reason the Rose is being closed has everything to do with deaccessioning rules.
“By shutting down the museum, it can ignore all rules pertaining to deaccessioning, and worry only about the strings attached by donors to individual artworks. So it seems that for the sake of doing an end-run around the objections of the AAMD and the museum’s executives, Brandeis decided to close the museum entirely.”