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07.04b. The Priorities of a State College President Blatantly Ranked: 1. A Favored Ethnic Minority, 2. Students, Faculty, and Staff, 3. The Citizens of His State; An Illustration of the Principal-Agent Problem. From Gail Heriot:

...What is interesting is that UH's new acting President David McClain does not appear to be an improvement over Dobelle. At a press conference last week, he made his priorities clear: "My first commitment is to Native Hawaiians and our host culture. My second commitment is to the students and to their families and our faculty and our staff. And my third commitment, of course, is to the people of the state of Hawaii." His first commitment is to a particular minority group? What if the University of Arizona president said his first commitment was to the Navajo? Or the University of Massachusetts president said his first commitment was to the descendants of the Pilgrims? It seems a little odd to me.
At least he didn't list "my career" as his first loyalty. This is a nice illustration of the principal-agent problem. The agent's first priority is directly his own preferences. His second priority is to help his subordinates and to show good output, because happy subordinates make his life easier and his performance will be evaluated partly from their opinions and partly from the output of his work-group. His third priority is to do what's good for the principal. I suppose Hawaiian taxpayers should be happy that President McClain thought of them at all. [permalink: 04.07.04b.htm]

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