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Friday, March 2, 2012

U.C. Nike goes cop crazy

Even before they get guns and start shooting, the campus police at the University of Oregon are burning through money like there's no tomorrow. Check out these campus safety budget figures from that faculty troublemaker at UO Matters:

2002-03 $1,607,012
2003-04 $1,612,250
2004-05 $1,733,536
2005-06 $1,789,688
2006-07 $2,427,713
2007-08 $2,166,847
2008-09 $3,073,604
2009-10 $2,831,690
2010-11 $3,811,421
2011-12 $4,287,098

$2.6 million growth over 10 years, nearly tripling their budget.

Sheesh. Even if you subtract what they've spent the last few years playing nanny to thuggish football players, that's an obscene amount of money for security guards on a college campus of 25,000 students. It works out to more than $170 per student per year. The annual compound growth rate is around 10.3%.

Sounds like empire-building without cause. And just imagine the pensions.

Comments (7)

I have heard fom a trusted source that the place is a total party zoo on weekends. It might be a symptom of the need to maintain order in combination with empire building of some sort, but I agree that $4.28 million for campus police is high.

It would be interesting to look at police budgets in towns with a population of 25 - 30 thousand in Oregon.

Though I think Usual Kevin and Jack have touched upon a point that would make staffing needs higher than in a "typical" town of that size. Late teen - early twenties adolescents are not too bright, and do a lot of stooopid things as a function of their relative immaturity, whether football thugs or otherwise, and a "town" with a population dominated by the younger age group is going to need more police / public safety presence than a "town" who's population is spread naturally across all age groups.

Any chance someone could come up with figures from similar sized universities with on campus housing? I tried, but could not. It would be nice to have something to compare those numbers to before saying they are out of line.

Personally I'd rather have it be higher cost, with a family wage, professional security force rather than a cheapo $9/hr rent a cop situation. Especially if my children were attending.

One commenter on UO Matters said that Oregon State, which I believe has the same number of students as the U of O, is spending about $3 million a year -- far less than $4.3 million.

UO's on campus crime rate is steady or declining, even before adjusting for increases in students and drunken football tailgaters.

This decision is about the power to decide when to prosecute and when to let it slide. Jack pointed me to this article in the NYT back in November on this:


Now UO will be able to use this power, and FERPA, to keep athletic scandals out of the press.

The UO used to have a "payment-in-lieu-of-taxes" arrangement with the City of Eugene, reflecting the reality that the UO did not pay property taxes that would in part pay for local public safety services (police and fire) which any college campus would surely generate it's fair share of. I don't know how much that arrangement was,but it's possible it has been discontinued recently. So it's worth noting that perhaps that payment, which I presume is now discontinued or significantly reduced, should be netted against the budget increase. Not saying this shouldn't still raise eyebrows, but the math may be a little different.

One commenter on UO Matters said that Oregon State, which I believe has the same number of students as the U of O, is spending about $3 million a year -- far less than $4.3 million.

Well, yes, but they don't have nearly as many uniforms.

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