Colleges Shouldn’t Own Buildings

When we own an expensive asset (and real estate is very expensive) we naturally want to make this financially worthwhile. This is only sensible and entirely moral – good stewardship of resources is completely admirable.

This means that once a college owns a building then time and attention need to be devoted to it. There will be maintenance issues – if it is not looked after this will be very costly. There will also be the desire to extract maximum value from this asset. So time and attention will be devoted to using the building to get the best possible return. All this is sensible and moral. And has unfortunate consequences.

In my opinion the time and attention devoted to the building would be better spent improving acupuncture practice and how it is taught. Time that a college does not spend on these things is simply wasted time.

It seems to me far more sensible for a college to ‘outsource’ all the time and hassles that come with buildings. This may most easily be done by renting. Then others can worry about making the building pay.

It seems likely to me that colleges that run classes at difficult times (and with a valuable asset there is pressure to have classes going as close to 24/7 as possible) are putting the building before the students and their education.

For all these reasons it seems to me that it is far more sensible for a college to rent it’s buildings.

What do you think? Does renting make sense? Are there other things that distract colleges from focussing on students and education?

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