By Felix Iusemetriks

I believe the UI has been poorly served by highly paid consultants, especially the Yardley Research Group, who just submitted a bill for $130,383 for a report insulting to the faculty and dismissive of undergraduate education at the Moscow campus. I have therefore hired Meterley Associates in Sophia, Bulgaria, who always promise at least 3.37 inches more than Yardley.  Even though they demand payment in Euros, their charges are always one tenth those of Yardley.

The UI has also been ill advised by other consultants.  Consider the PR firm that gave us the infamous motto “No Fences.”  This is a poor message to Idahoans who, for generations, have fenced their land, and certainly don’t want their children to attend a college that apparently places no limits on their behavior.

That motto has now been withdrawn, the PR firm has been fired, and a Boise firm MMG has now given us “A Legacy of Leading.” The total budget for the UI’s “brand marketing effort” is $900,000 a year, with $500,000 coming from the UI Foundation.

Many have despaired at the decision to give up the beautiful sunburst logo and instead we now have a simple University of Idaho, where the slanting of gives the impression that we are bending into a very stiff head wind.  We certainly don’t want a Legacy of Leaning Over.

The Meterley team has one specific recommendation: please repaint the water tower on the golf course to its original color and please return the sunburst logo with its clever “Uis” on the tower.  The new color is horrid.

The Meterley Report recommends that the new UI motto be “A legacy of excellence in letters, arts, and science, rather than losing on field and court.”  Yardley rightly pointed out the national reputation of our theater department and the UI Jazz Festival, which just won a National Medal for the Arts. Recently it was announced that nearly every faculty member in the UI creative writing program had won an award for their work and/or published a book.

Three million dollars a year in appropriated funds, monies that should go to academic programs, have been poured into athletics.  Meterley’s researchers propose that that this appropriation be given instead to the letters, arts, and sciences for increased salaries and scholarships.  The $900,000 a year wasted on logos, mottos, and poor PR could be better used as a scholarship fund for all UI students.

The Meterley team also recommends that the UI Press, one of whose titles garnered national attention, be brought back.  During the financial crisis after 9/11, the UI Faculty Council voted to eliminate the press because it required a $300,000 subsidy.  Later Faculty Council refused to phase out the huge subsidy for athletics, even though it served, unlike the press, no direct academic purpose.

In the 1980s the athletic programs had no state subsidy and yet the teams won Big Sky championships year after year.  I loved attending those games. If the athletic department is adamant about remaining in the big leagues, the Meterley team has a modest proposal for winning on the field and court.

Meterley recommends that one half of the Kibbie Dome football field be re-stripped in meters.  Vandal captains would always choose to defend the metered goal, if they won the opening toss. At least for one half of the game, the opposing team would have to gain 5 more yards for a touchdown and never know that they were at a disadvantage.

To improve our miserable win/loss record in basketball, the Meterley team proposes that both the Kibbie Dome and practice courts be secretly changed to meters.  Practicing every day on the meter courts, the Vandals would have a distinct advantage over opposing teams, whose shots, especially from behind the 3-point circle, would always be short of the basket.

Some Vandal fans may be offended by these proposals, but it is too bad that they can’t take a joke. Others might say this is cheating, and they of course would be right. The only solution, says Meterley, is to return to the Big Sky Conference so that the Vandals can start winning on the field, as they have always done so in letters, arts, and sciences.

Felix Iusemetriks is a very distant relative of Nick Gier, President, Higher Education Council, University of Idaho, and Professor Emeritus at the University of Idaho.