This is not the Temple University Japan Blog!

(But it’s not like I don’t know there is a campus!)

Recently, I’ve been getting hits on my earlier writing about Temple Japan. My focus, at the time, was on the money and jobs side. I can’t help but conclude that the campus is getting serious money funneled to it by Pennsylvania taxpayers, and it’s being done in a way that’s non-transparent.

I’ve never taken a class at the Japan Campus, but, yes, of course, many at the one in North Philadelphia. So if people ask my opinion, I tell them that Temple does some wonderful things. But in other ways in really smells. (See also my discussion of the Lincoln Herbert and Robert Reinstein free speech imbroglio, where a student who was arguably, let’s say, a right-winger got the short end of the stick from the former law school dean.)

I only get information about Temple Japan through the alumni mailings (like I say, since I am a graduate school graduate.) Then, plus the bits and pieces that I glean from just living here. There are quite a few.

My number one beef at the moment is I’ve gotten no responses on the Temple Japan rent issue. I did get some short e-mail from the Temple controller, but now that looks like it was a blow-off e-mail. Of course, I then followed up with a member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives. But there, too, the wheels of government grind slowly.

The parade of all these non-Americans working at Temple has me really concerned as well. But first, I am just curious how Temple Japan pays the rent, when there is no separate line item for Japan rent anywhere in the Temple University financials. Just saying that it’s a “separate entity” is bullsh*t. Of course, it’s a Japan organization(!), but what goes on there is part of the activity performed by the Pennsylvania nonprofit corporation. It just happens to be going on in Japan.

I just want to know: Where does the money for the rent come from? Yes, it’s Japan, so the rent would be paid in yen. The actual currency comes from the Bank of Japan. But there are money transfers between Philadelphia and Tokyo—and that’s the thing the controllers office is sitting on.

If having branch campuses in foreign countries were such a great idea, all the American universities would be doing this.

Rent is a sizable portion of any activity that would be a “service”. That is, after wages and salaries. You need a place to perform the service. In a governmental establishment, usually the government owns the land and grants it over to the school. In other instances, a donor provides the space.

Like I was blogging a week or so ago, this is what makes the Japan Eikaiwa Implosion (the bankruptcy of two major English conversation schools within 2 1/2 years) so interesting. In a business, rent is a 24-7 obligation, you have to pay it all throughout the week. (Except things like Tokyo TEG in Kyobashi, which runs a business through a government hall). If a school is set up as a business enterprise in leased space, a certain fraction of the tuition has to go to the landlord. That means less money is there for the actual service that’s provided. (This in turn means there may be a tight limit to wages and salaries.)

Education programs that succeed and keep on going are those where they aren’t worried about covering the rent. Somehow I think Temple Japan isn’t worrying.