1) Beth Healy of the Boston Globe digs down and figures out how it came to pass that (as reported on this blog) the MBTA pension fund invested with Buddy Fletcher. Turns out one of the MBTA pension fund managers went to work for Buddy and then sold his former colleagues on this cool thing Buddy had going. All fine and dandy within applicable regulations.
2) Harvard Magazine does a much better job following the money trail in Harvard's recent financial statements than Harvard itself did in its own reporting. Imagine that! As the Magazine says,
Harvard’s spending in fiscal 2013 was driven by costs other than salaries, wages, and employee benefits—in contrast to the prior year …. Compensation costs, which continue to account for about half of operating expense, rose 4 percent, with salaries and wages up 4 percent. Employee benefits rose 6 percent—in line with the growth in fiscal 2012 after accounting for a one-time adjustment.
But non-compensation expense increased 7 percent, including costs for a number of “strategic initiatives” listed in the report: the edX online collaboration, development of Allston properties, and the capital campaign itself. …Beyond its operating budget, Harvard is spending a lot on capital projects, includingthe art museums, the Business School’s Tata Hall, and the undergraduate House renovation (a total of $404 million in fiscal 2013, up 19 percent), with much more in prospect as the campaign underwrites further business school building, the Allston science complex and other projects recently approved in the institutional master plan, and so on.Of course the Campaign is hugely important. But there is going to have to be another way to make ends meet in the long run. As the Magazine concludes,
… at some point, in some way, collecting revenue from the edX online courses will likely figure in the mix.