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News - Southern Polytechnic State University

For buying a pig in a poke

Can you say boondoogle? For more than a year now, ever since Life University had its accreditation yanked, its lobbyists have been shopping around for a real-estate scheme to keep the private chiropractic school afloat.

Under the eccentric stewardship of founder and resident nutjob Dr. Sid Williams, the nation's largest chiropractic college added some very odd features to its Marietta campus: a working Victorian-era farm, a huge torch sculpture celebrating the Olympics and other statuary — not to mention its annual "Lights of Life" holiday lights display.

Last year, the embattled school, which has lost half its enrollment, was in danger of defaulting on more than $30 million in bonds issued by the city's development authority. Life lobbyists privately said the only way to keep Life alive was to find someone else to pick up the note.

Enter the Southern Polytechnic State University Foundation. The public technical college, a member of the University System of Georgia, last week announced that it is planning to buy the neighboring Life U. campus by assuming payments on the troubled school's $30.7 million in outstanding debt.

SoPo, which has been looking for room to grow, plans to lease much of the 89-acre campus back to Life, which would retain an option to buy it all back at a later date.

SoPo spokesfolk are calling the arrangement a win-win deal that will allow Life to continue churning out back-crackers. We hate to be cynical, but it looks more like a bailout — or at least an underwriting — of a private college of dubious academic merit by a public university, at a time when the state university system is already undergoing some belt-tightening.

Let's hope we're wrong about this one.

In other news, we're confident that Delta CEO Leo Mullin's surprise resignation this week came as a result of his being named Scalawag back in April for doubling his own salary to $13 million at the same time he was laying off workers, cutting salaries and begging Congress for more funding aid.

We're guessing, however, Mullin dropped to earth gently, on account of his reported $16 million golden parachute.





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