As part of our ongoing journalistic efforts to hold the administrations of the Claremont Colleges accountable for their actions, The Golden Antlers has recently completed a multi-year audit of the finances of each of the five colleges.
While we were pleased to find few significant irregularities in the Colleges’ spending, we discovered one recurring purchase, made with funds from the endowment of Claremont McKenna College, that we found to be disconcerting.
Beginning at the start of his tenure in 2013, CMC President Hiram Chodosh has annually appropriated several thousand dollars from the CMC endowment for purchases made from star-registration.com.
The funds were used to purchase varying numbers of all three of the websites offerings, from its “Standard” single-star package valued at $39.99, to its “Constellation” package at $59.99, to even its “Binary Star” offer, recommended for couples, at $99.99.
Upon further investigation, we discovered that the vast majority of the purchased stars were named “Hiram Chodosh” while some were named “President Chodosh,” and still fewer, simply, “Hiram.”
The costs of these purchases were as follows: $1,400 for the year 2013, $1,960 for 2014, $2,340 for 2015, $3,100 for 2016, and $4,640 for 2017, suggesting that President Chodosh’s appetite for naming stars may be growing at an exponential rate. As of the date of this article’s publishing, we have no data for any star purchases that may have been made so far in the year 2018.
We were puzzled by these findings, as we could see no legitimate use a university president could have for such a quantity of stars named after himself.
One of our correspondents was able to confront President Chodosh in his office, but the interaction did little to clarify the situation. University endowment money is typically designated to be invested in such ends as improvements to facilities, faculty hirings, or scholarships. When asked by our correspondent why he would use these funds to name such a striking number of stars after himself, the President offered no comment, merely displaying two of the star certificates, both labeled “Hiram Chodosh” and grinning at our correspondent expectantly. Our correspondent reported that President Chodosh was visibly crestfallen when she did not appear excited by the certificates.
To gauge how CMC students may feel about this use of the money that is meant to better their educational environment, we spoke with one CMC sophomore, Reince Priebus Jr.
“There’s no doubt that having stars named after yourself is rad,” Priebus told us. “But why so many? Shouldn’t this money have been spent on something we actually need, like a second Cube?”
In a brief and informal survey conducted by the Golden Antlers, CMC students unanimously agreed that the money ought to have been spent on a second Cube.
In publishing this article, it is not our intention to embarrass President Chodosh, whom we regard as a fine man and administrator. Instead, we hope he will take this opportunity to explain the rationale behind his actions, and that he may choose to restrain himself from further star-related purchases at the college’s expense, lest he begin to deprive our school of funds essential its continual betterment.