No wonder Oakland University needed to blow past the state cap and impose an 8.4 percent tuition hike on students this school year.

It needed the money to treat its board members and top executives and staff to a mid-winter break in Florida, where about 20 of them holed up for a couple of days last week in a $300 a night resort to talk about the university’s future.

A spokesperson told the Detroit Free Press the retreat, paid for from the general fund, was needed to give the officials uninterrupted time to talk, and to visit with alumni in the Bonita Springs area. Apparently, the nearby Rochester Inn or other Oakland County hotels were too close to home for effective brainstorming.

Such retreats — engaged in as well by the University of Michigan board of trustees — are also convenient ways to short circuit the state’s open meetings law. Not so easy for students and taxpayers to sit in on a meeting in Florida.

Last fall, Oakland President George Hynd quietly hired a former trustee, Scott Kunselman, to the newly created position of chief operating officer at a salary of $325,000.

Hynd explained that, among other things, the new post would free him up to schmooze donors. Kunselman was among the executives who went on the Florida trip.

I don’t know if the college is releasing minutes of the Florida sessions. It would be interesting to see if they discussed better stewardship of their students’ precious tuition dollars.

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