Home / General / Room for debate: Are gargantuan salaries for university presidents A Good Thing?

Room for debate: Are gargantuan salaries for university presidents A Good Thing?

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In the course of carrying out its secret mission as an engine of left-wing insurrection, the New York Times has put together a debate on whether its desirable for university presidents to have increasingly enormous sums of cash shoveled into their bank accounts, at a time when the people who do most of the actual teaching in the contemporary university — adjuncts and graduate students — are being paid in scrip for beef jerky and discounted parking passes.

The Times’ crypto-revolutionary agenda is evident to anyone who considers the arguments put forth by the people (a lawyer and a law professor) the paper chose to defend the status quo.

Shorter Raymond D. Cotton: University presidents are paid so much these days for the same reasons corporate CEOS are paid so much these days. QED,or something.

Shorter Dorothy A. Brown: The real issue here is that the stupendous compensation packages of white male university presidents are on average slightly larger than the stupendous compensation packages of women and minority university presidents.

The only reasonable explanation for this kind of thing is that it’s actually intended to put pitchforks and torches in the hands of the academic proletariat.

Speaking of which, here are some comparative figures I’ve put together on changes in compensation at one major research university over the past 35 years. (All figures are in constant 2013 dollars).

. . . Note that Michigan is a top school, so its faculty salaries are quite a bit higher than average. Two years ago the AAUP found the average salaries for full, associate, and assistant professors at all American colleges and universities to be $113K, $77.5K, and $67.5K respectively. In other words it appears average tenure track faculty salaries in the US are about what they were at an elite public school 35 years ago.

Average salary for different categories of employees at the University of Michigan in 1979 and 2013:

Custodian

1979: $34,017

2013: $32,214

Director of Athletics

1979: $173,274

2013: $850,000 base salary (Does not include $100,000 in deferred compensation, and a possible $200,000 bonus).

Full Professor

1979: $107,493

2013: $167,260

Associate Professor

1979: $77,153

2013: $114,071

Assistant Professor

1979: $61,119

2013: $100,048

Dean of the Law School:

1979: $169,075

2013: $420,000

Administrative Assistant/Secretary

1979: $45,985

2013: $43,078

President:

1979: $216,000 salary (other compensation, if any, unknown, although it’s safe to assume use of the president’s house was included.)

2013: $603,357 base salary; $100,000 bonus in lieu of a raise; $100,000 additional annual retention bonus; $175,000 annual deferred compensation, $50,000 annual retirement pay, free use of residence and car.

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