July 1, 2014 | Academic Affairs

 By Philip Pecorino


A recent article in the Huffington Post linked the national crisis of student college debt to the generous compensations college and university system presidents often enjoy—salaries, as reported by The Chronicle for Higher Education, that can go as high as $6 Million for Gordon Gee of Ohio State and $1,311,095 for Hamid A. Shirvani of North Dakota University.  Former CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein’s $526,314 ranked him as 77th—right above James B. Milliken, formerly of Nebraska, with $523,144. 


The New York Post now reports that CUNY’s new Chancellor will receive an additional benefit: “a full year’s salary if he stays at least five years.” 


But what about the faculty?


Given the size and complexity of the City University, it could well be argued that CUNY’s Chancellor deserves his compensation—and, perhaps, might even deserve more than he will receive.  What’s disturbing, however, is that concern over appropriate compensation–including a salary ($670k/year), expenses (unknown), allowances ($18K/mo housing), benefits (driver) and severance (one year)–appears to end with the Chancellor. We do not see a similar concern for CUNY’s college presidents, or the people who are the real reason students come to CUNY: the faculty.  It is faculty who can impart the knowledge and intellectual skills that students want to and need to learn. It is faculty who maintain their commitment to “enhance educational quality, student learning and success“ despite a range of daunting obstacles considered by Gary Rhoades  in a recent article in the American Federation of Teachers’s publication, On Campus.  And it is faculty upon whom society depends to help students—and society—progress. 


Separate and Unequal Perks


Both the previous and current chancellor are not only permitted but are encouraged to seek and receive compensation for service on Boards of Trustees.  Faculty are meanwhile bound and limited by the CUNY’s “Multiple position policy” of the CUNY Board of Trustees.   Chancellor Goldstein received more than $325,000/year  from J.P. Morgan Chase as chairman of the board overseeing mutual funds.. Chancellor James Milliken, as reported by The New York Post, “already sits on the board of the Valmont Corp, an Omaha company that produces metal products. He received $221,991 in cash and stocks for his service in 2013.”  It appears to be the hope of  CUNY’s Board of Trustees that the current Chancellor should do much better here in the big apple  encouraging him to “pursue outside activities, such as corporate and other board memberships.”

Meanwhile it remains the hope of CUNY faculty that their students will make academic progress and that they will have the resources with which to promote a success that is not measured in dollars.

So it goes….

Philip Pecorino is a Professor of Philosophy at Queensborough Community College and Treasurer of the City University Faculty Senate.

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