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Nov. 2 2009 - 2:42 pm | 78 views | 1 recommendation | 3 comments

23 college presidents are corporate hacks

Yeah, so everyone is freaking out over the piece published in the Chronicle of Higher Education about how 23 college presidents have salaries of $1 million or more. I’ll spare you the populist rant (“How could they make so much during a recession/pay cuts!?” blah blah blah). I’m much more interested in why institutions feel the need to pay their presidents so much. You could argue that it’s the result of a competitive job market, but that’s a huge cop-out.

The president is the prize pony of the college: It’s not uncommon for a president to live in a fancy-schmancy mansion owned and maintained by his/her institution. It’s an image thing. You know, “Look at our president. Doesn’t our president make your eyes water with admiration? Smell our president. Go ahead, take a whiff. Smell that? Yes, that’s the smell of success, prestige!”

And the $1 million salary is just part of the image.

This is basic corporate arithmetic. How much money you make = How “successful” and “valuable” you are. If you’re not making good money, you’re probably some sort of pathetic invalid with communist leanings.

Honestly, stop whining about it. This is a good thing. Undergrads need to learn what success looks like, otherwise they’ll never make enough money to pay back their hideous loans.

God Bless The System.


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  1. collapse expand

    Oh Riley, you cut to the core of all of us loan-addled soon-to-be-unemployed college students. Sad as it is, it’s hard to attend a university right now and not realize that the higher educational system is mostly about making money, building campuses to rival mini-resorts, and flirting with U.S. News & World Report for higher ratings — and, you know, maybe a little learning too.

  2. collapse expand

    It has a lot more to do with incentivising them to boost numbers than just giving them a big bag full of money. They are getting paid for using who they know to keep money flowing in to the university, making sure that the school meets legal standards to maintain their funding/tax status, and making sure that the value of the education is notable. They get to live in that fancy house so they can invite donors/potential donors for dinner and cocktails to schmooze for money. Take a look at how much money it takes to run a university and you’ll see that $1 million is chump change by comparison.

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