Feast or Famine? It’s Academic

by Chris Cumo

THE GAP BETWEEN rich and poor is as much a fact of academe
as of American society. 74 private colleges and universities
paid their presidents more than $300,000 in the 1998-1999
academic year. The number of presidents above the $300,000
mark represented a 21 percent increase from the previous year,
when 61 presidents eclipsed $300,000, and is almost double
the 38 presidents who earned more than $300,000 in 1995-1996.
Twenty-one presidents made between $400,000 and $499,000 in
1998-1999, and seven presidents surpassed $500,000 in pay
and benefits.

With such hefty salaries being paid to college presidents,
how much, we wondered, did the average adjunct earn at the
institutions managed by the presidents in question?

James O. Freedman, president emeritus of Dartmouth College
led the pack in 1998-1999, receiving $920,909, of which $474,528
were severance benefits. But base pay for adjuncts in Dartmouth’s
English department is a mere $3,090 in pay with no benefits.
Second to Freedman was Harry C. Payne, who earned $878,222
in salary and benefits during 1998-1999, his last year as
president of Williams College in Massachusetts. Adjuncts in
that English department earn a base pay of $3,800 with no
benefits. John R. Silber was third, receiving $814,956 in
1998-1999 as Boston University’s president. His pay included
a $250,000 loan that was forgiven. Adjuncts in the English
department earn roughly $2,800 per course with no benefits.

Trailing Silber was Oscar Remick, president emeritus of Westminster
College, who earned $743,876 in 1998-1999. Adjuncts in Westminster’s
English department make about $2,500 per course with no benefits.
President Judith Rodin of the University of Pennsylvania received
$655,557 in 1998-1999, a $107,183 increase over her 1997-1998
pay. Adjuncts in its English department earn $5,400 in pay
and $4,700 worth of medical benefits.

L. Jay Oliva, president of New York University, reaped $649,633
in pay and benefits in 1998-1999, an increase of about $100,000
over his pay in 1997-1998. “We thought he was behind,” said
Martin Lipton, chairman of NYU’s Board of Trustees. “He wasn’t
being paid sufficiently.” Adjuncts at NYU, pull in $5,250
in pay and $4,300 worth of medical benefits.

Just behind Oliva was President William Brody of Johns Hopkins
University, who earned $645,710 in 1998-1999. Although his
salary held constant from 1997-1998 to 1998-1999, his benefits
leapt from $87,218 to $200,282. Adjuncts in the English department
earn $4,700 per course and nearly $4,000 worth of medical

President Joe Wyatt of Vanderbilt University received $532,461
in total compensation in 1998-1999 whereas adjuncts in its
English department reap just over $3,600 with no benefits.
President Richard Levin of Yale nearly matched Wyatt at $525,687
in 1998-1999, though adjuncts in its English department earn
just $4,100 with $4,500 worth of medical benefits. George
Rupp, president of Columbia University, received $500,204
in 1998-1999 Adjuncts who teach in the English department
there earn $4,680 in pay and $4,200 worth of medical benefits.

Below the $500,000 club was Rice University president Malcolm
Gillis who earned $497,691 in 1998-1999. Adjuncts in its English
department earn nearly $3,500 with no benefits. President
Stephen Trachtenburg of George Washington University earned
$473,233. Adjuncts in GW’s English department earn $5,600
and $4,200 worth of medical benefits. Finally, Princeton’s
Harold Shapiro reaped $456,170 in 1998-1999. Adjunct faculty
who work in its English department earn $5,470 plus $3,700
worth of medical benefits.

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