Adjunct faculty, who currently teach more than half of CUNY’s courses, get just a few thousand dollars per course. Two weeks ago, Gawker Media filed a Freedom of Information Act request and learned that the City University of New York was offering General David Petraeus a $200,000 salary for conducting a seminar on “developments that could position the United States…to lead the world out of the current global economic slowdown.” Faced with only three hours a week of real work, the disgraced former CIA chief was set to be paid about eight times the salary of a first-time adjunct professor at CUNY, and all without having to teach a full course load.
Adjunct activists launched Facebook protests and even a petition drive. New York State Assemblyman Kieran Michael Lalor wrote a letter of protest. New York City Councilman Brad Lander started a petition. Salon.com declared the matter “a veritable second Petraeusgate.”
Petraeus (left) also accepted a position as a Judge Widney Professor at the University of Southern California, a private school in Los Angeles. In emails released by Gawker, Petraeus told CUNY dean Ann Kirschner: “The truth is that I could have had gotten more money or more prestigious places (you won’t believe what USC will pay per week).”
Today, it looks as if the deal between David Petraeus and CUNY has been scrapped. Well, it’s not clear whether CUNY scrapped the deal or Petraeus “decided” to turn down the $200K offer. Various media outlets are reporting it both ways.
According to a new article from the New York Times, Petraeus and CUNY have now decided that a $1 salary is probably more appropriate for the general’s cushy gig. The Times reported:
One way or another, the news that David H. Petraeus, the former C.I.A. director and commander of the allied forces in Iraq and Afghanistan, would be a visiting professor at the Macaulay Honors College at CUNY this coming academic year was supposed to be great publicity all around.
Instead it turned into a minor scandal all its own, as some professors and politicians expressed outrage over his six-figure salary, and others accused the university’s administration of lying about just what the salary was. On Monday, it was announced that Mr. Petraeus would, on second thought, teach for just $1.
On Monday, it was announced that Mr. Petraeus would, on second thought, teach for just $1.
“The general never was taking on this teaching assignment for the money,” said Robert Barnett, Mr. Petraeus’s lawyer, who, along with CUNY, confirmed the salary change.
“Once controversy arose about the amount he was being paid, he decided it was much more important to keep the focus on the students, on the school and on the teaching, and not have it be about the money,” Mr. Barnett added, so Mr. Petraeus proposed waiving his salary “to remove money as a point of controversy.” The minor controversy within this controversy has been that General Petraeus’ CUNY salary was actually going to be $150,000, a paltrier amount he supposedly agreed to after being offered up to $200,000 by the school’s administration. But as the Times notes, evidence of the $150,000 salary agreement is bolstered only by shaky proof.
Gawker couldn’t resist a final parting shot: “Either way, the general is now getting about enough to cover a cup of terrible coffee at a deli. Don’t spend it all in one place.”