Inequality Thrives at Public Universities, Where Execs Live Like Kings

The left loves to cite corporate America when lambasting the greed of the mega-wealthy 1 percent. But what about public universities, where top administrators make millions of dollars while students flounder in debt?

To its credit, The Nation recently spotlighted some of the most egregious examples, drawing on a new study by Andrew Erwin and Marjorie Wood for the Institute for Policy Studies that found student debt was worst at the 25 universities with the most staggeringly high salaries for chief executives.

There is no worse offender than the Ohio State University, which paid its president nearly $6 million per year between 2010 and 2012:

The "most unequal" public university in America, according to the report, is Ohio State. Between 2010 and 2012 it paid its president, Gordon Gee, a total of almost $6 million, while raising tuition and fees so much that student debt grew 23 percent faster than the national average.

The only people on campus worse off than students with loans are the part-time faculty members—and they too were worst off at schools with the highest paid presidents. OSU, while paying its president $5.9 million, focused its faculty hiring on low wage part-timers, hiring 498 contingent and part-time but only forty-five permanent faculty members.

At the same time that the regular faculty has been shrinking, the number of administrators has been growing. During the period when OSU hired forty-five permanent faculty members, it hired 670 new administrators. A similar pattern is found throughout American universities.

It's telling that so much of the money is going toward administrative jobs and pay. If universities were hiring more faculty, retaining excellent educators, and keeping class sizes low, then at least they might be able to argue that students were getting more for their buck. But no—students are borrowing hideous amounts of money so that campuses can vastly expand their administrative, non-teaching services.

The growth of the bureaucratic class at modern universities is not only expensive: It's actively disruptive to free speech and student autonomy. Greg Lukianoff, president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, argued in his book Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of the American Debate that more administrators means more infringements on students' rights. In other words, a more cumbersome bureaucracy is expensive, serves little educational purpose, and has something to do with the sorry state of free expression on college campuses.

At the conclusion of their study, Erwin and Wood offer Sen. Elizabeth Warren's student loan bailout bill as one possible answer to campus inequality. That's problematic, however, since it would incentivize students to borrow more and universities to jack up prices.

But they do propose something that is at the very least intriguing:

State legislatures should establish spending ratios for their public universities. Based on our analysis, a ratio of spending on non-academic administration to scholarships could be reasonably set at 2 to 1.

Such a spending ratio may be a tad meddlesome, and more scholarship money is probably not a very good way to make college affordable.

This general approach may hold promise, however. At the end of the day, public universities are government agencies. Shouldn't taxpayers have some say over whether Gordon Gee and his ilk get to buy new yachts next year?

Hat tip: The College Fix

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    If universities were hiring more faculty, retaining excellent educators, and keeping class sizes low, then at least they might be able to argue that students were getting more for their buck.

    Then who would adjudicate rape cases?

  • Paul.||

    Some guy who makes $125 a week.

  • Doctor Whom||

    What's there to adjudicate? If you're male and accused, you're guilty. End of.

  • Pro Libertate||

    What a crock of shit. Tuition is absurdly out of whack with any sane market in education, and it keeps increasing without any improvement in the results. We see exactly the wrong people benefiting, too. Yet nothing seems to be changing very quickly.

    I'm going to thoroughly enjoy the higher ed tuition crash when it comes.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    I'm hoping it happens right now... today! I would love to have lower tuition come this fall.

  • Paul.||

    Why would it ever crash? It's government loaning money to kids. If suddenly they stop paying back, then we call it 'government giving money to kids' which is nothing particularly novel.

    The student loan system has its own stimulus and bailout packages built into the system.

  • Pro Libertate||

    It's a kind of welfare for the dumb, except that it involves having a nondischargeable debt that appears six months after you leave school.

    The crash will come because the cost of education is ridiculous in comparison to its economic value. Not to mention that the online world will do its own damage to the traditional schools, I'm sure.

  • sarcasmic||

    People don't send their kids to college because of the economic value. They send them because if they don't then they're bad people. Because it's what everyone does. Because if you don't go to college then you're dumb. Because a college education is a basic right. Because their kids need to have "the college experience."

    Economic value has little to do with it.

  • ||

    This is pretty much what my parents thought. My dad was the first in his family to go to college, my ma was the second (her mother being the first). It was ingrained in them that you weren't a success unless you went to college.

    Knowing what I do now, I would have gone to a 2-year school and studied something technical and computery and not bothered with wasting 4 years on a bullshit degree that attracts bullshit people.

  • Paul.||

    Yeah, except a lot of IT jobs now call for a four-year computer science degree-- jobs which I'm way overqualified for.

    My job, which is getting outsourced? I'm not qualified to do it.

  • ||

    In the web world, I've found it's more geared toward experience and portfolio than credentials. Maybe a certification here or there can't hurt, but degrees aren't really considered.

  • ||

    The move towards credentialism in the IT world is more a factor of there being many more people with shitty CS degrees, and their desperate attempts to make that more "valuable" than actual experience, which is what used to rule the IT world. Like any system, if you flood it with mostly useless people, they are going to go to the mat to save their phoney-baloney jobs. In this case, it's by changing hiring practices to heavily favor those with four-year CS degrees. That way people like you, Paul, can be refused a job even with your years and years of experience in favor of some schmuck who just graduated from ITT with $100,000 of debt and no real skills.

    This is all a product of too many people getting some kind of degree and then needing (because of debt) and expecting to get the kind of job right out of school that they would have had to previously work for years at shitty pay to get the experience for. The massive education bubble is affecting a lot more things than people think.

  • BakedPenguin||

    The only positive of this is that companies that don't have these retarded policies can gain a real competitive advantage by being willing to hire unaccredited workers with experience.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I suspect that one of the biggest factors is HR departments where they couldn't tell good code from crap, but they can tell if a person has a piece of paper or not.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    ut they can tell if a person has a piece of paper or not.

    This. HR departments just like to check off boxes. They're largely useless.

  • ||

    HR should come in at the end of the hiring process (if ever!). I think that's how it used to be back when I was starting out.

  • Paul.||

    HR departments where they couldn't tell good code from crap, but they can tell if a person has a piece of paper or not.

    This has been discussed before on these here very boardz, and it is my strong opinion that when HR departments took over the hiring for IT departments, the hiring process had to be defined by templates.

  • Pro Libertate||

    One major blow to business was the conversion of a little old lady called "Personnel" to Human Resources, a massive department dedicated to being an equally massive pain in the ass.

  • Mr. Soul||

    winner

  • R C Dean||

    Yeah, except a lot of IT jobs now call for a four-year computer science degree

    Not so fast:

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....tes-2013-6

  • Paul.||

    Yeah, except a lot of IT jobs now call for a four-year computer science degree

    Not so fast:

    http://www.businessinsider.com.....tes-2013-6

    Google Has Started Hiring More People Who Didn't Go To College

    We we used to say, Google needs janitors too.

    All jokes aside, this is interesting:

    After years of looking at the data, Google has found that things like college GPAs and transcripts are almost worthless in hiring. Following these revelations, the company is hiring more and more people who never even went to college.
  • Paul.||

    Holy cow, Robert Clayton, good find:

    Bock's critique of higher education goes beyond debunking the GPA as a hiring metric. He says the academic setting is an artificial place where people are highly trained to succeed only in a specific environment.
  • Michael S. Langston||

    Good IT departments hire people without college degrees all the time. I've seen many successful IT people with only GEDs.

    The trick is to prove your abilities to a contracting company and use it to gain experience.

    Once you have proven experience and some success - the current needs for IT are simply too large to ignore the number of geniuses who thought it better to learn something useful than to go to school.

    Of course the numbers say - get the 4 year degree... but as others have noted here, that makes less and less sense financially as we move forward in time.

    Main point - it happens a lot - especially given the IT industry as a whole has more openings than they do potential employees to fill those spots (also why the pay is higher than average and why stupid people with the right paper can still be hired and make decent money - of course really good IT departments will let those people go quickly after hire).

  • sarcasmic||

    Knowing what I do now, I would have gone to a 2-year school and studied something technical and computery and not bothered with wasting 4 years on a bullshit degree that attracts bullshit people.

    If I was to do it over I would have apprenticed with an electrician or some other tradesman, then started my own business.

  • ||

    That would have been a good option for me, too. I think I would have gravitated toward horticulture or something outdoorsy.

  • RBS||

    If I was to do it over I would have apprenticed with an electrician or some other tradesman, then started my own business.

    This.

  • Doctor Whom||

    When I was in high school and college, it was also ingrained in parents that they weren't a success unless and until their kids got those sheepskins. To many people, especially working-class European-Americans, having a child with a college degree was a status symbol; if you weren't going up in the world, at least your genetic material was.

  • ||

    Bottom line is, I think asking 18-year-olds what they want to do with the rest of their lives, then asking them to go into grinding debt to achieve that, is kind of ridiculous. I didn't know shit about shit when I was 18. There was no way I could make an informed decision about my future interests back then. If I did, I sure wouldn't have chosen a field (International Relations) that was so geared toward human relationships, being that I hate people and all.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    being that I hate people and all

    I feel closer to you already.

  • kinnath||

    I have said many times that all prospective students should be required to work at demeaning jobs that they truly hate for a least a year before they are allowed to attend college. Puts homework and workstudy programs in context.

  • Paul.||

    I have said many times that all prospective students should be required to work at demeaning jobs that they truly hate for a least a year before they are allowed to attend college.

    It would be cool if we could build a massive simulator where you build a character with the degree and debt that you think you want, and then you go and try to find a job with that.

    We could call it Sims-U!

  • sarcasmic||

    Bottom line is, I think asking 18-year-olds what they want to do with the rest of their lives, then asking them to go into grinding debt to achieve that, is kind of ridiculous.

    I thought the same thing when I was 18. So I went to a trade school and learned to cook. About the least lucrative trade to pick. After doing that for a few years I decided to get a C.S. degree. Now I comment on Reason all day while my idiot bosses work hard to make sure I have nothing to do. As a result I'm practically unemployable because I've got a degree and several years on the job, but little experience because my bosses are retards.

  • kinnath||

    Management material

  • Fluffy||

    Now I comment on Reason all day while my idiot bosses work hard to make sure I have nothing to do.

    Ha! I know the feeling.

    I'm doing contract work for an office that is trying to do what they somewhat laughingly call "Big Data" work.

    And there is one set of contractors that sold the CIO on buying a bunch of business intelligence software and columnar database software and shit.

    But I told the COO "It was stupid to buy all that garbage. You guys got taken. You can't do anything with that crap that you can't do with SQL Server and ASP.NET and a couple of free, open-source javascript charting libraries."

    So the CIO put their guys on a project and the COO put me on a competing, duplicative track of the same project. As "backup" and a "proof of concept".

    So naturally the CIO wants me to fail, because if I succeed it makes the purchases he signed off on look stupid. So every stupid thing he can do to make sure every possible obstacle is in my way, he does.

    Unfortunately for him my approach is so simple it doesn't actually take a team, so I don't need his shitty internal department's support. And in the end there will only be the ocean and the sky and the figure of Fluffy...flipping everyone the bird.

    While commenting on Reason all day at the same time.

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    You, sirrah, are an inspiration!

  • Paul.||

    I think asking 18-year-olds what they want to do with the rest of their lives, then asking them to go into grinding debt to achieve that, is kind of ridiculous.

    This is a really good point, and I think it should be hammered harder.

    Going to college is like pulling a lever that drains tens (sometimes hundreds) of thousand of dollars from your account.

    At 18 years old, how wise are you to pull the right lever?

    What's that, $100,000 in debt for a degree in photography and printmaking, and now you're driving a pedi-cab on Bourbon street?

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    The problem is that "right thinking adults" have been advertising college as "mandatory" for decades now. Then, out the other side of their mouth, they tell the same high school kids that college is about "finding yourself and broadening your horizons." Like people have $100k to blow on that shit.

    Then the kids, being impressionable and all, take the career counselors, politicians, and other authority figures at their word and go to college. They "broaden their horizons" in the local frat house, and they "find themselves" in random strangers' dorm rooms. All the while they coast through a fluff major with a 2.5 GPA, racking up 6 figures worth of debt by graduation.

    They graduate and discover that they have 4-6 years of great memories, a shitty degree, and $100k+ in debt. Their job prospects consist of the same jobs they were eligible for after graduating high school, and their loan debt will now eat up half of their take home pay.

    They're understandably angry because from their point of view they did it all right. They followed the career path laid out by their counselors, they went to college as they were supposed to, but they're unhireable. They have no career, and are stuck clawing and fighting just to stay afloat.

    What they don't realize is that they've been had by the people they trusted the most. They weren't taught the critical thinking skills required to succeed in college and the workforce, and were led to slaughter by butchers called guidance counselors.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Bottom line is, I think asking 18-year-olds what they want to do with the rest of their lives, then asking them to go into grinding debt to achieve that, is kind of ridiculous.

    Our previous generations had to decide which vocational high school they wanted to go to by age 12. The rich kids got to go to academic high schools. Now nearly everyone is forced into academic high schools and they come out with almost no idea of what they want to do for a living. At least the dumb kids of my generation got to take 3 or 4 shop classes each semester which gave them skills for an auto mechanic shop or a tool and die or maybe some construction. Now they get to take about 2 a year tops.

    Part of this is the public high schools are hung up on prestige and want the guidance counselors to shove the kids into academics so they leave the kids no choice but to enroll in college. Then the school can say "78% of our kids go on to college" which gets them more state dollars than the school where only 52% go to college.

    They go on to college because they're lost and confused and have no skills nor desire to work. Washington DC is proud of this. Some lucky kids at least can skip college and join a street gang where they can start making money right out of school and a work ethic is still valued.

  • Doctor Whom||

    Our previous generations had to decide which vocational high school they wanted to go to by age 12. The rich kids got to go to academic high schools. Now nearly everyone is forced into academic high schools and they come out with almost no idea of what they want to do for a living. At least the dumb kids of my generation got to take 3 or 4 shop classes each semester which gave them skills for an auto mechanic shop or a tool and die or maybe some construction. Now they get to take about 2 a year tops.

    You don't get it, do you? The old way was horribly elitist and denied the future construction workers, um, something or another. The new way appeases the great god Equality and has nothing whatsoever to do with the watering down of academic standards.

  • cw||

    I sure wouldn't have chosen a field (International Relations) that was so geared toward human relationships, being that I hate people and all.

    That's the degree I have, and strangely I prefer reading about domestic policy.

  • Pope Jimbo||

    Totally agree. I remember all the gnashing of teeth from my parents (even though they didn't give me a dime for school) and the shock of all my high school buddies when I dropped out of college after 2 trimesters and joined the Marines.

    I figured that it was probably a bad idea to be borrowing money when I had absolutely no idea what to do. I figured I might as well make some money and see the world.

  • kinnath||

    I did not send my kids to college. I kicked them out the door at 19 or so.

  • Pro Libertate||

    When it was merely stupid expensive, maybe. Now it's BUYING A HOUSE expensive. Since it was relatively reasonable just thirty years ago, for essentially the same product, it doesn't take much to realize that it's a total fucking scam.

    I say this as someone who does favor advanced education, however provided.

  • Michael S. Langston||

    Agreed - leave it to the richest country in the world to take something as useful as advanced education and ruin it to the point that line cooks with no high school diploma have stronger critical thinking skills than PhD's who consistently publish.

  • ||

    Well, what it really has built in is future votes for politicians. The students who get into terrible debt can't bankruptcy it away, so their only recourses are 1) pay it off if they can, 2) hope that a politician will make things easier for them by capping payments or something, or 3) hope that a politician makes it all go away. Note that options 2 and 3 both require supporting and voting for a particular politician.

  • R C Dean||

    Lets set the wayback machine for 2007:

    Why would it ever crash? It's government loaning money to kids homebuyers.

  • Paul.||

    But my point was (and I can be talked out of this) that the home mortgage crisis was more complex in that mortgages had been wrapped up into other types of debt instruments which the government didn't deal in.

    So private institutions got bailed out.

    Are college loans in this same boat? It seems a more direct government enterprise to me.

  • R C Dean||

    the home mortgage crisis was more complex in that mortgages had been wrapped up into other types of debt instruments which the government didn't deal in.

    The vast majority, I believe, passed through the hands of Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac either on their way to CMOs, or after being bundled into CMOs.

  • Paul.||

    That's true they did, but the holders of the debt were these private institutions-- at the endpoints.

    In the case of student debt, isn't the holder and originator of the debt the government? That's what I mean by built-in bailout. The government can just wave its papal hand and say "we forgive thee" and there's your bailout.

  • Invisible Finger||

    Nope. Most of the holders of that debt were public employee pension funds.

    They were forced into holding only solid debt like Fannie and Freddie bonds, and got jealous that they weren't reaping the gains the private funds were getting. The public employee funds pressured Fannie and Freddie to start adding these higher-yielding (read: higher risk) mortgage bonds to their portfolios (against their mandate) and the junk naturally found them.

  • Paul.||

    Look, here's my basic question. During the 2007 market crash, we can point to private (and yes, public employee pension funds at the state and local level) which were 'hurt' when the bottom fell out of the mortgage market.

    If tens or hundreds of thousands of students suddenly default on their college loans, who are the private sector players hurt by that?

  • ||

    During the period when OSU hired forty-five permanent faculty members, it hired 670 new administrators.

    Wait.. what?

  • Paul.||

    England has the NHS, we have the NES... and not the Nintendo kind.

  • BiMonSciFiCon||

    Greed is okay when profit isn't involved. Got it.

  • Zombie Jimbo||

    Truer words have never been spoken sarcastically.

    Non profits are almost as top heavy as colleges. Doing good as never paid so well.

  • ||

    My bestest friend since 6th grade recently got her PhD (in a bullshit field) and all she can find are part-time adjunct gigs, and she's lucky to get those. Her only hope of a long-term career is either museum or gubmint work.

  • Cis Shitlord||

    So your best friend is worse than nicole.

  • ||

    Probably, but she taught me to knit, so....

  • Paul.||

    gubmint work.

    By that, do you mean teach?

  • ||

    No - bureaucrat work. There was one job at a bureau that works in the same building as I do that was hiring a "Cultural Objects Researcher". The job was perfect for her and it would have been more money than she's dreamed of. But she didn't apply because grad school has a way of torturing people mentally and burning them out before they even get started.

  • Paul.||

    Strange. Not insulting your friend, but (and I'm being serious) don't people who get PHds in "bullshit" fields excel as bureaucrats?

    I mean, after reading Michelle Obama's graduate thesis, you realize that being First Lady and pillorying parents over their children's diets is the perfect place for her.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    A few questions:

    ... keeping class sizes low, then at least they might be able to argue that students were getting more for their buck.

    Is there a positive correlation between class size and more learning?

    ...focused its faculty hiring on low wage part-timers, hiring 498 contingent and part-time but only forty-five permanent faculty members.

    Are part-time faculty worse at teaching students? Are permanent faculty members better at teaching students?

    During the period when OSU hired forty-five permanent faculty members, it hired 670 new administrators.

    Do universities really want to increase overhead by hiring administrators? Or are layers of administrators necessary because they are mandated by State of Federal guidelines?

  • Cis Shitlord||

    Do universities really want to increase overhead by hiring administrators? Or are layers of administrators necessary because they are mandated by State of Federal guidelines?

    Both. Administrators want other administrators to work for them so they seem impressive and important, and governments want to keep writing guidelines so they seem impressive and important. It's kind of a von neumann machine of bullshit.

  • sarcasmic||

    Do universities really want to increase overhead by hiring administrators? Or are layers of administrators necessary because they are mandated by State of Federal guidelines?

    We're talking about public universities, right? Well, anything public is basically a jobs program. Administrators create jobs for their friends, and the gravy train never stops because it's backed up by government.

  • RightofCenter||

    It's administrators all the way down!

  • Geoff Nathan||

    Since I know most of the administrators at my university, and know how the new positions were established I can call BS on this claim.

    Every additional administrator cuts into the budget needed for roof repairs, IT support, lawn mowing etc., and Wayne State's budget has increased roughly 2% per year for each of the twelve years I've been here, while annual inflation has been rather more than that.

    Consequently most universities have to increase tuition every year just to stay in one place, because in general state funding for publics remains virtually constant.

    However, the regulations just get more and more burdensome, and the students come in with less and less preparation, which means more personalized tutoring and advising in order to keep them from flunking out. Yeah, they probably should flunk. But they also keep the lights on. It's all a big vicious circle..

    Administrators get hired because state governments, the feds and the accrediting agencies need more and more data and require more and more programs (like the aforementioned rape stuff, but also tracking students, tracking the tracking of students (metrics, you know...)) and on and on.

  • Certified Public Asskicker||

    Is there a positive correlation between class size and more learning?

    I never understood why being taught by the best in a large class size was worse than being taught by not the best in a small class.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    It only depends on whether you need to ask questions and have the material explained in a different way.

    This is why my Physics sections were a complete waste of time. I couldn't understand a damn word coming from the Chinese TA. And he couldn't understand our questions.

  • ||

    All my TAs were Chinese and couldn't speak English too (which isn't surprising since we were at Hopkins at the same time). My Vector Calculus professor had a brutally strong Chinese accent and a fucking bad stutter. He was impossible to understand (the way he said "function" took me two classes to realize what he was saying). It wasn't fun.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    I had Meier for vector calc. He wasn't bad, but he brutalized the class by staying true to his word. He announced on Day 1 what chapters would be covered on the final. His lectures never covered the final 4 chapters but they still showed up on the exam. There were some seriously butthurt students on that day.

  • Ted S.||

    My multivariable calculus prof spoke English just fine, being an American and all, but she sucked the love out of mathematics.

    Part of the reason I ended up becoming a Russian major.

  • gimmeasammich||

    Part of the reason I ended up becoming a Russian major

    As an American, how did you join the Russian military? When can we start calling you Colonel Ted S.?

  • Invisible Finger||

    My first programming class in junior college was a disaster. Causcasian guy that didn't give a shit, probably was there to weed people out of the program as he was only interested in answering questions from people who actually programmed in another language for a living. I got a D because each assignment built on the previous one and I could only get so far before the semester was over.

    Took the class again the next semester taught by a Chinese woman who spoke very broken English. But she took the time to answer questions of every student that asked, even if it meant longer office hours. Once I was able to get answers, I could get past my difficulty and the class couldn't have been any better.

  • RBS||

    I think it depends on the class. My Estate Planning class in law school was really small and I don't think I would have learned as much otherwise because the small size allowed for more hands on work. On the other hand, class size would not have made a difference in something like Con Law. I think younger students also benefit more from small classes, like when you are still learning how to learn.

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    I never understood why being taught by the best in a large class size was worse than being taught by not the best in a small class.

    Being the best is no advantage if you're spending the entire class time teaching the basics to 110 different people in 30 different ways. In fact, it was usually TAs teaching those classes, because the good profs had better things to do.

    Obviously, the ideal is a 1-on-1 with the best, but that is unfeasible. A classroom with

  • trshmnster the terrible||

    Is there a positive correlation between class size and more learning?

    Common knowledge has it as a negative correlation.

    A quick google search turns up a study from Tennessee that confirms that correlation

    Are part-time faculty worse at teaching students? Are permanent faculty members better at teaching students?

    I think there are arguments to be made for both sides. Part-time faculty tend to have a bunch more career-applicable information. Permanent faculty have the opportunity to tweak and refine their courses to better benefit the students. Ideally, there would be a good mix of both.

    Do universities really want to increase overhead by hiring administrators? Or are layers of administrators necessary because they are mandated by State of Federal guidelines?

    Both. Guidelines are a good excuse when you get taken to task for hiring 600+ new administrators, but it's hard to draw the line between self-inflicted growth and State-mandated growth.

  • Jesus H. Christ||

    This is true of publicly funded k-12 education as well. Way too many administrators, and too much compliance overhead.

  • Grand Moff Serious Man||

    What? You mean that elementary school doesn't really need three assistant vice principles and six sensitivity counselors?

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    six sensitivity counselors?

    Who else is going to handle the mock finger gun and kissing assault cases?

  • ||

    Scratch the surface of any progressive/leftist dominated institution, and you see absurd amounts of all the things they profess to hate/be against. Once again, projection is the end all be all with these people. It's the same every time, without fail.

  • CatoTheElder||

    “[H]atred ... is verily the "beginning of all wisdom," the basis of every socialist and communist movement and of its success."

    VI Lenin "Left Wing Communism"

    Like him or not, Lenin understood socialism.

  • RBS||

    I see, so Ohio State sucks at this just like they suck at playing Clemson in football.

  • EDG reppin' LBC||

    You just made the list, pal.

  • 110 Lean||

    and keeping class sizes low,

    ^^A fucking myth^^

    A good teacher can teach a thousand students at once. A million if put on the Internet.

  • Pro Libertate||

    KHAAAN! KHAAAN! KHAAAN!

  • 110 Lean||

    The fuck?

  • Pro Libertate||

    Khan Academy. His is the superior. . . .

  • gimmeasammich||

    Try Coursera.org and edX.org as well. You get actual assignments, a forum to communicate with other students and the professors, and a grade.

    Granted it's not for real college credit, but you can get a certificate out of it from Rice, UT - Austin, Princeton, etc.

  • Swiss Servator, CH yeah!||

    ...learning.

  • Scruffy Nerfherder||

    OK, so I just got an email (past my spam filter) from ashleymadison.com. Think Petra Nemcova is on their system?

  • PapayaSF||

    Hey, they need all those administrators! Diversity is not just going to manage itself, you know.

  • Bardas Phocas||

    Between 2010 and 2012 it paid its president, Gordon Gee, a total of almost $6 million

    Doing God's work in some of America's rapiest neighborhoods.

  • Pro Libertate||

    That's The Gordon Gee.

  • GILMORE||

    Note =

    Gordon Gee was THE highest paid chancellor in the country back in the mid 1990s, when he ran Vanderbilt - also one of the largest endowed schools in the country, at the time (see below point re: asset management); not a coincidence.

  • GILMORE||

    take that back! - apparently he went to vandy much later.

    Strangely, i still remember his name being associated w/ the school when i was there, although he was apparently at OU? (fuck the buckeyes)

  • R C Dean||

    Isn't he the guy who said "Greed is good"?

    He certainly seems to be practicing what preaches.

  • GILMORE||

    Rico Suave should note =

    One of the most significant reasons for the very-high executive pay for University Administrators is entirely untouched upon in his post

    In cities across America, Universities (public or the still-subsidized things we call 'private') are usually among the largest real-estate investors in the region, with additional significant assets held in 'endowment', such that the principal role of the Chief Big Wumpus CEO/Chancellor/President is often as an 'investment manager'; that their role is far more devoted to managing the *asset base* of the institution rather than the 'institution itself' (ie. teaching, recruiting, etc)

    In some cases they may just be a figurehead 'sales person' in order to aid & protect the 'asset mangers' - but regardless, the people who are sought out for these posts tend to be individuals from the private sector who've had some experience in asset management and have the political savvy to manage all the relationships related to the public/private conflicts.

    These people dont come cheap. take the nation's 'top 25' university presidents, and divide their pay by the asset base they manage, and see how different that ratio is compared to ANY OTHER KIND OF INSTITUTION ON EARTH. My guess is that you'd find that these people are only compensated marginally better than if they were managing, say, large real estate trusts, insurance companies, etc

  • R C Dean||

    the people who are sought out for these posts tend to be individuals from the private sector

    You mean, like this?

    http://www.miami.edu/index.php.....biography/

    Or this?

    http://www.harvard.edu/president/biography

    Yeah, real hard-nosed private sector asset managers there. Totes had to take a big pay cut from their hedge fund jobs to work at the U.

  • GILMORE||

    As I noted = not all presidents are the 'business' chiefs.

    Sometimes they're just the Smiling Face of the school used to allow the business to run while the chief runs the PR dept.

    My point holds either way. Divide their pay by their asset base. They aren't getting paid just to 'run a school'. They are multibillion$ assets.

  • R C Dean||

    One more, but really, this is shooting fish in a barrel:

    http://president.yale.edu/about-president-salovey

    If you can find a single major university president who came over from a private sector asset management position, I will be very surprised.

  • GILMORE||

    would it satisfy you if i simply said that the job *they have* is roughly equivilent to that?

    This was my main point

    "t the principal role of the Chief Big Wumpus CEO/Chancellor/President is often as an 'investment manager"

    If they dont 'usually' come from the private sector that isnt shocking. However, what they do is entirely comparable to the role I described.

  • GILMORE||

    naturally, someone did a study already

    http://files.eric.ed.gov/fulltext/ED505990.pdf

    They highlight many of the same points - that the job is mainly fundraising, financial/risk management. They point out that only about ~25% tend to be academics-focused. 20% come from outside schools entirely. Most are career 'administrators'.

  • R C Dean||

    Which completely refutes your claim that "regardless, the people who are sought out for these posts tend to be individuals from the private sector who've had some experience in asset management."

    Thanks for playing.

    I'm not even arguing that these people should be well-paid, as running a big U is not easy. I will argue that the army of petty bureaucrats they have brought in, rather than top-level executive pay, account for the cancerous growth in administrative v academic budgets.

  • R C Dean||

    I'm not even arguing that these people should not be well-paid,

  • GILMORE||

    For the third time =

    - acknowledging that ONLY 30% tend to come from outside the academic environment

    taking that out, isn't everything i said still relevant?

    You're just hung up on that one detail.

  • R C Dean||

    isn't everything i said still relevant

    Your claim that university presidents should be well paid because these people are really asset managers, no, not at all.

    They have zero qualifications to be asset managers. They aren't in the market for asset managers, and so their pay cannot be justified by referencing that market.

    And that is the guts of your argument ("One of the most significant reasons for the very-high executive pay").

  • ||

    Soave sounds just like one of those Griefer assholes. So the president of Ohio State makes $6M. Whoopsie-fucking-doo. He runs an organization that probably has $10B in annual revenues. I hardly think his salary is "greed"-driven or anything like it. He's compensated for having a unique skill set that has advanced the university's stature on the global stage.

    The number of administrators vs the number of faculty hired recently there is alarming, to say the least. But his pay hardly seems out of line with any other enterprise with similar revenues.

    If we want to sound like those Occupy dickheads, let's be sure to put out more pieces like this.

  • ||

    Furthermore, if we want to attack the rising costs of higher education, are we really the kind of HuffTards that want to accuse those that run schools of putting the money in their pockets? Seriously, he makes less that $60 per student per tuition year. That's fucking peanuts.

    The bubble in higher education isn't to fund the salaries of bigwig administrators like Gee. It's due almost exclusively to the student loan scheme that says every high school kid deserves a college education. Basically, it's the same idiocy that Clinton and Bush pushed the mortgage industry toward. And we know how well that idiocy turned out.

    Ooh, this kind of article really gets me pissed off. And not because he's singled out Gee and Ohio State, but because he comes across as a Greifer douchebag half-wit.

  • Invisible Finger||

    I think the point is the Occupy dickheads, if they would apply their same bullshit complaints consistently, would be aiming their anger directly at the very institutions they claim to be the model of what is right.

  • BakedPenguin||

    I know I've mentioned this before, but CLEP tests are great for getting out of 1/2000 level intro courses. I got out of 33 semester hours (it would have been ~50 had I learned about them sooner.)

  • GILMORE||

    Mother Jones beat this horse in September

    http://www.motherjones.com/pol.....erpaid-pay

    "executive pay across many industries has risen sharply in recent years, and universities are run more like businesses than they were in the past. An underlying cause may be the composition of college boards of trustees, which are increasingly made up of high-powered individuals from the corporate world as opposed to a broader mix of alumni.

    In 2010, trustees with "business occupations"—including executives and administrators of a large corporation; a banking, financial, insurance, or real estate company; or a small business—made up about 42 percent of trustees at public university and 53 percent of those at private institutions, according to the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.

    "Often the trustees of universities are themselves CEOs," wrote the authors of a 2006 study in the Journal of Higher Education that looked at the potential influence of university trustees who also serve on corporate boards. "The salaries of CEOs have risen dramatically in the past decade. Where the networks of corporate directors and trustees are dense and overlapping, as CEO compensation in the corporate sector increases, a similar logic may well be applied to CEO compensation in private universities.""

  • R C Dean||

    Boards being made up of private sector honchos =/= presidents being hired from the ranks of private sector honchos.

    As you study shows, above.

  • GILMORE||

    yes.

    I agree that the " tend to be individuals from the private sector" part of my comment is not supported.

    I still think everything else i said is entirely relevant. Whether or not they come from private asset-management backgrounds, thats what the job IS, largely, and they are compensated similarly for similar skills.

    If you don't disagree with that, then its just quibbling over whether there's really a difference in whether they did the 'same things' in public or private institutions.

  • Invisible Finger||

    This study doesn't even back you up. The graph in the article showed the shallowest slope for "Presidents, Public universities". Full time faculty, and Private U Presidents had larger pay increase rates over the same time frame.

  • GILMORE||

    FYI - its the Nation and MoJo complaining about pay rises. Not me. I just pointed out the story had been covered before.

  • R C Dean||

    Whether or not they come from private asset-management backgrounds, thats what the job IS,

    Then they are entirely unqualified for it.

    To repeat: They have zero qualifications to be asset managers. They aren't in the market for asset managers, and so their pay cannot be justified by referencing that market.

  • GILMORE||

    What does a University president DO?

    CIC presidents indicated the following in descending order:

    - Fundraising (19.9 percent)
    - Risk management and legal issues (18.3 percent)
    - Capital improvement projects (17.9 percent)
    - Budget and financial management (17.6 percent)
    - Entrepreneurial ventures (16.3 percent)"

    Because "fundraising, risk-managment, and strategic investment" is NOTHING like what running other large, highly endowed private institutions is like.

    No, they're just glorified poets.

  • exchef100||

    Not sure how it is at other large universities, but when I went to OSU (from 2001-2003, did not graduate from there) weekly lectures were filled with a few hundred students, professors rarely lectured and left most of the work to the adjuncts, and recitation was "taught" by unpaid TAs. Most professors spent much of their time doing "field research" with the grants they received from the school and other sources.

    But hot damn did they have a football team (and stadium)!

GET REASON MAGAZINE

Get Reason's print or digital edition before it’s posted online

  • Video Game Nation: How gaming is making America freer – and more fun.
  • Matt Welch: How the left turned against free speech.
  • Nothing Left to Cut? Congress can’t live within their means.
  • And much more.

SUBSCRIBE

advertisement