Saturday, September 22, 2007

is it warm in here or is that my blood starting to boil?

KSU is in the local newspaper again this week. One of this morning's front page stories informs us that university president Lester Lefton has hired a "special assistant" to "develop university and business sector partnerships meant to capitalize on university research and intellectual property, while assisting with resource development efforts." He will also "serve as a key adviser and strategist to Lefton on vital opportunities and policy issues."

The story does not tell us what salary this special assistant will be receiving, but the article directly below it states that KSU students may soon have to pay a "$100 to $500 technology fee to be charged to students for the purpose of updating aging classroom technology." This would be in addition to the cost of their tuition, which has been frozen by the state. The fee would be for a technology update, you understand, not to pay Lefton's new assistant.

Now, I guess I can understand that Lefton might need an assistant for that sort of thing. I mean, he is kind of an old guy, and he has to attend a whole lot of fund-raising luncheons and dinners all across the state of Ohio. It's just more than he can handle, you might think. But, no, you would be wrong about that because earlier this week the university announced that not only would Lefton be receiving an increase in his already obscenely high salary, but a bonus of $70,000 as well, because he has just been doing such a darn good job.

Let me summarize for you. Lester Lefton will be doing less work for more money and the students will not be paying for his raise or his new assistant with this new "technology fee," which is not a tuition hike because the university is not allowed to raise the tuition. And if you believe all that, then I wish you a belated happy birthday because you were born freakin' yesterday.

7 comments:

tom said...

Sounds like the same sad story from my BGSU days. Only there, the President's gratuitous on-the-payroll assistant was his wife! I think that administrators engaging in this sort of nonsense is the inevitable consequence when one begins to regard the college as a business rather than an academic institution, and I hate it.

Ben said...

I think this kind of thing happens at many universities. What sets this episode apart is how blatant it was. No one, including the local press, has publicly "connected the dots" to question the actions. This emboldens the ivory tower "can't touch this" mentality at the university.

In the business world, "You're doing a great job so here's a raise and a bonus" is rarely followed by "Plus we're hiring this other guy, also at a huge salary, to do 90% of your job". There's a disconnect there, no? Then there's the part where the state freezes tuition, so the university invents new non-tuition "fees". No one sees through this?

Where is the outcry? Without it, this behavior will continue unabated.

Eostre said...

I remember last year when Kent students were paying for two presidents at once. Cartwright stepped down when Lefton started, but she received a full year's normal pay as a "consultant" [presumably in case he screwed up]. A smooth passing of the torch is certainly desirable, but a full year just seemed gratuitous to me.

anne mancine said...

Eostre - Yeah, maybe that is where the extra money is coming from - if Carol Cartwright finally stepped off the gravy train.

Tom - That same thing happened when Sister was at OU. But as half of a pair of career academicians, Julie would also tell you that if the spouse gave up a career in academia to make the move, it is only fair that said spouse receive a salary for services rendered to the university.

Now, I guess I can see that if the spouse was indeed an academician, but that is not always the case. Mr. Carol Cartwright, for example, pursued his own career in whatever it was while his wife was president of the university, and did not seem to expect the university to support him. On the other hand, I doubt that he hosted many teas during his tenure as "first gentleman" of KSU.

Kristy said...

There's a good chapter on the university president's wife issue in the book The Meaning of Wife, which is a pretty good feminist review of wife-dom without being too wrought or heavy handed.

I made Tom read it, but I think he skipped that part ;)

Kathy said...

What makes you think that Cartwright is off the dole? She is still collecting as well as the two new assistants. I wish just once the staff in the trenches would get a "bonus" for all the hard work that goes into their meeting their goals. And what about that trip the President and wife just went on? $1700+ a night for a hotel room! KSU must have gotten a huge hunk of money with no strings attached or we will soon be swimming in a sea of red ink.

anne mancine said...

Kristy - You and Tom have mentioned that book before. I will have to see if it is available at the local library.

Kath - I just didn't know if the university was still paying Cartwright or not. You have touched on a topic for one of my future diatribes: how grossly underpaid and overworked the (mostly female) staff is at KSU.

I read something about this trip that Lefton took - was it to Europe? - but I don't know any of the details.