By Professor Doom
So I’m finishing up on an excellent article taking the entire Canadian higher education system to task. The American system operates by essentially the same rules, however, and Canada’s is merely a reflection of the incredibly corrupt system of their much larger southern neighbor.
The last abuse discussed in the article is administrative looting of the system. It’s little different, of course, from what goes on in the U.S., only smaller in scale. For American readers, you should increase the numbers given by around 40% to get an idea of what even a tiny college is raking in from the taxpayers.
In 2011, David Johnston, president of the University of Waterloo, made $1,041,881. Indira Samarasekera of the University of Alberta had a total compensation package of over $1.1 million in the final year of her contract. Elizabeth Cannon of the University of Calgary and David Turpin of the University of Alberta banked $897,000 and $824,000 respectively during the 2016–’17 academic year. Even presidents at small- and medium-sized universities now routinely receive between $300,000 and $500,000 in compensation, this not including additional forms of remuneration that combined can reach as high as $200,000 per year.
The author paints in well-documented but broad strokes, so allow me to fill in an important missing detail:
Administrators greatly outnumber faculty, and the latter have seen their salaries actually shrink over the years, especially as more and more faculty positions become “part time” jobs, or at least are paid as much.
Yes, the person at the top is making sickening amounts of money, and it’s even more repugnant when you consider these guys gets perks like free cars, free jets, a free mansion, a personal restaurant, an expense account greater all by itself more than faculty pay, and all the other insane benefits that simply did not exist before the student loan scam drowned our campuses in money.
But compounding this putrescent pay is the legion, and I do mean legion, of under-administrators infesting our campuses. Yes, I’ve seen a couple of classrooms-buildings erected in my 30 years of teaching in higher ed…but I’ve seen more administrative palaces built in the last 2 years than all the classrooms-buildings of my career put together.
These palaces are built from the ground up with luxury and beauty in mind, great glittering chateaus built for the royal caste sucking up all that student loan money. Our campuses are covered in these things, and each one is filled with functionaries, from deanlings to vice-presidents of Diversity (oh so many of those!), and they, too are paid handsomely, often with royal perks which, all by themselves, any faculty would feel privileged to take in lieu of their usual adjunct pay.
Every year, the statistics on salary are compiled…and every year, these guys see a 10% or more pay raises. Anyone who feels like it can see with his own eyes that making less than $100,000 a year as a college administrator, no matter how irrelevant the position, is difficult to do. Meanwhile, your typical college teacher qualifies for food stamps (no money in the budget, you see. Too bad.).
After a lifetime of teaching, my retirement package beyond money I was forced to invest (at ridiculously poor returns) is typical: zero. It’s different for admin:
Peter George netted $1.4 million after leaving his position at McMaster University, $99,999 annually, or one dollar less than the salary limit prescribed by the Public Sector Salary Disclosure Act (PSDA) so McMaster wouldn’t have to reveal the amount publicly. And this doesn’t include the tens of thousands of dollars George received in additional compensation for insurance, health care, car allowance, and travel — all after he’d resigned!
--emphasis added. Do note that even when these people quit, they still get huge rewards.
I’ve mentioned before the insane golden parachutes these guys get, which are only a fraction of what the author sees in Canada. Isn’t it completely ridiculous that you can quit your job as a university admin and still rake in the loot? I emphasize we see this in the US on a regular basis as well.
In case the gentle reader is wondering how a system could be so broken that saying “I quit this job,” even quitting under a cloud of criminal accusations and obvious fraud, could still merit a million dollars or more of bonus payments, the underlying concept is called “best practices.” Honest, they justify the looting because of prior looting…it’s just that simple.
…these packages don’t compare to the one received by Harvey Weingarten, former president of the University of Calgary, who stands to collect as much as $4.75 million in pension monies after serving as president for only eight years. The discovery of Weingarten’s remuneration package came to light just as he was warning the University of Calgary community that up to 200 jobs would have to be cut in an effort to address a budget shortfall of $14 million.
The ostentatious arrogance of the Poo Bah does nothing for my temper. The above is little different than being told the school just doesn’t have the budget for the $10,000 it would take to light up the parking lot so the students could feel safe…then watching the $500,000 a year Poo Bah get into his $80,000 “perk” car and go to his $1,000,000 home (mostly paid for by his annual $300,000 year bonus for good growth), while the $100,000 a year dean and her $80,000 a year assistant tells us all dozen faculty at the school have been denied our 1% pay raises because no money, you see; and all five $100,000 a year HR people and the $150,000 a year Vice President of Finance confirm the Dean is telling the truth. Afterwards, the $250,000 Vice-Provost and his $80,000 secretary also come in to confirm it. After the 3 pm meeting, we bump into the $120,000 Registrar and four of her co-workers whose titles we can’t guess coming back from lunch at a place we all know about, but could never dream of having enough money to eat there just because it's lunch time.
In a school with only a couple thousand students on campus, by the way.
I’d like to conclude by addressing our university administrators directly. So far I’ve written about you; now I want to talk to you.
For laughs, the author actually addresses the admin…you’ve got to be kidding me. Please understand the numbers being quoted here are not pulled out of a hat…they’re documented—these schools take government money, you see, and one of the many government strings attached to that money is documentation of how it’s spent.
The first thing faculty expect from you is some honesty about the situation. The data is in and all credible sources agree that our students are in trouble and so too is our curriculum. We can’t get anywhere if you continue to deny what’s actually happening. The university in this regard increasing feels like a government in permanent damage control, where nary a word against anything can be spoken and no admission of failure is permitted. If you’d simply drop the facade we might be able to get somewhere.
Wow, asking for honesty? Good luck with that. The primary reason these guys lie so blatantly is because there’s nothing to stop them now. Addressing admin and asking them to play nice accomplishes nothing.
On the other hand, simply starving them out, by shutting down that student loan scam, will get their attention far more effectively than polite requests to stop looting so much.
I grant my solution is as likely to occur as polite requests are as likely to be heeded, at least in the near term. However, at some point, the money will stop flowing.
Finally, you must drop the childish and short-sighted sidelining of sciences and humanities not obviously related to your commercial interests…
The author then goes on to ask for quite a few other things from admin, but this is just extended idiocy. Admin holds all the cards, and these appeals are as pathetic as those from the high school nerd begging for mercy as a bully pummels him again and again…It’s not gonna happen, and so not worth further comment on my part.
The comments are, of course, quite supportive, but all neglect to point out the simple fact that the solutions and appeals the author provides have zero chance of changing anything on campus.
I assure the reader: stop the flow of billions of dollars via the student loan scam, and campuses will change very, very, quickly.