Today’s condemnation of bloated corporate CEO salaries as fallout from the economic crisis should extend to higher education as well, especially public universities. That’s according to A.R.P. Rau, an LSU professor of physics, who expresses his sentiments in a letter to the Chronicle of Higher Education. (Letter available only to paid subscribers).
Rau notes that higher ed administrative salaries in the past decade have soared far out of proportion to faculty and staff. The salaries of chancellors and presidents at some institutions approach $1 million annually, with even deans being paid more than $250,000, he says. Rau has long argued against what he sees as excessive pay raises for LSU chancellors, going back to chancellorship of Mark Emmert, who was making nearly $500,000 when he left LSU in 2004. Today he’s paid more than $900,000 as president of the University of Washington. Current LSU Chancellor Mike Martin receives $400,000 in base salary and will get another $125,000 in deferred salary if he stays for at least five years. High executive salaries at private universities and the private business sector are no excuse for doing the same at public universities, Rau writes in the Chronicle. “Trustees must put reasonable caps on administrators’ salaries before public opprobrium and anger tar our institutions, as has happened in the corporate world.”—Steve Clark