Presidential pay amid recession

Despite a troubling economy, the Chronicle of Higher Education recently reported that the median pay and benefits for college presidents rose 7.6 percent in 2007-2008, to $427,400 , for the leaders of major colleges and universities across the country. The University of Minnesota was one of 14 public universities that paid its top official more than $700,000 of total compensation in 2007-2008. Databases show University of Minnesota President Bob Bruininks received a base salary of $423,000 . But also included in his contract is a house and retirement plan to top his total compensation out at $733,421 for the year 2007-2008. The non-salary money is a part of a five-year deferred compensation plan meant as a retention incentive. It seems that university presidents keep finding ways to increase their already lucrative pay packages, despite the budget problems their institutions are currently facing. The number of colleges who pay their president more than $700,000 of total compensation has increased from eight in 2006-2007 to 14 in this school year. Bruininks was one of those who received a hefty raise last year, increasing his base salary from $383,221.24 to $423,000 in the year 2007-2008. As has widely been reported, the current economic situation is dire, at best, for both public and private institutions around the country. As long as programs are being cut and tuition is rising, colleges and universities cannot continue to allocate such a large portion of their resources to one position. We applaud the announcement by Bruininks of the upcoming salary freeze for all university senior executives, including himself. We believe that the intent is to better partition this institutionâÄôs resources in such an uncertain time. The University is sending a clear message to taxpayers that their money is being wisely spent, even in a time like this.