An exchange on Twitter about the state of Illinois surprised me, and that is hard to do when it comes to government issues. The exchange started with a Tweet from government reform group Reboot Illinois:
“GOING UP: 11 out of 12 Illinois public universities increase tuition rates: ow.ly/AAfmQ”
I retorted, “Way to go, Dems.” Because as we all know, Illinois and its banner city Chicago are Democrat-controlled. Despite the ongoing queue of Democrat governors either sitting in prison or having served time, the good people of Illinois remain blindly faithful to their party.
At any rate, I received a response to my Tweet from Reboot Illinois:
“Reboot Illinois @rebootillinois 1h
@DayontheDay Sadly, this has been going on for decades. Both parties are guilty of cutting support to higher ed.: http://ow.ly/ACLrI”
I responded I was addressing the header in the Tweet—Illinois—“Dem stronghold.” Then I added, “And how much do those university presidents get paid? Start cuts there.”
Then I got the surprise.
RI tweeted me a list of some of the state’s university presidents’ salaries. One gets around half a million dollars base salary. Another gets more than half a million if additional compensation is counted. Chicago State is the only university on the list that pays its president a bit less than $200,000 a year.
Democrats made CEO salaries a pillar in their populist messaging during recent elections. What the private sector pays a CEO or any employee is none of the government’s business, or for that matter, mine or yours either.
What the state provides in funding to pay public university presidents is the people’s business.
Perhaps these universities need some sort of commission to consider where cuts can be made instead of continuing to increase tuition and likely future debt for students. They could start with cuts to those presidents’ salaries. Then they could move onto travel budgets for administrators, conference fees, dues paid on behalf of employees to professional organizations, and take it from there.
A red pen can do an academic body a world of good.
Featured Photo: Via Reboot Illinois, a sample list of public university presidents’ salaries taken from data at the Illinois Board of Higher Education.
(Commentary by Kay B. Day/Aug. 22, 2014)
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