The Academic Community Fights Administrative Bloat

Several dozen Canadian academics have utilized a job vacancy at the University of Alberta to protest high administrator salaries. Slate's Rebecca Schuman examines administrative bloat and the "corporatization of the University."

What's the Latest?


Slate is featuring today an article penned by Rebecca Schuman that highlights a protest stunt concocted by a professor at the University of Alberta. The University's president, Indira Samarasekera, is on her way out. In an act of sardonic dissent, academics from across Canada (formed into 14 groups of four) are applying to be Samarasekera's successor and split her $400,000 (in Canadian dollars) salary. After all, that $400 grand split four ways would still represent a hefty pay raise for many of them. The Alberta stunt is the latest in an array of protests against administrative bloat

What's the Big Idea?

Schuman's article provides a run-down of recent examples of what she calls "the corporatization of the university." There's the $6 million severance package given to former Ohio State president E. Gordon Gee. There's the free apartment enjoyed by the chancellor of CUNY. Meanwhile, the cost of higher education keeps rising at an alarming rate and an impending student debt crisis threatens to handcuff a generation.

In highlighting the twisted priorities of the higher education system, Schuman points our attention toward the aforementioned ex-president of Ohio State:

If Gee had selflessly capped his buyout at, say, a meager $1 million, the university could have offered $10,000 scholarships to 500 additional students (or hired 100 new faculty at $50,000 each, give or take). 

But he didn't, so they didn't. After all, who needs selflessness when you can just pass the bill to your students?

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Photo credit: l i g h t p o e t / Shutterstock

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