This is actually a follow-up to two of my previous posts, “The Deepening Caste System in Higher Education” and “The Business Model for Higher Education.”
In the first of those two posts, I describe the sweet deal that Richard Herman, the former president of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, received after he was forced to resign because of a politically charged admissions scandal and then assumed a faculty position.
The second of those posts is actually a re-post from the CFHE “On the Issues” blog, which presents a comment on the institutional justifications for Gordon Gee’s extraordinarily high compensation and extraordinarily liberal expense accounts as the president of Ohio State University. Indeed, those justifications have continued to be presented to the media even after he has been forced to resign from the presidency of OSU because of a series of inappropriate jokes that he made “off the record” but on video about other institutions.
Well, it turns out that, in comparison to the post-resignation deal that Gee appears to be getting, Richard Herman settled for peanuts. And if Gee’s compensation and expense accounts as president have seemed excessive, what he is receiving after he has been forced to resign as president can perhaps only be described as equally unprecedented.
First, Gee is remaining with the university in the newly created position of “President Emeritus.” The university claims that it has not yet finalized the terms of his new contract, in particular the compensation that he will receive and the size of his expense account. Yet, although the financial terms of Gee’s new contract have officially not yet been finalized, the university has definitively indicated that his new contract will be for the next five years.
If the physical accommodations that they are providing for him are any indication, Gee will end up being paid more as “President Emeritus” than the majority of serving presidents now receive. For the university has already approved architectural plans for a new suite of offices for Gee and his staff, and the cost to alter an existing space to accommodate that suite of offices is $190,000.
Gee will eventually be moving out of the university provided mansion in which he lives. But the attention to the cost of his new suite of offices has created renewed media attention on the cost of renovating that mansion ahead of his return to Ohio State for a second go-round as president. In 2008, as the country was entering the Great Recession, the university spent $1.39 million on those renovations and spent an additional $673,000 on décor and furnishings.
There is no word yet on the cost for new living quarters for the new “President Emeritus.”