Joey Coleman: Could the release of university presidential contracts actually work against the public interest?

Could the release of university presidential contracts actually work against the public interest?

I’m tempted to think the release of all these presidential contracts may actually work to increase university president’s compensation levels, especially in the case of retirement payouts.

Back in April 2005, Pauline Tam and Sarah Schmidt of The Ottawa Citizen wrote an extensive article on university presidential payouts. It was entitled “Carleton stands by president’s lucrative deal” and focused on a payout of over $550,000 to then retiring president Richard Van Loon. The article noted many other schools have the same perk.

The article made a point of noting that not all universities waste taxpayer dollars gave golden handshakes and used the University of Guelph as the example.

When Mordechai Rozanski retired in 2003 after 10 years as president at Guelph, he received no golden handshake. Had he returned to the faculty ranks, he would have only received one-semester of leave to re-establish his teaching and research. Yes, back in 2003, the University of Guelph actually used administrative leave for it’s intended purpose – to further the mission of the university.

Since the publishing of *The Citizen *story, this has changed. The University of Guelph has joined it’s peers in making administrative leave a golden handshake. The current UofG president will be getting a payout upon retiring in lieu of administrative leave.

We’ve often heard the line from universities that presidential contracts are comparable from institution to institution. Having read the contracts, it’s clear that different presidents get different perks and each contract is very individualized. Now that universities can compare the perks across the system, I’d expect their standardize perks across different institutions. I doubt they will cut the perks.

You think their overpaid now? It’s going to get worse.