Wednesday, January 6, 2021

UT Austin President Eats Cake in a Pandemic (Austin Longhorn*)

For years, I have been amazed at the heights of hypocrisy at The University of Texas at Austin. When I was in college, the UT President’s salary was around $500,000. I felt that was outrageous.

Having seen that many of my peers graduate without a good job, it felt terrible to see the leader who is supposed to make its stakeholders succeed is just enjoying life at the top with an insane salary most of the students would never make, even in their wildest dreams.

The career services were horrible at the university. I bet that is still the case. Before Betsy DeVos’s horrible decision to rescind the Gainful Employment Placement Rule, we at least had an idea, though imperfect, how graduates were faring. We don’t even have that information now. However, this article is not about Betsy DeVos or Gainful Employment Placement Data. It is about the callousness of UT Austin President Jay Hartzell who has received a $1.25 Million salary. Yes, you read that right. $1.25 Million in salary that was approved during a pandemic.

The reasoning behind The University of Texas System Regents is that peer institution presidents have similar salariesLet us assume that it takes top dollar to recruit top talent.  But how do you explain a $1.25 Million salary during a Global Pandemic when people are struggling to pay rent or mortgage and are basically lining up at the local food pantry to get food? It is almost saying “Let Them Eat Cake” to every hardworking person who is unable to feed their family while the UT Austin President enjoys an outrageous salary.

UT Austin and every university collects data on their graduates using a Qualtrics or other company survey that the graduates fill out electronically. It is not that President Hartzell did not know that the university students are struggling in the job market. He knows. Yet, he does not care. He cares about his salary and a rubber stamp board of regents approving such a salary.

To put it in perspective, the US President makes $400,000. TX Governor makes $150,000. The Austin Mayor in whose city UT Austin is located makes $80,000. That means with a $1.25 Million salary, Hartzell makes almost double than the salaries of the US President, TX Governor and Austin Mayor make in salaries combined. How do you explain about recruiting top talent when there are public officials who have a lot more responsibilities, who are top of the line talent, that work for less compared to the UT Austin President?

President Hartzell is disingenuous of his empathy for the working man or woman. Hopefully he will  offer to take less in salary and work for the welfare of the student body by reforming career services. Until then, he is going to leave a “Let Them Eat Cake” feeling in the working people’s lives.

Related links:

The College Dream is Over (Gary Roth)
Executive Compensation at Public and Private Colleges (Chronicle of Higher Education)

No comments: