At Universities, Plum Post at Top Is Now Shaky

Gallaudet Protesters are not Alone. Many other colleges and universities are going through or have recently gone through their own protests, for many different reasons, and some for very similar reasons to Gallaudet’s protest. What we did as protesters was not so unusual. What we accomplished IS. But it does not end there.

As can be seen in this New York times article below, the Right to student and faculty expression is alive and well all over the country. The Expression guidelines that I.K. Jordan shoved though last summer in response to the May 2006 protest must be tossed out. If reprisals and accountability are to continue to be enforced against students who were already punished with arrests and fines and a permanent police record, then so too must accountability be expected of every administrative stoogie who carried out destructive orders from I.K. Jordan, Jane Fernandes and Paul Kelly. In a fair and just society, one cannot expect accountability from the youngsters who were fighting for their right to be heard, and not expect equal accountability from the ‘professional’ administrative peons who fought for their right to remain jackasses. It’s time to pin the tail on these donkeys. / -Ken @ BiblioMarket

David A. Caputo, the president of Pace University, has ricocheted from one crisis to another.

The New York Times
January 9, 2007
By Karen W. Arenson


Christopher Malone, a faculty member, protesting the arrest of student demonstrators at Pace University. [G. Paul Burnett/The New York Times]

Freshman enrollment this fall at his sprawling, six-campus university in Manhattan and Westchester County plunged after a big tuition increase. That led to a sizable deficit, a hiring freeze, demonstrations, the threat of a no-confidence vote by the faculty, and attacks on his annual compensation of nearly $700,000.

“It’s been a hell of a grim semester,” Dr. Caputo said in a recent interview.

Now he is fighting to save his presidency at a time when many university leaders have been ousted after faculty or student challenges.

The most celebrated case involved Lawrence H. Summers, the former Treasury secretary who resigned the Harvard University presidency last February after a stormy five-year tenure, which included a no-confidence vote by the Faculty of Arts and Sciences and the prospect of another.

But top officials have also departed after no-confidence votes at a range of other campuses, large and small, public and private, including Gallaudet University, the nation’s premier institution for the deaf; Case Western Reserve, a major research university in Ohio; Baylor University, a Baptist institution in Texas; and the small University of Maine at Presque Isle.

Circumstances vary, but the overthrow of Dr. Summers may have been contagious.

At Case Western, where the prospect of a cumulative three-year deficit of $100 million led to unrest, Lawrence Krauss, a physics and astronomy professor, said that the Harvard episode had shown him how faculty members could take action. “I was emboldened by it,” said Dr. Krauss, who initiated the campaign last February to oust the president, Edward M. Hundert.

The clashes on many of the campuses reflect the increasingly uneasy relationship between those running colleges and those teaching at them, as the institutions grow more complex and the presidents become more like chief executives than stewards of academic life.

A university presidency, once a plum post, has become “a position of extraordinary precariousness,” said Richard P. Chait, a professor of higher education at Harvard. He described the no-confidence votes as signs that faculties and administrators were so much at odds that they were “close to having irreconcilable differences.”

Salary gaps contribute to the problem, as pay packages for many university presidents top $500,000. “That sets the presidents off, compared to the rest of the faculty,” said Ronald G. Ehrenberg, a professor of economics and industrial and labor relations at Cornell University .

After Indiana State University’s board gave its president, Lloyd W. Benjamin III, a raise of $25,000, to $221,000, despite freezes on pay and on staff hiring, he was hit last May with a 31-7 vote of no confidence by the faculty senate. So far, he has survived.

At Case Western, the trustees initially defended Dr. Hundert after last year’s no-confidence vote by the faculty of the College of Arts and Sciences, but still he resigned within weeks. “A president is ultimately a colleague,” said Dr. Krauss, who had pushed for Dr. Hundert’s ouster. “But it is easy for that to disappear now, and for the president to become isolated, because the demands on them are so great.” Presidents today are under great pressure to raise money and market their institutions, he said.

The turmoil of the past semester at Pace illustrates some of the same tensions and demands that have brought down so many university chiefs: financial difficulties, the personal style of the president and a quest for rapid change.

Founded as a business school 100 years ago, Pace still prides itself on providing professional education for first-generation college students. Today the university also has schools of law, nursing, education, computer science and information systems, and arts and sciences.

Dr. Caputo, a political scientist who was president of Hunter College of the City University of New York, was hired six years ago. The chairman of Pace’s trustees, Aniello A. Bianco, said the board wanted the university to continue its traditional role, but also wanted a president who would raise standards, improve Pace’s image and elicit more donations.

Dr. Caputo, Mr. Bianco said, “has done a terrific job,” hiring faculty members with stronger credentials, helping students and faculty members win more research grants and fellowships, and doubling the proportion of alumni donors.

In 2003, however, Dr. Caputo took a risky move, adopting a plan for guaranteed tuition. It froze tuition for each incoming class, so that students would pay the same amount for four or five years, even though the university could still raise tuition annually for each new class.

The gamble backfired. “We thought it would help us attract students, but we kept waiting,” Dr. Caputo said. “And people were still dropping out for financial reasons.”

That was enough of a problem for a university that has had years of flat or declining enrollment. But last spring, Pace announced that it would raise annual tuition for new students by 19 percent, to $29,454, nearly double what it charged in 1999, the year before Dr. Caputo took office. The number of new full-time freshmen plunged 23 percent in the fall, to 1,131. Faced with projections of a revenue shortfall of nearly $30 million — about 10 percent of its budget — the university imposed cutbacks and a hiring freeze.

At the same time, students came across a newspaper article that reported that Dr. Caputo received $672,239 in compensation in 2004-5.

The trustees said that their consultants had examined what presidents earned at similar institutions and believed the money was warranted.

(The Chronicle of Higher Education said in November that its annual survey of compensation found that among leaders of 853 universities, colleges and specialized schools, 112 were paid at least $500,000.)

But many Pace students and faculty members objected. Nancy R. Reagin, a professor of history and the chairwoman of women’s and gender studies, called Dr. Caputo’s salary “obscene.”

Lauren A. Giaccone, a senior who helped lead a protest against the president in November, said at the time, “He is making $700,000 at the same time that he has raised tuition, decreased financial aid, raised housing rates and increased the price of the meal plan.”

Many faculty members say that the president does not communicate enough and that his manner is grating. “Our former president we called Pat,” said Sid Ray, a professor of English and women’s and gender studies, referring to Patricia Ewers. “But he is President Caputo.”

In the interview, Dr. Caputo said: “I’ll accept some criticism. But I’ve tried to be open. I spend a great deal of time trying to be accessible. But obviously it’s not accessible enough.”

In October, Pace’s Joint Faculty Council presented him and the board with a set of demands, including eliminating the tuition-guarantee plan or making it optional; appointing a faculty member to the board; and rolling back Dr. Caputo’s salary to its 2001 level ($287,500, with an additional $61,000 in benefits), adjusted for inflation.

Struggling to hold off a no-confidence vote, Dr. Caputo and the board offered an eight-page response. Dr. Caputo conceded that the relationship between faculty and administrators was “not as it should be.”

He announced that Pace would add a faculty member to its board of nearly 30 trustees; eliminate the guaranteed tuition plan; and not raise tuition next year. He did not say he would cut his salary. He and Mr. Bianco, Pace’s chairman, also said they would try to improve their dialogue with the faculty.

Relations between Dr. Caputo and the faculty have remained testy, especially after the New York City police arrested five students, including three from Pace, who were demonstrating on campus in November and calling for the president’s resignation. Two were jailed overnight. Pace officials had called the police; Dr. Caputo said the students did not have permission for their protest.

Some faculty members responded with their own demonstration last month. More than 100 people turned out, with signs that read, “Defend Freedom of Expression” and “We Protest Student Arrests.”

Dr. Caputo met for more than an hour with faculty members and students after the December demonstration, but many participants said they were still dissatisfied. Last week, the Joint Faculty Council asked that the board to include faculty members in its deliberations on a new financial plan, and Dr. Caputo suggested in a conciliatory response that they consider meeting with him. For now, the question of a no-confidence vote remains up in the air.

Dispute Arises Over Film on Islam

The president of a Jewish student group at Pace University accused Pace administrators yesterday of trying to stop the group, Hillel, from showing a documentary, “Obsession: Radical Islam’s War Against the West,” after Muslim students objected.

Michael Abdurakhmanov, a junior who is the Hillel president, said that he had invited the Muslim Students Association to suggest a speaker for the program, but that the association instead notified a dean.

He said the dean had advised him not to show the film last fall and suggested that if he did, the police could be called in and Hillel members could be considered suspects in acts of bias against Muslims.

Not long before, copies of the Koran, the holy book of Islam, had been found tossed in toilets at Pace.

Christopher T. Cory, a Pace spokesman, said yesterday that the university had never told Hillel not to show the film, but had cautioned that it would need to notify the police if it expected that an event might incite violence.

Mr. Abdurakhmanov said Hillel planned to show the film in the spring. Zeina Berjaoui, president of the Muslim group, said she would oppose showing the movie then, too.


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One thought on “At Universities, Plum Post at Top Is Now Shaky

  1. So dear readers forum! What in your view should be present man? What qualities have? What should be able to do?
    Interested in your opinion?

    P.S. Please administrator If the thread is not to be in category this, I ask you to move my thread to the correct category.


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