Back to Index

UNITED STATES: Universities and their priorities

A recent posting questioned the huge salaries the presidents of private universities earn, while graduate students go heavily in debt, teaching assistants fight for the right to unionize to defend their rights, and nurses strike over heavy workloads and poor pay.

That is not the end of it. Football coaches earn such large salaries that many universities refuse to publicize the figures. Athletics have priority. Bienvenido Macario send this item: "The Knoxville News-Sentinel reported in October that a recent University of Tennessee Medical Center memo directs that UT athletes be treated in the emergency room ahead of all other patients (except those with trauma or chest pain). According to the protocol, if the athletic department calls ahead, the caller will not be put on hold, the athlete's medical records will be pulled immediately, and, upon arrival, the athlete will be escorted to a private room and treated promptly. (Until recently, the Medical Center was embarrassed that UT athletes preferred treatment by the competing St. Mary's Medical Center.)"

At the top of the financial totem pole are the unpublicized university investment officers. Harvard paid $9.5 million in salary and bonuses to one of its portfolio managers (U.S. News & World Report, 11/15/00). They are wizards. Notre Dame heads the list, proving the power of prayer. Its endowment earned a 62% return in 2000, followed by Virginia, Dartmouth, Virginia, Michigan, Yale, Chicago, Southern California, Princeton and Northwestern. The only explanation I can think of is that trustees representing large corporations facilitate matters. Their own rewards are similar to those of the of the university investment officers. Our system may be such that individuals with an uncanny sense of financial market matters control our society.

This may be a law of economics, but it will be hard to persuade the world at large that this is compassionate conservatism or a Utopian system. Anti-globalists cannot be dismissed as dangerous radicals, even though many demonstrators against globalist meetings are. We must face up to these issues. The motto of Cambridge and Harvard universities is simply "Veritas", "The Truth". Financial officers at Notre Dame and elsewhere may prefer the Oxford motto "Deus Illuminatio Mea."

Ronald Hilton - 12/28/00