Friday, July 24, 2015

NYU Epitomizes Administrative Plundering?

By Professor Doom

          NYU is a private, nonprofit university that’s notorious for being extremely expensive, with tuition rising every year. As always, these increases are justified because “not enough money,” but a number of faculty got together and did some research. Their findings are collected in a series of essays called The Art of the Gouge. These essays detail how NYU is rapaciously cheating students,  squandering the money on real estate deals, and looting the coffers for the benefit of administration.

      It isn’t simply the money being plundered, huge sums, it’s the effect of this plundering on the students. The student loan scam system was supposed to provide money for education, but because accreditation (which legitimizes institutions) is completely bogus, it’s turned into a system of easy money, money that seldom goes to education.

      Let’s take a look at some examples of plundering:

     While I’ve certainly covered outrageous pay for the Poo Bahs before, and it’s been in the news a few times, the gentle reader needs to understand that pay is only part of the compensation. Millions more is given to Poo Bahs in the form of real estate and other perks. Apparently even that is not enough, as they also can get sweetheart loans, loans that eventually get forgiven. Hey, do you think the student loans could be forgiven like this?

       Just a little more discussion on how much the Poo Bah gets when you look at more than just salary:

“…what with his $1,404,484 base salary (and $88,000 expense account); lifetime annuity of $800,000…$2.6 million "length of service" bonus…$1 million "loan" to buy his summer home…100% healthcare coverage…car and driver…and his apartment at 29 Washington Place (whence, reportedly, the car and driver take him back and forth to work at Bobst, across the Square)…”

          Now, in theory, a board of trustees is supposed to stop this sort of thing, to help keep expenses in check. All too often there’s a cozy relationship between the trustees and the administration, and NYU is over-the-the top in this regard:

“Since Mr. Lipton took the helm in 1998, he has forged NYU's Board into a group of overseers exceptional in Academia not only for its size
—95 members, including Life Trustees and Trustee Associates
—but for its total lack of academic members, …”

     With neither administration nor the board having any educators involved, these people have been free to loot and plunder without reservation, never considering NYU’s supposed mission of education and research. It really shows in administrative pay:

“…From 2011 through 2013, according to NYU's 990s (the latest publicly available), the 21 administrators deemed "essential personnel" saw their total salary jump from $20,496,794 to $23,590,458…”

--do note we’re only talking 2 years of pay raises here, and we’re averaging over a million dollars a year salary per administrator.

     As the gentle reader can see, it’s not just the Poo Bah who gets ridiculous pay (again, this is just salary, perks can easily double the above numbers). It’s not just the amount, either, these people get regular, and very large pay raises, with 20% per year not out of the question. Meanwhile, faculty get their pay cut, and students see their tuition rise. There’s no money, you see…
     While faculty tighten their belts down to the “skeleton” notch, students are really paying the price:

Among our female students, hundreds—more than at any other university—pay by having to resort to prostitution, through
online "dating" services that cater to affluent older men.(We have been compiling student narratives of such ordeals, which we will publish next semester.)

--one wonders if any of those affluent older men are associated with NYU in an administrative capacity…

      The faculty, wisely, don’t dare attribute their name to this document, but I really want to summarize where we are in higher education today. The faculty need food banks and charity to get by, the students are literally prostituting themselves…while administration plunders and loots their way to financial independence. NYU might, maybe, be the worst plundering institution, but it’s far from the only. Even if students don’t have to resort to prostitution, they still pay the price of administrative plundering at this non-profit institution in other ways:

       “…who run afoul of a bureaucracy dysfunctional because of ruthless budget-cutting at its lower levels, leaving countless students often struggling over billing errors, late paychecks, snafus in financial aid and other time-consuming glitches.
And while NYU's top brass live in luxury, our students' dorms are often crumbling, cramped, under-heated, without air conditioning or otherwise neglected…”

     The faculty who composed this report also delve into the real estate dealings of NYU, well worth considering, as they shed some light on why many campuses across the country are choking on construction dust.

     Next time.

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