Could the Seawolves community learn from a similar college community nearby? On Sept. 21, it was reported in Sports Illustrated and the New York Daily News that UConn’s Hall of Fame basketball coach, Geno Auriemma, would voluntarily not accept a salary until the Connecticut legislature passed a fiscal budget that would rescind the current proposed cuts to the university. While Stony Brook University has seen decreases in its state appropriations in recent memory, there has not been a public face willing to sacrifice like the basketball coach at UConn. Auriemma said that he decided to undertake this because the proposed cuts would hinder academic excellence and accessibility at UConn for his grandchildren and future Huskies. I wonder why there has not been any similar talk here at Stony Brook. Would the members of the current administration be willing to do the same?
Could the current Stony Brook administration take a cue from the old sports saying, “there’s no ‘I’ in team?” It has been reported that Kenneth Kaushansky, M.D., senior vice president for Health Sciences and dean of the School of Medicine at Stony Brook University, is in the running to be the president of the University of New Mexico. Perhaps, we (as a collective community) are not paying him enough. The New York Post reported that Kaushansky made over $700,000 in 2010. He is currently making even more than president Stanley. The prior provost (Dennis N. Assanis) also left to seek a higher salary.
In 2015, Stanley alone saw a contracted 10% increase in his state salary ($40,640) to $440,640 from $400,000, according to the Empire Center for Public Policy, a fiscally-conservative think tank and government watchdog organization based in Albany, New York. His state salary did not increase from 2009 to 2014 but he still received a separate salary from the Research Foundation of $250,000. According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, for the 2014-2015 school year, Stanley took home a $690,640 paycheck. They found that for every million that Stony Brook spent, Stanley received $319.
President Stanley has previously donated $125,000 in 2012 (for endowed scholarships) and $50,000 in 2014 to the Stony Brook Children’s Hospital. However, there is no information to what he has donated in 2016 or 2017. I wonder if Stony Brook’s budget is so dire that it needs to reduce available academic programs, would it be only logical that everyone would share in these reductions? Has anyone asked Stanley to reduce his salary to something similar to Governor Cuomo’s? The governor’s office did make a suggestion in 2016 that college presidents were overpaid.
I wonder the counterargument that would be presented that would say that the president’s salary is in line with other AAUP college salaries or is paid for his worth to the institution. While I understand the value of a salary and that a college president should be paid for his or her services, should the president lead by example and temporarily reduce his salary to be that of Cuomo ($179,000)? I could imagine the lifestyle changes that would occur if you go from a six figure salary to a lesser six figure salary or the number of ramen noodles that are had. The President does receive a car allowance and other fringe benefits, according to public documents.
According to the Chronicle of Higher Education, Stanley’s more than $700,000 paycheck in the 2015-2016 school year was equivalent to the average tuition for 80 Seawolves. The Chronicle reported the average tuition to be $8,855. I wonder what positive impacts to the community might occur with this budget line transfer? I could imagine that Stanley would receive some well needed good will. He did just start holding office hours, an idea that has talked about since earlier in the year. As President Stanley is a member of the Division I Board of Directors for NCAA, I would like to end by saying, “the ball is in your court, sir!”