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NYU President John Sexton
In a New York Times story on just how thoroughly corrupt and self-absorbed our nation's elites have become, is this entry on my alma mater:
The house, which is owned by John Sexton, the president of New York University, was bought with a $600,000 loan from an N.Y.U. foundation that eventually grew to be $1 million, according to Suffolk County land records. It is one of a number of loans that N.Y.U. has made to executives and star professors for expensive vacation homes in areas like East Hampton, Fire Island and Litchfield County, Conn., in what educational experts call a bold new frontier for lavish university compensation.

N.Y.U. has already attracted attention for the multimillion-dollar loans it extends to some top executives and professors buying homes in New York City, a practice it has defended as necessary to attract talent to one of the most expensive cities on earth.


Universities in similar circumstances, like Columbia and Stanford, also have helped professors and executives with home loans. Aid for vacation properties, however, is all but unheard-of in higher education, several experts in university pay packages say.

You've heard financial executives use this same excuse for why they have to give even the most abysmal executives millions of bucks in compensation: "we must attract talent." Talent is always measured in the seven figures. But really, the leadership at NYU thinks it is vital to make sure its top executives and professors have multi-million dollar condos in Manhattan as well as summer homes on Fire Island. But what do they do for students? Total cost at NYU for the 2012-2013 school year is an astounding $64,000. And $17,000 of that is just for resident housing, the equivalent of a just over $1,400 per month studio apartment. Only you aren't getting a studio apartment. You're getting this:
The university does not provide loans to cover student housing expenses.

So while NYU executives and "star" professors get low cost loans for multimillion dollar Manhattan condos coupled with a Martha's Vineyard and Nantucket Summer home loans, the students get hit with a $17,000 bill to bunk up with 3 or 4 other people with zero financing. And they get to be taught by underpaid adjunct professors who don't get anywhere close to those kinds of benefits, so that that the "stars" can do "research." Or whatever it is that star professors do. Harold Ford Jr. is on the faculty at NYU and all I can see he ever does is occasionally check in at his office at Morgan Stanley and sit around peddling dumb shit on TV. I'm sure he's the kind of person they'd never be able to get without offering him a luxury apartment and a summer home.

This is all part of a general trend during this New Gilded Age we are living in. Academia is not immune.

Originally posted to Triple-B in the Building on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:28 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Back in the 80s and 90s, the "star" professors (10+ / 0-)

    that were recruited and headhunted and stolen from other universities were the ones that brought in the hardware--the Nobels, Pulitzers, and the research grant money.  And those professors got big bucks.  And the university got prestige and was able to justify tuition increases.

    Lots of stories back then about the cutthroat practices of universities back then and how they were driving some of those salaries way up.

    "Nothing in all the world is more dangerous than sincere ignorance and conscientious stupidity." --M. L. King "You can't fix stupid" --Ron White -6.00, -5.18

    by zenbassoon on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:47:07 AM PDT

  •  Meanwhile our kids have to go into debt (16+ / 0-)

    with rates set to double to be able to get a degree that at this point only guarantees they leave college with a 24% unemployment rate in their age group.


    •  It's sinful. One of the few industries -- and (4+ / 0-)

      that's what it's become -- to sustain price increases on a par with health care.

      Yeah -- what the hell. Let some professors live the good life by doubling tuition and strapping the poor kids with huge debt while providing an education too crappy to justify the cost.


      LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

      by dinotrac on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:51:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Professor salaries are not the issue (3+ / 0-)

        Maybe at Harvard, but not at East State Hometown College, where far, far more students go. Declining state support is probably the biggest factor. When I was in college in the 80s, my state was paying about 75% of my college's expenses. Where I work today, it's about 30%, and that's higher than a lot of places. I would also note that like health care, universities can't really ship their jobs overseas to take advantage of cheap labor. Thus our costs will tend to run ahead of inflation, since we are labor intensive.

        Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

        by tcorse on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:01:30 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Those numbers are meaningless out of context (0+ / 0-)

          There are many  ways for them to be true, including

          1. Costs stay the same but state aid declines
          2. State aid stays the same, but costs go through the roof.

          All I know is that far fewer professors spend far less time teaching than when I went to school and tuition is far higher.

          Students are paying more for less and getting smacked when they graduate.

          LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

          by dinotrac on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 03:53:11 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  both, actually (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            over the course of the last couple of decades state aid to universities has declined precipitously AND costs have increased. Those costs do not include, though, faculty salaries, which have risen at rates that are lower than inflation since 1990.
            The major costs are administrative support and infrastructure.
            (1) There was not internet when I started in academic, now every room has to be connected (and tech-supported).
            (2) Back in the 1970s there were about half as many administrators as faculty. Now there are more administrators than faculty at most universities. Compare their salaries to faculty salaries and you'll see where some of the major cost increases come from.

            There are a lot of things wrong at universities these days, but the faculty have very little control over what's going on.
            Check out Benjamin Ginsberg’s The Fall of the Faculty: The Rise of the All-Administrative university and Why it Matters (2011) for an excellent analysis of the process by which institutions of higher education have been systematically turned into corporatized, neo-liberal institutions of fund raising.

          •  The reverse is true (0+ / 0-)

            Professors teach more now than ever before.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:51:12 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I remember having real professors as an undergrad (0+ / 0-)

              Not so many teaching assistants.

              I don't see much evidence of that being true today.

              LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

              by dinotrac on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:58:39 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

              •  Teaching assistants have replaced full-timers (1+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:

                There's a big difference.

                The argument you're using is like saying the full-time employees at, say, a Walmart store are doing much less work while the part-timers are doing most of the work.

                The reality is both the full-timers and the part-timers are being forced to work harder than ever before.

                The number of full-time professors has dropped from 75% of the professoriate to under 30% in a decade.

                That explains the number of TAs and adjuncts right there. There are more of them than ever before.

                Meanwhile, I work 70 hours a week--and practically more than that when I'm home. I'm on call all the time.

                There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

                by upstate NY on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:40:25 AM PDT

                [ Parent ]

                •  Ah -- I see the disconnect. (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:
                  upstate NY

                  I'm not in education and I'm certainly not in university administration.  I am in no position to know why fewer classes are taught by professors.  If I seem to be saying that individual professors are working less, then I am miscommunicating. No personal disrespect intended. At all.

                  LG: You know what? You got spunk. MR: Well, Yes... LG: I hate spunk!

                  by dinotrac on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:44:52 AM PDT

                  [ Parent ]

  •  and the rates on those loans? (7+ / 0-)

    how do they compare to student loan rates?  Or market mortgage rates, for that matter?

  •  This is a great diary about the racket (11+ / 0-)

    that is higher education. The kicker? You're likely to get out of school and get a job flipping burgers.

    It's here they got the range/ and the machinery for change/ and it's here they got the spiritual thirst. --Leonard Cohen

    by karmsy on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:55:32 AM PDT

  •  As a professor (22+ / 0-)

    I wish I was one of those stars, but alas, looks like that ain't in the cards.

    One thing, when looking at the drivers of tuition increases, sadly, professor and admin salaries are not the leading problem.  The main driver for increased tuition is student services--well equipped gyms, counseling services, much nicer dorms, universal wifi,  vegan options options in the cafeterias, etc.  very simply, if you go to most campuses today, they are very spiffy.  No more shit on a shingle from the cafeteria.

    As a professor, I would love to say the admin salaries are the leading reason for tuition increases, but sadly, they are second to the new services for students. Worse still, colleges have found that all these new services are critical for student recruitment...get the new gym or lose out to colleges that do.

    It's all really ugly.

    "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

    by Empty Vessel on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:59:38 AM PDT

    •  Ps (14+ / 0-)

      Just to be clear, everything you mention is a disgrace.  But the problem is much bigger than just this.

      "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

      by Empty Vessel on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:13:51 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  Based upon conversations I have had with (4+ / 0-)

      Berkeley professors, there has been a major decline in the number of class hours per week professors are required to teach when comparing the 1960s to today.  They were saying 1/2 to 1/3 the number of class hours.  If this is true this is equivalent to a double or triple in faculty pay on a per student basis.

      The most important way to protect the environment is not to have more than one child.

      by nextstep on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:20:55 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  I don't know the numbers (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        MPociask, annetteboardman, SadieSue

        at Berkeley, but I would guess that varies a lot depending on the discipline.  In the sciences, that may well be true.  Less likely elsewhere.

        Also, you are gonna find a huge difference between elite schools like Berkeley and the vast bulk of universities.

        "Empty vessels make the loudest sound, they have the least wit and are the greatest blabbers" Plato

        by Empty Vessel on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 10:15:37 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  If only (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          annetteboardman, SadieSue

          Most of us do not work at Berkeley. I work at a working class university where the class load is officially five classes per semester (5/5, in university jargon) but most of us get "release time" for research and teach 4/4. More prestigious places the load is less (3/3, 2/3, etc.), and very low teaching loads are one of the perks for working at a top-tier research institution.

          Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

          by tcorse on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:06:55 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

      •  It's the exact freakin' opposite! (9+ / 0-)

        Back in the 60s and 70s, my current department had 50 full-time professors. We are down to 22 now.

        The student population has grown by 30%.

        Courses with enrollment under 25 are canceled. A seminar now has 50-60 students in it.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:48:12 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  The community college where I teach (6+ / 0-)

          has had 5 retirements and one quit in a single department over the past 4 years. One new hire. Full-time faculty teach a minimum of 18 credits/semester (6 classes) and adjuncts do the rest.  Most of us won't ever see more than $50,000/year, and that would be after quite a number of years. Some of us will retire with student loan debt.

        •  This is true where I teach, too. (0+ / 0-)

          The course load per term has been reduced, but that's offset by an enormous increase in class size and a ratcheting up of expectations for research productivity.

          I am troubled by the offering of huge salaries and further reduced teaching obligations to a handful of superstars, and I'm troubled by the expansion in the ranks of underpaid adjuncts. Both are forms of exploitation. They show that crude capitalist thinking is eroding the traditional model of the university as a community of scholars.

      •  professors do more than teach (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        PapaChach, LanceBoyle

        Professors jobs have changed over the past few decades. If you look at their contracts, you'll see that teaching is only one of their responsibilities (and one that is given little weight in evaluation and promotion reviews).
        At most universities, tenure-stream faculty are supposed to (1) do research, (2) teach, and (3) do service to the department, university, and discipline. Because tenured faculty are told to get busy bringing in the high-status (but costly) research grants and awards, universities have largely turned to contract faculty to do the lion's share of the teaching. Depending on how you count it up, contract faculty may be teaching as many as 80% of the students in American universities. These instructors are paid something like $1500 per course.

        So if 200 students are enrolled in that class, and only $1500 of the money generated by all those students is going to the instructor, then where is the rest of it going?

    •  Do you have citations for these claims? (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Cat Servant

      For example, you gently mock vegan options, but at least where I went to school, tuition doesn't cover food service.  That's a separate expense  (and as an aside, vegan food is cheaper).  The same goes for dorms - room and board is not part of tuition.

      I see lots of people claiming that fancy health centers are what's driving up tuition, but I don't believe those one-time big ticket items can possibly be responsible for year-after-year-after-year increases in tuition that far outstrip inflation.

      •  Right. It's a shibboleth (0+ / 0-)

        They talk about the exercise facilities and spiffy dorms, but that isn't all.  I think it's exaggerated, and I'd love to see an honest public breakdown of a high-priced private university's finances.  I have kids in two of them now so I have a real vested interest.

        NYU is in a very expensive, desirable neighborhood.  NYU-owned faculty apartment buildings have high rents.  So the dorms are ridiculous too.  They are competing with off-campus apartments and those are absurdly expensive in Manhattan.  My son, however, goes to a nice university in a crufty neighborhood in a low-rent gritty city.   The nicest rooms with kitchens are under $8k/year, food of course being extra.  They have to compete with low local rents, but then their land costs were low too.

        Universities have to have IT departments now; that didn't exist 40 years ago.  But it may be more of an attempt to raise US News ranks, which don't pay much attention to effectiveness, student satisfaction, or graduates' success. They look at spending-related statistics.  So spending more raises your rank.  And that helps get more/better applicants.  It encourages inefficiency.

      •  A faculty member at the university (0+ / 0-)

        where I used to teach, someone involved in budget issues for a large department, assured me those extras are a major factor in increased costs.

        •  In 1991, Cal-Berkeley's budget was (5+ / 0-)

          1.27 billion.

          In 2011, its budget was 1.67 billion.

          In 1991, the state subsidy per student was 16,450.

          In 2011, the state subsidy per student was 9,760.

          In that period, tuition skyrocketed by 750%, or about $9,000, which (inflation-adjusted) is precisely the difference between state-subsidy per student in 1991 and 2011.

          When you look at the numbers, costs are not the concern. Lack of support should be the big concern.

          In 20 years, expenditures at Cal-Berkeley rose according to inflation. And that happened in an era of massive digitization of college campuses (a single room costs $75k to wire) and health care cost rises for employees.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:33:03 PM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, this is precisely it. (6+ / 0-)

            Here is a good source of national cost data:

            These issues are really important and too important to make some of the logical errors in the comments here.  Most important:  There is a big difference between how funding operates at an elite private institution, and how funding works at the vast majority of institutions in the US, attended by an overwhelming majority of college students in the US, and which have historically provided the most access to students of all backgrounds:  public colleges and universities, including community colleges.

            Please, don't take the decisions of elite universities, like Harvard, Stanford, and NYU, imply that this is a problem at all universities, and decide this means that higher education is worthless.  Things are much more complex than this.  And the attack on the university is a very well-worn right wing strategy.  Let's talk about this with more nuance here.

          •  Exactly. (5+ / 0-)

            And a similar phenomenon holds for private universities:  NYU hasn't skyrocketed to 64000/year because somehow it costs that much per person to run a college.  

            NYU is that expensive because (a) it's a designer label enjoying supremely high demand, (b) they can charge huge bux and invest it in infrastructure like research centers, and (c) they can charge huge bux and spend it on tuition aid for poor students, however many of those they may have.

            Private and Public universities have price hikes for very different reasons, but in both cases the prices are not really a matter of operating expenses.

            They are connected, though:  it's politically possible for states to slash tuition subsidies only because private schools are so expensive.  If Princeton cost only $12,000/year, Binghamton University tuition couldn't grow to $8,000/year.

            Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

            by Caj on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:22:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

    •  The main driver is lack of state support (7+ / 0-)

      That's what caused tuitions to go up.

      Universal wifi? It's the digital age. Why would a campus NOT have it? Or wired classrooms?

      Health care costs are a big driver too.

      For private schools, the big driver is maintaining a need blind admissions policy. The more tuition rises, the more money gets redistributed. Right now, cost-per-student at a lot of private schools is $10k below the tuition. That should tell us everything. A lot of money is being taken from richer kids (who have an affirmative action policy) and given to poorer kids.

      Some schools have reversed course. Seton Hall has made a new policy to drop tuition by 10% a year over the next few years. They are being applauded. I guarantee you though that in practice this means that Seton Hall is abandoning need-blind admission policies and adopting new "only the upper middle class need apply" policies.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:46:25 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  For public universities, state support in terms (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      of percentage of the university budgets had gone considerably over the years.

  •  NYC is no longer a viable place for a university. (5+ / 0-)

    Ironically, it's a viable place for a commuter school, since those students by definition have housing already.  But for a residential school it's just a huge premium for something that for most students represented a distraction from rather than an asset to their education.  I don't see this as some big tragedy--you don't have farms or factories in expensive cities, so just add residential universities to the list--except insofar as the universities won't do the rational thing and pack up, because they can subsidize this craziness from so many sources, willing and unwilling.

    You know, I sometimes think if I could see, I'd be kicking a lot of ass. -Stevie Wonder at the Glastonbury Festival, 2010

    by Rich in PA on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:00:54 AM PDT

  •  I hate the generalization going on. (12+ / 0-)

    Our faculty is negotiating our union contract and struggling to get an offer of a 2% increase in salaries.

    •  5 years without a raise for my (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      snowwoman, annetteboardman, SadieSue

      research 1 AAU institution.

      We just had a furlough (2% drop in salary) and a $1,500 increase in health insurance payments.

      Then our union sold us out. Only raises in the future come for promotions. Just swell, for the vast majority of us, we don't receive step promotions as staff do. We get one promotion in our lifetimes: tenure-track to tenure.

      All my colleagues are advising undergrads not to go on for graduate work, while internally we discuss what happens if we cut back on TAs, which is the ethical thing to do.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:51:57 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

    •  We went four years without a raise (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      annetteboardman, SadieSue

      There were a couple of one-time bonuses of a few hundred dollars in there. And our adjuncts have not gotten a raise in over a decade.

      Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

      by tcorse on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:13:33 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  University I attended in California does it (10+ / 0-)

    No "elites", just regular professors teaching english or history or statistics. Median home price in the area is $485,000. They'd have no faculty at all if they didn't do something.  They even built a condominium complex specifically for faculty and staff, which they sell at below market rates, and my last time there I was told they had similarly bought up a bunch of single family homes in one neighborhood to operate the same way.

    “Texas is a so-called red state, but you’ve got 10 million Democrats here in Texas. And …, there are a whole lot of people here in Texas who need us, and who need us to fight for them.” President Obama

    by Catte Nappe on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:45:21 AM PDT

  •  My son's best friend (6+ / 0-)

    is determined to go to NYU(they are HS sophomores) I don't think his parents will have a problem with that tuition. I've been telling my kid for years that he should go to a small liberal arts college with small classes in a small town.

    Society is merely organized injustice. Clarence Darrow

    by Van Buren on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:19:33 PM PDT

    •  I vote for small schools too (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      tcorse, SadieSue

      I went to a small school (around 2000 students) in a small city in the woods (I grew up in the metro area and wanted go go rural).  It was among the most expensive in the country at the time (1970s) -- around $5000/year for tuition, room, and board!  I understand inflation but my daughter is about to start at another similar school not all that far from it (which she chose over my dear alma mater, sniff sniff), where list price is close to $60k.  Of course something over 3/4 of students get some need-based aid, so it's really a sliding-scale program.  

      But I still don't see how they need all that much.  The student faculty ratio at these top schools is in the 10:1 range.  Most profs make under $100k/year (a family member who is a tenured professor at a state U certainly makes well under that!).  So the faculty salary cost is on the order of $10k/year, maybe $15k for a very low ratio school. (Health care for staff does add a lot, maybe more than 10%, to that.)  A few overpaid "stars" may have a disproportionate impact at a place that buys them.

    •  Reminds me of my time in college (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      louisprandtl, SadieSue

      I signed up for an Engineering college. After about 1.5 years I came home sheepishly to tell my parents I was in the wrong place. Their response - "We wondered how long it would take you to figure that out." Well, I thank them for letting make my own mistakes.

      Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

      by tcorse on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 09:16:35 PM PDT

      [ Parent ]

  •  Sexton was always nice to me, but I was there (0+ / 0-)

    When this stuff started, I was so blown away when I learned that some of my coworkers had housing expenses 4 or 5 times my salary...and I had to use every cent of my salary every month. I'm pretty liberal, but seeing how money was used there certainly made me more cynical. For me, though, it was the nyu real estate bonanza that irked the most. Oh and Jack Lew was right next door, too: nice, quiet guy.

    “liberals are the people who think that cruelty is the worst thing that we do” --Richard Rorty Also, I moved from NYC, so my username is inaccurate.

    by jeff in nyc on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:29:38 PM PDT

  •  Dont forget good ole Jack Lew!!! (4+ / 0-)

    Yep, that's right, Obama's new Treasury Secretary- he's got his on the backs of NYU students. Personally it just confirmed what I already knew about the man. Neoliberals love a free market when it applies the masses, but when it comes to their paychecks cronyism and corruption are how they get paid!

  •  We're seriously overdoing the aristocracy thing (4+ / 0-)

    We will never be able to completely escape it, obviously (a recent weekend drive through the stunningly beautiful and ostentatious gold coast of Nassau county, NY, reminded me of that). But damn, this is just insane. Lifestyles of the Rich and Educated? We are cementing a two-tiered society and that goes against everything a liberal arts university like NYU is supposed to stand for.

    And how is he supposed to mingle with profs, staff and students, like all good university presidents are supposed to do, living out in some LI mansion?

    "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

    by kovie on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:38:59 PM PDT

    •  Its beyond the limits. And I'm one (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      kovie, anana, Teiresias70, LanceBoyle

      who agrees that a country needs an elite of some sort. But the ones we have god. Its just awful. They make the late 18th Century French nobles look like dedicated philanthropists.

      You know Andrew Carnegie built thousands of gorgeous libraries all over the world, and it wasn't him who named them "Carnegie Library." Whomever ran the library would give it its name. He didn't care. But these days our elites are so self-absorbed, if they donate money for a brick, they want that brick to have their name on it. If they contribute a park bench, the bunch must have a brass plaque on it.

      I really hate these people.

      •  I don't know about "needs" (0+ / 0-)

        But in the kind of country we have, based on capitalism and putatively on merit, it's inevitable (I'm a bit of a Hamiltonian as you may know). Still, it should be based on having made a real contribution to society, not wealth extraction.

        "Liberty without virtue would be no blessing to us" - Benjamin Rush, 1777

        by kovie on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:23:13 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  True story (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I once helped to organize a scavenger hunt at Princeton University, and as a joke we made the final clue nothing more than a sign that just told the students where to go.  No puzzle, no nothing.

        Except, I carved that freakin' sign out of a slab of limestone with a hammer and chisel, carved some gargoyles on each side, and we put it up against a wall in the University Press courtyard.  The whole campus is covered with limestone slabs dedicating part of a wall or a bench to the class of whoever, so all you have to do to make text invisible is render it in stone.  It took one team 20 minutes to see it.

        Taking jokes seriously is the exact mirror activity of laughing if someone says they have cancer. --jbou

        by Caj on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:47:33 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  I'm sure your heart is in the right place but (7+ / 0-)

    can we have at least some specificity about who these star professors are? Are they big researchers with multimillion research grants (university takes 60%) who really wouldn't otherwise come to NY? My brother was looking at a 700 square foot apartment recently going for $650k. Couldn't afford it. His salary is decent, 3x my 5 figure, but those are costs in NY. NYU does set up its faculty with condos. Cal Santa Cruz does too! Many places do.

    But in general, a post like this is the type of thing that right-wingers have been using for a decade or more to bash academia over the head. And it's working. I've run into so many progressives who despise academia. We don't need more people doing it. Academia is under attack.

    You might be totally justified in all this. I'd just like to see specifics.

    As for NYU and the funding, realize that private education is 15% of the total. Most schools are public. And, living expenses DO fall under expenses eligible for financial aid. I'm not sure why you said there is no subsidy available. A student on full scholarship will have room & board paid for. Most top schools are still redistributing 35% of tuition money in the form of financial aid. I recognize that a school like NYU (my brother went there) is not very generous with financial aid (he got a full ride to Syracuse, half at NYU, and chose NYU), but then again, the people who get into NYU have other cheaper options and elect to pay more for some reason.

    It is a choice they make. No one forces them to go there.

    Here's what bugs me about all this. During the campaign last year, Joe Biden was asked by an audience member why tuition has skyrocketed. His response was that it was because of the rise in faculty salaries. That is so far from the truth that I wanted to throttle him. The average full-time tenure or tenure track professor's salary is still in the 60k range nationally, not far off from historical levels when you account for inflation. But the number of full-timers has dropped from 75% of the professoriate to under 30% in a decade and a half.

    If anyone here looks at academia as a gravy train, please realize that after you do your undergrad, maybe 2 years as a MA, then a 8-10 year PhD, maybe a visiting professorship or post-doc after that, you are 35 years old if you are one of the lucky 33% to land a full-time job. You have 30-35 years to earn, unlike your peers who have already spent 13-15 years already in the workforce.

    Do the math.

    I only point this out because articles like that lead the Joe Bidens of the world to bash professor salaries, which then leads to calls for MOOCs and downsizing. When does it end?

    There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

    by upstate NY on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:41:55 PM PDT

    •  Obviously, (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Nimbus, snowwoman, LanceBoyle

      it must be exceedingly difficult to find somebody to teach philosophy in New York without offering that person a million dollar condo in Manhattan and a summer home in Easthampton. How else can a professor get by?

      Meanwhile, somehow part-time adjuncts seem quite capable of getting the job done for $15 an hour and taking the train in from Brooklyn.

      Obviously, talent = millions of bucks. Wall Street agrees.

      •  Who is it? (5+ / 0-)

        What philosophy professor got that much?

        Who is getting a million bucks?

        Someone called Higher Ed a scam in this diary. You seemed to agree. This sort of thing has become a right-wing mantra--and well funded too, astroturf party.

        It's not a Philosophy professor.

        The article says its Med School people and Law School Dean. What are the salaries in those professions. The execs at a Med School or hospital make a million dollars a year in that industry. Or more. That's the going rate. Universities maybe shouldn't get involved with that market. but wouldn't that mean that University Med. Centers would then take a back seat to private med. centers?

        The point is, these are not philosophy professors.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 06:58:50 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  Why? (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          The execs at a Med School or hospital make a million dollars a year in that industry. Or more. That's the going rate.
          That's exactly the sort of attitude this article takes issue with. You shouldnt give a shit about the going rate. You should give a shit about knowledge and giving it to young minds. Going rates are for people in business. And the going rate is ridiculous.

          The going rate is for people on Wall Street. Exactly the same logic. "We have to pay this failed CEO a $100 million golden parachute, otherwise how else will we attract CEOs? Thats the going rate!"

          •  These are not philosophy professors (4+ / 0-)

            They are Med. research Hospital CEOs.

            You cast them as philosophy professors. These are two totally different things. We well know superstar doctors make a million.

            I don't have a clue why a University Med. Research school needs a top doctor to run it. Maybe it doesn't. I'm not well informed about that.

            The point is, you're casting this as a question of perks for someone who should otherwise be teaching students. It's not that. This guy couldn't be further from the classroom. Running a Med. research Center is entirely a different ball of wax than teaching a philosophy class.

            Whether you need a star doctor to run such a school or not is a different question that has more to do with the medical industry than the university classroom.

            There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

            by upstate NY on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:37:27 PM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  Unfortunately the diarist is wrong. A famous (2+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:
              annetteboardman, upstate NY

              Neurosurgeon at a public university med school can earn one million dollars. However he can earn several times more in consulting practice at private hospitals. The university affiliated hospital earns lot more from her/ his work. Also it's good for the med school students who benefits if he/she is a good prof too.

          •  No, it's not the same thing. (4+ / 0-)

            I'm a fan, BBB, but you are making a few too many generalizations here, as some of us have been trying to say.  Using a few unrepresentative examples of how private universities spend their funds, and then attacking higher education as a whole, is really not a fair way to make an argument.

            I have no doubt you have many reasons to be annoyed and angry with NYU.  But, hey, some of us ordinary slogs are just trying to do our work, teach our wonderful students, make sure that our public universities remain widely accessible to students of all backgrounds, and push back against this corporatization of the university.  We are trying to make it clear that MOOCs are not the answer to funding higher education, even as we teach our online courses.  Demonizing higher education as a whole is not helpful to this project.

  •  a lot, but (0+ / 0-)

    -the $17,000 (rounded up) includes room and board. That's pretty expensive, but look where you're living. For a lot of students, they think it's worth it.
    - the tuition is (gulp) almost $45,000 but according to the linked document the average scholarship is $22,000. Is $10,000 per semester too much?

    For some, mostly wealthy or upper middle class families, the chance to go to school in New York, attend a "name" school, and hobnob with the upper crust, is worth it, and that's  the niche that NYU has been trying to build for itself. Part of that is attracting high profile faculty, and administrators that can bring in money. In New York, that means a lot of housing perks are necessary.

    Is all this "healthy"? Well, probably not, but it's part of the academic ecology these days which overall is not too healthy, with inequalities that mirror those of society at large.

    Bold at inappropriate times.

    by steep rain on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:03:49 PM PDT

    •  As an NYU alum, (4+ / 0-)

      I can pretty much assure you that the vast majority of your classes will be taught by adjuncts or professors of modest reputation. You might perhaps have one or two classes with famous persons, tops. I had an economics class with Will Baumol and a law class with Derrick Bell. Over the course of 6 years. But that's it.

      Meanwhile, you'll do little to no hobnobbing if you aren't already rich. Those folks flow in their own circles and while you might get to party, you wont get connected just from rubbing shoulders.

      Finally, after living for 1 semester in NYU's dorms, I realized what an absolute ripoff it was and got my own apartment on E. 11th Street cut my housing costs 40%. Then I moved to Brooklyn and cut them 60%. Then I got a roommate can cut even that in half. Quite simply, folks are being told "look at these amenities and these are the prices in New" but its bullshit.

      I know people, from here, getting by in New York on $12.50 an hour. Yuppie lifestyle is not required.

  •  In Michigan costs at the major schools are going (0+ / 0-)

    up again, just as they have for the last 5 years.

    I'm willing to bet that a RICO case could be brought against the the top schools for price fixing. Not saying it could be proven, or won, but it sure seem like that is what is happening.

    Mean while at the DOJ, squirrel , someone is smoking pot.

  •  Hoo Raaay for NYU!!! (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I am so glad to see a university sans football team heap lavish rewards on professors instead of jackass football coaches. As for the Spartan dorm conditions, get over it. There are no anchors tied to anyone at NYU. You can hit the road any time you want.

    "Problems can not be solved by the level of awareness that created them", Albert Einstein.

    by Bubbatoby on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:21:48 PM PDT

    •  It's not Professors in general (6+ / 0-)

      It's a few "star" professors who teach one or two classes a year at most.  The working faculty are paid barely livable wages by NYC standards and many, many are adjuncts who are paid $5000 per course -- not even a livable wage.  This is not about education.  It is big business, and this two-tier system is becoming the norm for colleges and universities across the country.  I know because I teach am at one of them. It is the corporatization of higher Ed.  The presidents are the CEO's.  The administration gets paid handsomely.  The faculty are lucky to get cost of living raises.  Celebrity faculty bring in the students.  Their names on the websites are what is important.  You should read the NY Times article.  The corruption is breathtaking in its audaciousness.

      •  But the NY Times article (4+ / 0-)

        lists Med. Research Center CEOs and one law school dean.

        The Med. guys are top doctors who otherwise make that same money in their profession.

        Honestly, I don't consider these people professors. And the university hospitals they run have little to do with the vast majority of the work that goes on at universities. These guys are as relevant as football coaches to the core work.

        There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

        by upstate NY on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:34:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Point Taken (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        My detestation of overpaid football coaches got the better of me. Sounds like colleges have joined corporate America in a race to the bottom.

        "Problems can not be solved by the level of awareness that created them", Albert Einstein.

        by Bubbatoby on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 03:49:52 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

  •  i'm not disputing the central point of your diary (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    annetteboardman, SadieSue

    however, you can't get a studio apartment in that part of manhattan for $1,400

    Politics is like driving. To go backward put it in R. To go forward put it in D.
    Drop by The Grieving Room on Monday nights for support in dealing with grief.

    by TrueBlueMajority on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:23:50 PM PDT

  •  A sad commentary on contemporary education. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Deep Harm

    Unfortunately, college education has become something that only the rich can afford, and so a lot of the time, the students themselves don't see anything wrong with what it going on.  It's hard for most people to understand, but $64,000 a year is just peanuts to some people.

    The big bucks in the world are always spread around amongst a small group of entitled people, and everyone else can go eat baloney and velveeta, if they can even afford that.

    "The press just doesn’t know how to handle flat-out untruths," ~Paul Krugman

    by Nimbus on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 07:30:46 PM PDT

  •  Please, please share (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    mickT, anana, SadieSue

    "Administrators Ate My Tuition"

    The article above was written in 2011 by an "industry insider"--a Johns Hopkins professor--and is quite illuminating. I've provided the link in other diaries, but whenever a new diary pops up, it seems that no one has ever heard of it.

    People are beginning to fight back, and one such battle took place at American University in Washington, D.C.  Here's a clip from the article above:

    College presidents are usually the guiltiest parties, since they are in the best position to authorize expenditures, and many are more than happy to use school funds to burnish their own images. One recent case in point is that of Benjamin Ladner, the former president of American University in Washington, D.C. Soon after arriving on the campus in 1994, Ladner and his wife, who dubbed herself AU’s “first lady,” declared that the president’s official residence was inadequate and had the university build an expensive new house, which included a waterfall and pond behind the patio, a few blocks from the campus. They outfitted the house with expensive furnishings, china, and stemware. At university expense, the Ladners employed a chauffeur, a cook, a social secretary, and numerous other personal staff members. They hosted gala events to which they invited prominent Washington figures. They traveled abroad frequently, generally charging their first-class tickets to the university.

    Matters came to a head in March 2005, when an anonymous whistleblower wrote to the board of trustees accusing the Ladners of “severe expense account violations.”

    Students at the University protested, and local newspapers happily covered the embarrassing details. Eventually, "Ladner’s contract was terminated—though he and the first lady received a generous severance package." It was a small victory for AU students, but I wouldn't be surprised if some other school inherited their problem.
  •  It's called Arrogance (0+ / 0-)

    Small point, and at least slightly off topic -- but at the latest NYU graduation a few weeks ago, President Sexton wore a Yankees cap during the entire ceremony.  For a global institution, it seemed a giant parochial FU for the Pres to be making.  Entirely consistent with the rest of his philosophy, judging by the failed attempt by the Faculty to oust him recently.

  •  I'm sorry (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    My brother would seem to qualify as a 'star' professor.  He got a $100K loan from the university to buy his first home when he took his job.  I'm not sure calling it a loan is really accurate as the University is responsible for paying it[it worked as a retention bonus to keep him there 5 years].  He works very hard.  And he only barely teaches if you don't count the Ph.D students and other students working under him.

    It was his first job, not counting his post-doc, out of college.

    I guess no one is supposed to have a decent job.  I realize you may say that is ok, but $600K to $1M is excessive.  Sure, but I'm also sure the size of the loans to most of the 'star' professors are more in line with what my brother got.

  •  Meanwhile, my students drown in debt (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are many, many reasons for the rise in tuition, but the rapid expansion and expense of university administrations is definitely one of them.  But those administrators have a solution! MOOCs - have a few professors teach everyone and you can save big!

    Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

    by tcorse on Wed Jun 19, 2013 at 08:54:02 PM PDT

    •  Administration salaries have risen (0+ / 0-)

      skyward and pretty quickly. BUT, a recent study showed they are still sub 1% of the total university budget.

      So, they can't account for the big rise.

      The problem with the study, however, is that many people don't realize university budgets are not fungible. Only a small % is. Most of the money is dedicated already to research projects, or the endowment interest has strings attached, etc. In other words, the portion of the budget that you can cut is but a fraction of the total budget. In this sense, a sub 1% rise in administrator's salary might actually be a much bigger rise in relation to the part of the budget that is fungible.

      There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

      by upstate NY on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 07:58:05 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Sub 1%? (0+ / 0-)

        In what universe? Officially, curriculum and instruction at my institution is just shy of 50%. That includes professor salaries, as well as department budgets and some other odds and ends. Where's the rest of the money?

        Sub 1% for administration is not even remotely possible. That would mean where I work that all of the administrators (including about a couple dozen VPs, asst-VPs, etc.), all of the secretaries, all of their office budgets, would come to a little over one million dollars. The president alone takes in $250K base salary (which is very cheap, actually).

        So no, I do not buy it.

        Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

        by tcorse on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 08:52:21 AM PDT

        [ Parent ]

        •  It was an extensive study and I've linked (0+ / 0-)

          to it in this very diary.

          Now that I look at the study, however, they stopped measuring at administrative salaries as a whole in the mid 1990s. That being said, the study also showed expenditures for student services increased 16% even at a time when administrative costs increased to 1%.

          Administrators. The need to employ more administrators to cover both expanded services and larger numbers of Federal, state, and local regulations combined with higher administrative salaries is thought to drive up administrative costs.

              This contention may be true for the first half of the 1980s, when administrative expenditures increased as a share of total educational and general (E&G) expenditures, but, between 1987 and 1994, administrative expenditures either remained the same or fell, as a percentage of total E&G expenditures. Another way of looking at rising administrative costs is that administrative expenditures per full-time-equivalent (FTE) student increased over 22 percent between 1979 and 1986, but less than 1 percent between 1986 and 1993, after adjusting for inflation. The expenditures for student services costs increased 16 percent during each of the two time periods in question.

          There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

          by upstate NY on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:47:03 AM PDT

          [ Parent ]

          •  What are they defining as administrative cost? (0+ / 0-)

            The link says that administrative pay was 1% of the CA system budget. Maybe, maybe, if you are only talking about what each college president is paid. But the tiniest bit of common sense would tell you that all those VPs, all those folks in the Bursars office and Admissions and the Registrar and Human Resources and Public Relations and the Legal Council office and Media Relations and on and on and on etc -- are way more than 1%.

            And administrative cost is a lot more than just pay. All those offices have computers, phones, etc. Really, it's an odd thing to even say.

            Conservatives believe evil comes from violating rules. Liberals believe evil comes from violating each other.

            by tcorse on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:07:33 AM PDT

            [ Parent ]

            •  I'd assume they are referring to administrative (0+ / 0-)

              pay, not anything else.

              For me, the telling thing is that the drop in state support almost exactly matches the rise in tuition.

              At a time of increased regulation and accreditation, increased health care costs, wired classrooms, etc., you'd think tuition would be even higher if things had stayed the same.

              Instead, we have mass obliteration of full-time faculty lines, increased efficiencies by preventing travel reimbursements for conferences, no raises, much bigger classrooms, health care costs paid for by employees.

              Schools are cutting the core of the university out.

              There are two kinds of people in this world. The kind who divide the world into two kinds of people, and the kind who don't.

              by upstate NY on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 11:33:01 AM PDT

              [ Parent ]

  •  The worst thing I heard an NYU administrator say (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I'm not going to go into much detail because I'm kind of paranoid about my own identity.

    But I was talking to this guy who was a protege of Sexton and was about to be promoted into the upper levels of administration and he was telling me about his proposed policy on tuition.

    He said that an NYU degree would increase the future earning power of the student who earns it.

    He had an exact number, which I forget, but it was in the millions, sort of like, our statistics show that the average student will earn $2 million more over his lifetime because of our degree.

    Then he said they should set tuition in such a way as to "re-capture" much more of that increase in life earnings.

    This idiot really believed that the $2 million or whatever amount more the student would earn "belonged" to NYU.

  •  I Would Have Imagined That (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    getting to live in NYC and work in the Village, would have been an adequate draw all by itself for top, "star"  talent.

  •  Your last points about who the stars are... (0+ / 0-)

    ...(ie: H. Ford, Very Jr.) really does it for me.  They can truly attract the best teaching talent by just paying competitively and just by being NYU in the Village in NYC, with the resources and the cache they have.

    If they want to attract Harold Ford Jr. and his ilk to give interviews and slap the initials NYU next to their name from time to time, they have to provide vacation homes.

    Ayn is the bane! Take the Antidote To Ayn Rand and call your doctor in the morning: You have health insurance now! @floydbluealdus1

    by Floyd Blue on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 05:36:26 AM PDT

  •  thanks for this! coupled with the article in the (0+ / 0-)

    nyt about new buildings being funded by even higher exorbitant tuition, i have a powerful FYI for my future NYU bound clients (college admissions advising practice.)

    don't forget!  they work soooooo hard!  at least 8 mos/ yr!

    "A dollah makes me hollah"-- Stephen Colbert, pretending to be S. Palin

    by stagemom on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 06:23:23 AM PDT

  •  Thanks (0+ / 0-)

    nosotros no somos estúpidos

    by a2nite on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 09:29:01 AM PDT

  •  All my dad got as a univ. professor (0+ / 0-)

    was some free food (samples from experimental crops.)  But then, he was a prof at a public univ. pre-1980.

    My Karma just ran over your Dogma

    by FoundingFatherDAR on Thu Jun 20, 2013 at 10:44:32 AM PDT

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