Presidential paycheck raises questions

By Brian Loschiavo
November 12, 2009

What should a college president make per year? What should any person make per year who holds a high position in a company or institution? How much is too much and where do we draw the line? At what point should we take a stand and question these salaries?

Recently The Chronicle of Higher Education released its annual salary survey. Former Cabrini College president Antoinette Iadarola ranked 11th in the nation on this list. In 2007-2008, during her last year as president, she made $1.23 million. This ranked higher on the list than presidents at schools like the University of Pennsylvania and Princeton University.

This is not just a ranking of college presidents in the tri-state area. This is a national ranking. How is it that this tiny liberal arts college in Radnor, Pa. ranks close to the top in this survey? If anything we are known our community service and our work towards social justice. Now we are also known for paying our former president an extreme amount of money? I’m pretty sure these don’t go hand-in-hand with our mission.

Why isn’t this money being used to support the causes that our school is involved with? Why aren’t we using money to help students who are struggling to attend Cabrini?

After the survey was published Cabrini quickly released a statement saying that Iadarola, who was the first lay president of the college, was paid slightly more than $400,000 in salary. The rest was deferred compensation that she accumulated over her 16-year tenure and included money from sabbaticals she was entitled to take and did not take.

The statement from the college also said that in her 16 years here at Cabrini she professionalized the college and is said to have increased enrollment and budget. She also oversaw the construction of several buildings and built an endowment, which now exceeds $10 million.

Even though Iadarola did do some great things for our school, was her time here worth $400,000 a year? Was it worth over onemillion dollars in her last year? The average family income in the United States is reported at $50,000 a year and doesn’t seem to be going anywhere. Why has the median pay for private university presidents increased 6.5 percent?

In these hard economic times these numbers are difficult to accept. Many students are struggling to stay in school because of finances and then this news is released; it’s very discouraging.

Another question we need to ask is why did the Board of Trustees approve this amount of money? What made them agree that it was right to pay our former president over $1 million?

As students who pay tuition and attend this institution, if we do not agree with these numbers, we need to be heard. The bottom line is that it is too much money and we have to question those who make important decisions for our school as a whole.

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Brian Loschiavo

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