He makes more money than the president of the United States. In this instance, the “he” being referred to is not Bill Gates, Donald Trump or many of the A-list Hollywood stars who may come to mind who are, perhaps, grossly overpaid. Instead, it is our president, Mordechai Rozanski, who seems to be raking in the dough at a hefty rate. In fact, his total compensation surpasses the $400,000 paycheck President Bush receives as Commander-in-Chief. Our nation’s top leader is one who many would agree is horribly underpaid. But, then again, you don’t get into public service for the high payoff.
Yes, it seems there is money to be made in higher education, especially if you’re at the top. President Rozanski’s total compensation package for 2005-2006 topped a whopping $500,000. As your eyes settle back into your head after seeing all those zeros, realize this makes our president the third-highest paid official at a private university in the state. In fact, only the pay of the presidents of Stevens Institute of Technology and Princeton University exceed his deal. As young adults, we can understand how a person’s compensation gradually increases over time. It gets a little bit harder to bear when you learn that our president’s compensation increased 25 percent in a single year and his benefits nearly tripled from 2003 to 2006.
To be fair, President Rozanski has been at the heart of Rider’s renewal since he first arrived in 2003. A simple glance around campus will jog our memories of the efforts that he has spearheaded. The 55,000-square-foot Student Recreation Center, the 24-hour study lounge, Cranberry’s and the new residence hall are just some of this president’s contributions to the University. In many ways, he has taken us to new heights.
Still, it’s hard for us to empathize whole-heartedly when tuition never seems to stop increasing and undoubtedly helps line the pockets of Rozanski and other officials. Many students are financing a four-year college education by mortgaging their futures — a debt they will eventually have to repay. Even though many of our parents are the ones footing the bill, we still know it is costing more than a pretty penny to come to Rider. Today, tuition is $25,650 and, when you factor in room and board and the other associated fees, it will easily cost you more than $35,000 to attend. And if the past is any indication, then brace yourself for another tuition hike, just in time for the 2008-2009 academic year.
At the same time, one has to consider what is going on around us. At Rutgers University, the football coach Greg Schiano was paid an astounding $911,000 in 2006. Seems a little much for instructing the players from the sidelines on how to score the winning touchdown. Then again, the Yankees signed Alex Rodriguez, known to many as A-Rod, to a 10-year, $275 million contract, but the overpayment of professional athletes is a topic to debate at another time.
In the end, we all like to believe in an American ideal that our political leaders often espouse — you can get ahead when you work hard and play by the rules. However, it’s different when it’s on our dime.
Written By Opinion Editor, Jamie Papapetros