… about a local instance of the national scandal involving university presidents and corporate boards.

He says it pretty well, too. But of course Scathing Online Schoolmarm awards a demerit here and there…

One of the major reasons for paying a university president in South Dakota a $320,000 salary is because it takes a lot of money to hire a great talent with the right skills, credentials and experience to serve as president. [Avoid the wordiness, the use of “is,” and the repetition of president by rewriting in a more direct and simple way: We pay the president of South Dakota State University a lot of money — $320,000 a year — because we want a talented person with the right credentials.]

If the state paid a salary of [drop a salary of] less than $50,000, you’d expect that [drop that] a person of great stature and ability with full-time responsibilities would [drop would and write to] need to seek other income sources [Double dash after sources — He’s about to introduce a strong point. Give it some drama.] such as an additional salary of $195,000 plus a one-time stock-option payoff of almost $200,000 to sit on the board of directors of a multinational agricultural biotechnology corporation. But that’s not the case. [But that’s not the case is confusing. What does the writer mean? Rewrite.]

Monsanto’s gain is South Dakota State University’s loss. This $400,000 payoff creates a perceived conflict of interest not only for the university president but also for the quality of the research results coming from SDSU.

How are the results of research investments at SDSU to be taken seriously when one of Monsanto’s competitors can point to the university president’s $400,000 purse from the corporation and declare the research is skewed? If the perception is tainted, why would benefactors invest in the research services of SDSU or any other South Dakota university if it appears our university presidents can be bought and it becomes tolerated? [Drop and it becomes tolerated. Bought‘s your strong word.] What message does this send to students and parents faced with ever increasing tuition and fee increases? What message does this send to our SDSU research teams?

Personally, I like SDSU President David Chicoine and consider him a good friend. [Drop personally.] I strongly supported and campaigned for him to come to SDSU [Drop strongly.]. When he was hired, I felt SDSU had made a major leap forward in its growth as a prestigious institution. [had grown in prestige. Always try to tighten.]

The job is full time, requiring the full devotion of talents and energies of the president. [The job requires the president’s full time and energy.]  If a $320,000 salary isn’t enough to keep Chicoine on the job at SDSU, it should be negotiated so that we can retain a great talent whose full-time energies are devoted to SDSU. [This is the kicker. If SOS had been writing this, she’d have made this the first sentence. I like its threat to throw the guy out. That’s exactly what a politician should say.]

If Chicoine has spare time [Drop spare.] to promote the interests of [Drop the interests of.] a multinational corporation, he should refuse the pay other than to cover his expenses for travel, food and lodging. Service to academia should not appear as an opportunity to cut a fat hog at the expense of the university’s future. [SOS LOVES cut a fat hog! As a ‘thesdan, she doesn’t encounter phrases like cut a fat hog on a daily basis… In fact she’s never heard cut a fat hog… It’s the very opposite of a cliché– bright, new, and prompting pellucid images of bestial greed.  Bravo.]

As a leading national land-grant research university known for its excellent nonbiased research, we [Demerit goes here.  Are WE a land-grant university?] must do all we can to keep SDSU’s credibility intact. What message does this send to other university presidents? What message are we sending to corporate America?

We should not turn this debate into nitpicking about conflicts of interest. If Chicoine received a salary of $1,000 a year to sit on Monsanto’s board, there probably would be no discussion. That clearly is not the case here.

The state Board of Regents needs to resolve this matter immediately. If the board does not act, this issue will be presented to the South Dakota Legislature for a more permanent solution that will address it fairly and reasonably.  [Drop the address it fairly hoohah and end with the threat to can his ass.]

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2 Responses to “A South Dakota State Senator Says What Needs to be Said…”

  1. Monsanto’s Monopoly on Agricultural Research by Big Universities | AltHealthWorks.com Says:

    […] South Dakota State Senator was quoted saying: “…An additional salary of $195,000 plus a one-time stock-option payoff of almost […]

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    […] South Dakota State Senator was quoted saying: “…An additional salary of $195,000 plus a one-time stock-option payoff of almost […]

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