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(Tenured Radical)

Friday, May 21, 2004


UD has been pleased to note a number of orwellianisms in the news lately, as in statements like WAR IS PEACE. For instance, after recent revelations of Alberta Premier Ralph Klein's almost-total plagiarism of a paper for a class he took toward a degree in communications scandalized Canada, he had a bunch of his supporters put out statements about how the incident actually pointed up his "enthusiasm for lifelong learning."

A better example involves statements that supporters of incoming University of Massachusetts president Jack Wilson have been issuing lately in defense of his enormous starting (really starting - this is his first year as a university president; he's been a professor of physics) salary: $500,000, as reported in the Boston Herald on May 21:

In addition to a base salary of $350,000, Wilson's pay is boosted by: a $40,000 housing allowance, a $12,000 car allowance, up to $18,000 for life insurance and 12 percent of his salary paid into a retirement annuity. Trustees could also give him an annual bonus of up to 10 percent of his base salary as well as unlimited raises.

In response to the outrage of university workers ('"What were they thinking?" cried SEIU labor leader Susana Segat, whose blue-collar workers at UMass-Boston have been without a raise in three years. "President Wilson is now getting private-sector CEO pay to run a public school in a state where public higher education funding has been slashed by more than 29 percent in last few years," said Segat, whose members' average pay is $30,000.') and trustees ('Trustee Larry Boyle, who did not know the contract had been signed until contacted by the Herald, called the package `"excessive." "The contract's too long, the money's too high," he said. `"I think highly of Jack Wilson, but let's see how he does on the job."'), a spokesman for the university said: "In fact, President Wilson's acceptance of this offer is a tangible indication of his dedication to the university." When asked why one should interpret his salary in this way, the spokesman noted that "Wilson won't use his entire car allowance."