“In a time when the economy is everyone’s number one concern, some school presidents are taking note and fighting back against rising tuition costs and cutting funds for their school by refusing bonuses and raises. However, our president, Dr. Luis Proenza, is one of the 59 public research institution presidents nationwide that is compensated over $500,000 a year.””
In a time when the economy is everyone’s number one concern, some school presidents are taking note and fighting back against rising tuition costs and cutting funds for their school by refusing bonuses and raises. However, our president, Dr. Luis Proenza, is one of the 59 public research institution presidents nationwide that is compensated over $500,000 a year. The Chronicle of Higher Education compared retirement pay for public-universities and the results are even more baffling: Proenza ranks third nationwide with $94,405 for 2007-08.
Proenza doesn’t even run the third largest school in the country, not even close, so why is his retirement pay the third highest in the nation? Additionally, his compensation package grew 21 percent in the 2006-07 year. It is difficult to consider Dr. Luis Proenza a great president when, in the face of economic hardship in an area that has been hit hard, Proenza accepts his raises and bonuses while our tuition costs continue to rise. As our university faces its own economic hardships, such as state funding cuts and tuition freezes, Proenza continued to bring in money and accept while the university falls farther in debt.
All of us are concerned about the costs of tuition and living expenses as students at the University of Akron, and it is disheartening to know that in other states, school presidents are refusing their extra pay for the good of their university. They are ensuring that their students can continue to afford to go to school and that their school does not suffer financially during this time of economic hardship. It’s going to take the university decades to recover from its debt but Proenza seems to have little concern for this when he is banking nearly $100,000 for his future retirement.
The university makes many other questionable decisions where its money is concerned. For example, in December 2007, the university approved an additional $6.6 million to go towards the budget for the new Infocision Stadium. This is in addition to the $55 million that has already been allocated toward the stadium. This additional money is going to have to come from somewhere and you can be sure that our tuition costs are going to suffer as a result of it. This new stadium even has its own x-ray room, despite the fact that the University of Akron is within five minutes away from five hospitals, each of which has its own x-ray room with trained x-ray techs and doctors to treat injured players. We definitely don’t need our own x-ray room.
It’s not only Dr. Luis Proenza that makes questionable decisions with the university’s money. While acquiring the land needed for the new stadium through eminent domain, the board of trustees approved the purchasing of a house from the son of one of the board of trustees members for much more than what most of the public felt that house was worth. While his son did claim that he had made many improvements to the house since he had purchased it, merely months before its purchase by the University, it certainly wasn’t worth its $70,000 price tag when the house had been previously purchased for much less.
It’s hard to see a great future for the University of Akron when these poor decisions made by highly educated individuals are sitting in the make of our minds.