Remember When Higher Education Used To Be About Education?

Didn’t universities used to be in the business of education? After UT Law School Dean Larry Sager was pressured to resign, taxpayers are now learning of compensation packages for his faculty that would make Wall Street executives blush.

Former UT School of Law Dean Larry Sager

The resignation of University of Texas School of Law Dean Larry Sager is doing nothing to help Higher Education elitists fend off calls for reform. Open records requests reveal that Dean Sager offered compensation packages that included “forgivable loans” on top of substantial salaries.

That’s right, while individuals are tightening their budgets and businesses are cutting down on expenses, The University of Texas Law School is issuing hundred-thousand dollar loans to faculty that can be simply “forgiven,” so long as professors stay on the job. Sager claims that they are necessary in order to recruit and keep “top talent” from other Law Schools.

(Just imagine what kind of “world-class” institution the University of Texas could be if they put this much emphasis into education!)

Not surprisingly, Dean Sager was one of the recipients of these loans that amount to nothing more than a $500,000 bonus. But as nauseating as that may be, some of the salaries drawn by professors in the UT Law School should really make you sick.

Here’s a list of the top 10 highest paid professors in the UT School of Law, according to the Austin American-Statesman:

  • Larry Sager: $405,000
  • Robert Bone: $351,715
  • Matthew L. Spitzer: $340,000
  • Ronen Avraham: $335,000
  • Thomas O. McGarity: $331,476
  • Jay L Westbrook: $331,476
  • Linda S. Mullenix: $327,505
  • Jane M. Cohen*: $323,172
  • Robert J. Peroni: $322,459
  • Daniel B. Rodriguez**: $321,685
*Cohen is Dean Sager’s wife
**Rodriguez was given a $300,000 forgivable loan.

 

University of Texas System Chancellor Francisco Cigarroa stepped in on Friday to order tighter controls on the flow of money from the Law School Foundation –the primary source of this exuberant spending, It’s nowhere near the type of open governance and accountability measures reformists have called for, but it is a small step in the right direction. (No word yet on whether elitist State Senator Judith Zaffirini thinks Cigarroa should have “taken time to understand what the status quo is”.)

Keep in mind that this comes off the heels of President Powers’ recommendations to raise undergraduate tuition by 2.60% and graduate tuition by 3.60% each year for the next two years. Surely those 20 “forgivable loans” for UT Law professors ranging from $75,000 to $350,000 would make a huge dent in the additional revenue Powers looks to bring in (as if the general public had a chance to raise those concerns).

The University of Texas, or any of the state’s other public universities, will never serve taxpayers in it’s true potential under this ivory-tower system of governance. It’s going to take true and meaningful reforms to get the mission of our public universities back to where they belong: on education – not administration.