March 27, 2001
Cornell Scholars to Release Study of Presidential Salaries
| March 27, 2001
In a time when many Ivy League universities are welcoming new leaders to guide them into the 21st Century, Prof. Ronald G. Ehrenberg, industrial and labor relations and economics, Julia Epifantseva grad and Prof. John Cheslock, education, University of Arizona examined the salary increases of presidents at private universities.
The Review of Higher Education will publish their paper, titled “Paying Our Presidents: What Do Trustees Value?” later this year.
“Very little is known about the compensation structure faced by American college and university presidents,” the study stated.
Ehrenberg, Epifantseva and Cheslock conducted the study across the nation’s private universities, since information on the salaries of public universities is not available.
“We looked at four years of data and tried to see what trustees take into account [when setting presidents’ salaries],” Epifantseva said.
The study used four years’ worth of data, from 1992-93 until 1997-98, reported in The Chronicle of Higher Education. The data included the salaries of presidents at 480 private universities.
“We merged that data with information from a lot of different sources,” Ehrenberg said.
Those sources included the College Board’s report of SAT and ACT scores for incoming freshmen, The Chronicle of Higher Education’s report on whether a president was a member of the clergy, data from enrollment surveys, as well as other factors.
The three researchers also considered “information on the character of the presidents of institutions,” Ehrenberg said.
“You would expect certain things,” Epifantseva said.
For example, “if freshmen scores go up, that means that the quality level is perceived to be higher
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March 28, 2001
A firestorm erupted at Brown University last week after The Brown Daily Herald student newspaper printed a controversial advertisement denouncing the idea that black descendants of slaves should be paid reparations. The full-page ad, titled “Ten Reasons Why Reparations for Slavery is a Bad Idea — and Racist Too,” was written by conservative commentator David Horowitz and sent to 47 student newspapers across the country. Most papers that were approached, including The Cornell Daily Sun, refused to print the ad. Horowitz’s message provoked strong responses at the nine schools where it appeared in print, however. Three schools speedily issued apologies, but The Herald was not among them. Accusing The Herald of supporting a right-wing hate-monger, student activists at Brown trashed 4,000 copies of the paper, nearly the entire day’s press run. The theft followed a meeting the previous night between a coalition of mostly minority groups at Brown and Herald staffers. During this time the coalition demanded that the paper donate the money received for running the advertisement to campus minority organizations and give the coalition a free page of ad space for a counter-argument to the controversial ad. Twice the newspaper refused, although it made its opinion pages and web site available to critics and supporters of the ad and of the newspaper’s decision to publish it. Brown’s interim president, Sheila Blumstein, backed The Herald’s decision to run the advertisement and said the theft would be investigated. “Consistent with its commitment to the free exchange of ideas,” Blumstein said in an official statement. “The University recognizes and supports The Herald’s right to publish any material it chooses, even if that material is objectionable to members of the campus community.” Many students at Brown felt the administration’s response fell short of addressing campus grievances, and activists continued to rage over what they considered a racial indignity. “This is not an issue of free speech,” Kohei Ishihara, a junior whom the protesters designated as their spokesperson, told The New York Times. “This is about profits. The Herald profited from the deliberate distortion of history.” To facilitate a community-wide conversation over the issue, faculty, students and administrators met at a faculty-led forum last Wednesday. “Intense but civil and well-attended,” was how Brown Prof. Cynthia Garcia-Coll, described the forum that she helped lead, in which approximately 200 students participated. The forum, although closed to the press, was attended by The Herald’s editorial board. The discussion addressed how to balance freedom of speech with community responsibility, according to Garcia-Coll. “Although many disparate views were represented, the consensus was that The Herald had the right to publish the ad, but that the paper made the wrong decision given the context of Brown,” she said. “The coalition’s newspaper theft was an act of civil disobedience, but it was understandable given that our sense of community was so assaulted,” she added. Another speaker at the faculty forum, Lewis R. Gordon, director of Brown’s Afro-American studies program, compared the publication of the ad to “spray-painting the word ‘nigger’ on a campus wall,” according to The Chronicle of Higher Education. Gordon, who supported the students who trashed The Herald, wrote Blumstein saying that several students said they had been unable to eat or sleep for days following the publication of the ad. “The ad wasn’t speech,” Gordon told The Chronicle. “It was a racial assault, and we should admit this.” Even after the forum, Herald staffers continued to deny that the ad symbolized hate speech, and one columnist expressed frustration over how the forum failed to address the unjust actions of the coalition’s newspaper theft. The president of the Providence chapter of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People, Cliff Montiero, was quoted in The Providence Journal supporting The Herald. “The ad is a wake-up call that freedom isn’t free,” Montiero said. “I don’t think it’s right for people to steal the newspaper … I think the freedom of the press needs to continue.” Brown Prof. Michael Vorenberg, history, predicted that Horowitz deliberately designed the controversial ad to provoke the academic establishment and to elicit a chain reaction across liberal campuses. Framing the ad in the context of his civil war and reconstruction class, Vorenberg told his students that it was “misinformed” and “an awful mischaracterization of emancipation.” Horowitz, who characterized the academic establishment “a dictatorship of the left” and called the protesting students “campus fascists,” told The New York Times that “colleges should be stimulating discussions of these issues, not encouraging political rallies on behalf of one side of the issues.” One such passage from the ad reads, “If not for the sacrifices of white soldiers a white American president who gave his life to sign the Emancipation Proclamation, blacks in America would still be slaves.” The ad goes on to say that black people have already received reparations in the form of “welfare benefits and racial preferences.” Black Americans enjoy a far better standard of living than their African counterparts, wrote Horowitz, who calls the idea of reparations “one more attempt to turn African-Americans into victims.” When Horowitz’s provocative ad arrived in the mail, the staff at The Herald wasted little time deciding what it would do. “There was never a vigorous debate about whether we should run the ad,” Brooks King, editor-in-chief of The Herald, said in The Chronicle of Higher Education. “We have never refused to run an ad based on political content.” The timing of the issue was critical. Flaring up during Black History Month, the controversy spread across the campus shortly after several Brown students had returned from a workshop at Columbia University about slavery reparations. The clash also came shortly after Brown made headlines for a breakthrough in race relations: the university named Ruth Simmons as its next president, the first black person to be named president of an Ivy League university. Simmons has refused to comment on the recent situation at Brown. Garcia-Coll predicted that the recent controversy may have been a spill-over from past grievances. “Publishing the ad was a violation of community rules. It brought attention to an issue that we have needed to address for a long time,” Garcia-Coll said, recalling that there had been a number of race-related incidents at Brown within the past year. Some faculty members at Brown are demanding that the administration undertake a research study on institutional reform. Characterizing the atmosphere at Brown as “very tense, especially for students of color,” Garcia-Coll did not think that the controversy would easily die down when students return next week from spring break. Everybody is so frustrated, Garcia-Coll said. “It’s such a shame.”Archived article by Jennifer Roberts
March 28, 2001
Images of railroads have permeated the American cultural psyche for hundreds of years. From the moment the “Stourbridge Lion,” the first locomotive to run on rails in the U.S., rocketed onto the scene in 1829, Americans of all ages have been captured by the undeniable magic of the railroad. Whether by tales of train-hopping vagabonds, early films like The Great Train Robbery, or even childhood memories of flattening pennies on railroad tracks, the folklore of the railroad remains central to an American cultural identity. “The romance of the railroad is kind of incredible,” said John Marcham ’50, of the Cornell Railroad Historical Society (CRHS). The CRHS is an independent organization affiliated with the Cornell campus, and comprised of Cornell students, grad students, faculty, and staff, as well as members of the Ithaca community, all who share a passion for the railroad. It is the romance of the railroad that the CRHS, the local chapter of the National Railroad Historical Society (NRHS), tries to capture through its programs and events in the Ithaca area and beyond. Most recently, the CRHS reached out to the Ithaca community through the Finger Lakes Railfair, held March 25. The annual Railfair is the CRHS’s largest and most visible project. Sunday’s event drew about 2,000 visitors and roughly 100 volunteers to the New York State Armory located northeast of Ithaca. The Railfair was “great for families,” said Tom Trencansky, Administrative Manager, Earth and Atmospheric Sciences, and one of the founding members of the CRHS. “One of our members built a Lionel [model train] layout [that] youngsters can operate,” said Marcham. Other attractions at the Railfair included displays of members’ photography, displays from other rail groups and vendors, and a video booth, a popular new addition to this year’s event, where visitors could relax and learn about railway history. The CRHS was founded at Cornell in 1977 and in 1981 became a chapter of the NRHS. In 1998, the Regents of New York State granted CRHS a charter as a non-profit educational organization. With about 100 members, the CRHS is a “combination of everyone in the community,” said Trencansky. “The group is a lot of people … with an affection for railroads. We try to combine a wide range of interests,” he said. The CRHS truly is a community organization. In addition to a diverse membership, a number of the CRHS’s activities are centered around Ithaca railroading history. “This was a big railroading town for a long time … the Lehigh Valley [Railroad] particularly had a Cornell connection,” said Marcham. The Lehigh Valley Railroad provided passenger service to Ithaca for many years, bringing students to and from the area colleges in cars that were often painted Cornell red. The CRHS maintains a collection of books and articles on the Lehigh Valley Railroad, as well as other lines, at the Tompkins County Museum, 401 E. State St. Through the museum collection and other projects, the CRHS seeks to preserve the memories of a lost era of passenger railroad lines. “Automobiles have done railroads in,” said Marcham. “For passenger service, railroads had their last surge during World War II, but after the war people went back to cars,” he said. The CRHS has participated in a number of historical preservation projects. Although it does not currently own or maintain any equipment, the CRHS once owned a vintage WWII era diesel engine that is now in the care of the Anthracite Railroad Historical Society and is in operation in a museum in Pennsylvania. Additional projects have included monetary donations to the Utica chapter of the NRHS for the conservation of a locomotive and to a restoration project of an Ohio organization. The CRHS will be participating in a number of upcoming events, including next weekend’s Maple Festival in Marathon, New York, where passengers can ride vintage trains from Cortland to Marathon. The CRHS meets every second Tuesday from seven to nine p.m. at the Ithaca Library. Archived article by Jennifer Gardner