Letter: How about a cap on administrative salaries?

President Levin has addressed the Yale community, indicating that even deeper cuts will have to be made in the Yale budget order to confront the current economic crisis. He indicated that some of the cuts would include little or no increase in faculty and staff salaries and would require the loss of some jobs. What would have been nice to hear was a plan to cap all administrative salaries at Yale at $500,000 until the crisis is over.

This would send a message that the Yale administration is willing to make the same sacrifices asked of the rest of the Yale community.

Joel Rosenbaum

Feb. 26

The writer is a professor of Molecular, Cellular and Developmental Biology.


  • Recent Alum

    Worst idea ever.

  • Yale '10

    As someone mentioned in a comment yesterday, Yale should consider graduated salary cuts across the board, rather than layoffs. For anyone whose contract would allow this, it would be by far the most equitable way to address the crisis.

    Moreover, it is finally becoming aparent to some in the main-stream that endowments should actually be used for one of their states purposes: assisting in a financial crisis.

    See http://www.businessweek.com/bwdaily/dnflash/content/mar2009/db2009031_932517.htm?campaign_id=rss_daily

    We're not a business, and our ultimate goal ought not to be increasing the endowment. It should be supporting the students and faculty in their studies and research.

    Ironically, as noted in the below article, in trying to protect Yale's future by keeping the endowment large, and never dipping into its capital, Yale
    is actually making itself more dependent on market conditions, not less as one would suppose.

    Dwight Hall and SJN groups ought to consider pushing the administration on these issues. But we have to act quickly.

    Let's all get through this trying time together.

  • Anonymous

    Maybe we should impose retirement on all faculty over 75?

  • Thank you!

    It is appalling that the administration has not done this already, especially given that many, many other universities have done the same.

  • Robert

    What precisely would a cap on salaries accomplish?
    Unless of course you value empty symbolism over concrete effect…

  • alum

    Graduated salary reductions are a good idea.

    The Yale Transit Shuttle should be cut as well. It is an extremely expensive service, and unnecessary. Students can just as easily use public buses, taxicabs and bicycles. I often see the shuttle speeding around with one person on it.

  • Couldn't agree more

    And President Levin should go on a voluntary salary of $1/year. God knows the man can afford it.

  • CarloG

    #6- That would be a concrete effort that would require the student body to suffer. Shame on you suggesting a Yale student walk a block. Much better to have a few more employees on the street.

  • Yale '10


    I'm going to take your question at face value: what would salary caps accomplish?

    Well, for one, a cap on salaries would immediately reduce the budget deficit for the current year. This is in direct contrast to the current plan.

    "The boost to severance benefits means the University will not immediately see the savings from the layoffs, Provost Peter Salovey explained. But it still helps, he said, because the budget gap resulting from the endowment’s 25 percent plunge will widen over time."

    So capping salaries, as opposed to lay-offs with severance pay, would immediately deal with what is a very serious budget crisis.

    Obviously, I don't believe this will "solve" the problem in its entirety. That is why I suggested above, as have other posters previously, that we have graduated salary reduction on an amount sufficient to close the budget gap — intending, of course, to raise them back up once the economy begins to rebound, whenever that should be. Reductions, unlike lay-offs, will help immideiately.

    Moreover, the salary caps of administrators would show that they are serious about addressing the problem from every possible avenue, and might even make more tolerable amoung senior (tenured) faculty the possibility that they, too, could take on temporary salary reductions (This would need to be a faculty-led initiative, and the administrators self-imposed cap would perhaps lead to this being considered.)

    I understand, Robert, from your previous comments that you think unions are to blame, and that we should perhaps fire them all. Obviously, I disagree strongly with this assessment, but it is really wuite immaterial. Local 35 workers are not going to be fired under any plan being proposed (except on YDN comment threads). It will be the workers with whom you may have more sympathy who lose their jobs.

    Thus, it seems to me that you should be supporting a comprehensive approach to solving this budget crisis. It's a very conservative solution: cut overhead costs at all levels, from the workers on up to the chief executive, while still maintaining the services to students and faculty for their research and classes that are the essence of the university's purpose.

  • Anonymous

    dear dumbA$$ you obviously arent a woman, travel at night, and have a car. keep the shuttle.

  • YaleProf

    Hmmm… a member of the faculty was recently proposing that all faculty get paid for summer months, even if they could not (ahem) get grants. This sounds very much to me like a big raise. I wonder who that was…

  • current student

    As a female undergrad who routinely works at the medical school after dark, I'm going to say, yeah, the shuttle is necessary. It's a safety issue, not an entitlement one.

    Talk to me when there aren't shootings and muggings two blocks from campus.