Last year, Yale University paid President Richard Levin $561,709. During the same period, Yale University paid me approximately $592,000 less than that.
I deserve a raise.
After all, I do at least as much work as Levin. He goes to meetings. I go to meetings. He writes speeches. I write columns. He’s in charge of a billion dollar annual budget. I’m the treasurer for the mock trial team.
And the big ol’ salary isn’t the only benefit Levin gets that I don’t. For instance, people call him “President.” That’s pretty cool. No one calls me “President.” Some people call me “the King,” but that’s usually right before they spit on me.
The Yale Health Plan also provides Levin with real doctors affiliated with a real hospital. I, on the other hand, have been forced to deal with the hacks at DUH for the past three years. While Levin enjoys state-of-the-art medical care, the following is a typical exchange between a student and a University Health Services nurse practitioner:
Student: I have a sore throat. I’m coughing up green mucus.
Nurse Practitioner: I think you might be pregnant.
Student: No, you idiot, I have bronchitis.
N.P.: Oh, right, that’s what I meant. I’m going to write you a prescription for antibiotics.
Student: Better make it Percoset.
N.P.: Okay, Percoset it is.
Levin gets to meet famous people all the time. He sat next to Clinton (both of them). He took candid photos with Bill Cosby. He slept in Dubya’s White House. Who do I get to meet? No one. I don’t even get to go to big-name Master’s Teas, because I’m in Davenport.
Levin’s office is much bigger than mine. And have you seen his house? Let me tell you, my dorm room is not decorated with original works of Gauguin. (I can’t even hammer nails into my walls, because they’re made of some 1930s’ version of Kevlar.) And don’t get me started about Levin’s backyard — it’s spacious enough to pasture retired racehorses.
The president doesn’t have to bus his tray. He doesn’t have to limit himself to 14 meals a week. He certainly didn’t have to take the “Statistical Thermodynamics” midterm I suffered yesterday. They should change the name of Hillhouse Avenue to “Easy Street,” because that’s where Rick Levin lives.
If he had wanted to go to the Senior Masquerade Ball, he would have been whisked right in, without having to wait in line. Of course, he had no reason to go to the Masquerade Ball; people with his kind of prestige and power go to much more entertaining masquerade balls involving mass orgies. Or so I’ve heard.
This past year, four Dining Services managerial and clerical employees got pay cuts. Our tuition increased by $1,150. Sandwiches at Durfee’s became twice as small and half again more expensive. I was previously puzzled by what Yale was doing with all the extra money; I assumed it was being used to fund some noble battle against cancer or illiteracy or generic pharmaceutical companies in South Africa. But now I know the truth. Between 1999 and 2000, the Yale Corporation gave President Levin a $36,000 raise.
Richard Levin is now the sixth-highest-paid university president in the nation. Actually, he has held that ranking for the past five years. Try to imagine being the sixth-highest-paid anything. Not too shabby. Hell, I’d be happy being the sixth-highest-paid armpit sniffer.
And yet there are those who feel Levin isn’t compensated enough for what he does. Yale Corporation fellow Roland Betts ’68, who helps decide how much the president earns, recently told the Yale Daily News that Levin “is underpaid, and we have to do better next year.”
I don’t quite understand Betts’ comments. Did he think this was a race? I can just picture the last Corporation meeting:
Levin: Rollie, I finished in sixth. Again.
Betts: What?! I thought you were a shoo-in for the top five! What the hell happened?
Levin: Coming around the last fiscal quarter, I got passed by the guy at Columbia. I never saw him coming.
Betts: That bastard! I hear he takes performance-enhancing bribes.
Levin: Well, at least we whooped Harvard’s ass.
Mr. Betts, I personally am quite certain that Levin makes enough money. Most Yalies would agree. Instead, we think you should pay my tuition next year.
What about it, Mr. Betts? Don’t you think I’m funny? Doesn’t that deserve a little something extra?
Fine. Will you at least buy me a sandwich at Durfee’s?
JP Nogues is a senior in Davenport College. His columns appear on alternate Thursdays.