The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Letter to the Editor: recent alumnus hopes that new president brings a new direction

Dear incoming President,

I am writing this letter concerned about where the current administration has taken Guilford College but with hope that you will redirect Guilford to align with its Quaker heritage and unique spirit.

I am concerned about the gratuitous Chabotar-era administrative raises, while staff and faculty salaries have remained stagnant. I am concerned about the lack of both transparency and faculty support that has led to many of our most gifted professors leaving the college — see Diya Abdo’s and Maria Rosales’ recent open letter to The Guilfordian. I am concerned that, in the face of budget shortfalls and a decade of stagnant faculty/staff salaries, our president, who could be collaborating with donors to allocate gifts to the areas of the greatest need, has accepted “restricted” donor gifts to build a steamy rock fountain, a brand new golf center, repurposing the formerly, multi-use community field into a driving range, and building a new baseball stadium fence.

When President Chabotar arrived in 2002, Guilford was “rudderless, dilapidated and broke,” to use his own words. Chabotar initiated a period of austerity by cutting endowment spending from 14 percent down to about 5 percent, a necessary move.

This austerity, however, did not extend to his top administrators. These pay hikes mirror the rising wage inequity gaps of the broader economy and smell like the post-2008-financial-crisis Wall Street executive bonuses.

I’ve heard administrators justify the high vice president pay by saying we need to be competitive for the best CFO or Academic Dean. But, in what other area of Guilford are we competitive with our deep pockets? None.

Faculty and staff take a significant pay cut to teach at Guilford because they believe in the mission of the College and the community. On average, students at Guilford receive a discount rate of about 50 percent of tuition, enabling students of varying socioeconomic statuses to attend Guilford, thus enriching the cultural, racial, ethnic and ideological diversities of Guilford.

If you, the incoming President, were to accept a pay cut and fill the newly vacant vice president positions at a lower pay grade, this would show the community your humbleness and consideration for the well-being of the community before the well-being of your office. If you raise faculty and staff salaries and respect the collective faculty and staff voice, this will increase faculty retention and make the community of faculty and staff stronger, and thus better prepared to support students.

The compensation of our administrators should not be multiples of our faculty and staff salaries, and donor gifts, restricted or not, must reflect the ideals and priorities of Guilford. Guilford is an educational institution. Please make the Guilford budget reflect that ideal, and please encourage the spirit of giving towards exciting new academic, scholarship and experiential (which includes athletic) programs instead of submitting to colonial philanthropy, where legacy through monument trumps the often subtle yet vital needs of the greater community.

A concerned but hopeful recent alumnus,

Tom Clement

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  • E

    essay writing class ai university student tips assignment assets engl coursesAug 9, 2014 at 3:09 am

    Just writing and submitting is not the correct way. Hunt out for the facts of the case,
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  • C

    CateJul 3, 2014 at 12:27 pm

    *Quaker hands*

    Tom, you speak my mind through and through — and so eloquently at that! Thanks for your voice. I hope this message it received with an open heart and open mind.

    Love & Light.