Friday, May 31, 2013

Adjunct Faculty, Now in The Majority, Organize Citywide | Labor Notes

Adjunct Faculty, Now in The Majority, Organize Citywide | Labor Notes

May 30, 2013 Alexandra Bradbury

When adjunct faculty at Georgetown University swept their union election May 3 with 72 percent voting yes, it marked a local tipping point: Service Employees Local 500 now represents a majority of adjuncts at private colleges in the Washington, D.C. area.
Adjunct faculty met in Boston in April. They're aiming for city-wide bargaining but currently organizing school by school. Photo: SEIU/Adjunct Action.
























The spread of adjunct unions in D.C., where faculty self-organized at four colleges, inspired SEIU to launch a citywide, cross-college organizing strategy in Boston. Seattle may be next. The Steelworkers are doing the same in Pittsburgh.
In many industries, your typical union event is a march or a rally, but in the academic world, folks like a good symposium. Both unions held conferences on contingent faculty organizing in April.

The Higher Ed Business

Tuition continues to climb, but not because of faculty pay. At some D.C. universities, according to SEIU, an incredible 4 percent of the budget goes to instruction.
Instead, in public institutions, rising tuitions are filling the gap left by declining state support. In all types of schools, tuition is also spent on increasing salaries for the expanding ranks of administrators. The number of non-faculty professionals—think tech support, admissions, athletics, and fundraising staff, for instance—more than tripled 1976 to 2001, The Nation reported. Money also goes to fancy buildings, new technology, and other campus amenities to compete for students.
“If you take as your model the typical Wall Street bank, the people who make the most money are the people who do the least work,” said adjunct Kurt Brandhorst, “and I’m afraid that’s how most American universities are going.”
Higher education—even at for-profits like the University of Phoenix, the country’s largest university—is mostly publicly funded, through federal grants and loans.
Though elite schools get the media attention, “the majority of people in higher ed today are working-class people, as students and as teachers,” said contingent faculty activist Joe Berry.
The typical teacher is a female adjunct in a community college, Berry said. The typical student is a single mom in her late 20s or early 30s, going to community college part-time while holding down a job.
SEIU’s Boston event drew workers from at least 20 colleges, including a majority of the area’s large institutions. Boston is home to 13,000 contingent faculty.
At the Pittsburgh event, said veteran organizer Joe Berry, “I think I saw two or three organizing committees form before my eyes.”

THE NEW FACULTY MAJORITY

Adjuncts, also known as contingent faculty, teach on a contract basis, often booked one semester at a time. Adjuncts number at least a million and now make up 75 percent of higher ed faculty. One advocacy group is aptly named the New Faculty Majority.
Said Berry, author of Reclaiming the Ivory Tower: Organizing Adjuncts to Change Higher Education, “They could shut down the universities with a credible strike threat, because they teach most of the classes.”
Staffing at universities is an extreme two-tier scenario. In many institutions, the average tenure-track faculty member makes two, three, or even four times per course what an adjunct does, said Anne McLeer, a former adjunct now in charge of SEIU 500’s higher ed campaigns.
Many adjuncts make $2,000 to $3,000 per course, with no benefits. (Eight courses per year would keep you very busy.) Some get food stamps.
But with tenure-track positions fast evaporating, the contingent life is the likeliest path for new grads who dreamed of becoming professors.
It’s been a dramatic slide, even compared with other industries. “Almost no place have you seen a job that was as good as a professor job completely casualized in the space of a single generation,” Berry said.

JUST-IN-TIME EDUCATORS

Adjunct work is not only poorly paid but unstable. D.C.-area adjunct Kurt Brandhorst said he’s been asked to teach a course two days after the semester began—not unusual in adjunct world. “You need it, you take it,” he said. “Semester-to-semester contracts are a nightmare to live by.”
A recent report from New Faculty Majority and the Campaign for the Future of Higher Education coalition calls this “just-in-time employment”—and points out it’s not good for students either. Educators booked at the last minute won’t have had time to plan lectures and readings. Sometimes they are not even provided the use of a photocopier or office space to meet with students.
Some adjuncts are just teaching one course as a side job to their regular career, but those whose vocation is teaching are mostly “freeway flyers,” piecing together a living from part-time jobs at several colleges (and sometimes online).
That’s one reason organizing citywide makes sense. For years, Berry tried to get the traditional academic unions—the Teachers (AFT), National Education Association, and University Professors (AAUP)—to take up this metro approach, but with limited success.
“I’m as pleased as Punch” that someone is finally doing it, he said.

METRO STRATEGY

Citywide bargaining could create a more stable work life for adjuncts, perhaps with centralized job posting and something like a union hiring hall.
The idea might be, “If I lose a course at George Washington, am I next in line to get a course at Catholic University?” McLeer said.
Local 500 has already improved job security in its contracts. For instance, at Montgomery College in Maryland, if you’ve taught four semesters in three years you can be denied reassignment only with a good-faith reason (such as downsizing or poor performance), and after you teach seven of 10 semesters you can apply for an annual appointment with a guaranteed course load.
The goal of a citywide coalition would be to push benefits and pay closer to full-timers’—ultimately making adjuncts not so much cheaper than permanent faculty. McLeer hopes this would push universities to abandon the contingent model and hire former adjuncts into stable positions.
In that case, maybe they couldn’t be in her union anymore: the Labor Board considers full-time faculty in private institutions to be management. But there’s no shortage of adjuncts to organize.
“There’s the community colleges, the for-profit institutions,” McLeer said. “From the beginning this has been about creating a movement.”

NEW FRIENDS

Joint bargaining is the goal, but in the short term, the unions are still running representation campaigns school by school. The first of the Boston schools, Bentley University, filed for an authorization election May 9.
When a colleague told him about the symposium, "I thought, 'Well, it’s about time,'" said Doug Kierdorf, a medieval historian teaching at Bentley. He showed up, became part of the "de facto" organizing committee, and was astonished how quickly the process moved.
The election at Bentley will likely be held in the fall, since many adjuncts disperse for the summer. "You scramble for work wherever you can," said Kierdorf, who will spend a week grading history exams in Missouri, among other gigs.
Ironically, Brandhorst had time to play a bigger role in organizing at Georgetown after his teaching gig at another college fell through.
Organizers sent him a list of names, and he emailed colleagues to ask to talk about the union.
Often he was meeting them for the first time. Adjuncts typically don’t know their fellow workers: how would they? “I met more people through the organizing campaign in the last two months than I met in the entire year I was teaching at Georgetown,” Brandhorst said.
Some could never be tracked down. On the authorization petition, the union shot for the legally required 30 percent to file for an election—not the super-majority organizers usually insist on. But Georgetown lived up to its promise to remain neutral.
His message of solidarity “moved some people you wouldn’t expect it to move,” Brandhorst said. “You’re surprised when the retired army officer from Special Forces says yes.”
In the fall, though, Brandhorst won’t be a member of the union he helped form at Georgetown. His next job is at a public university in Virginia—where public employees are legally barred from collective bargaining.

Thursday, May 30, 2013

Outsourced Lectures Raise Concerns About Academic Freedom - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Students at Massachusetts Bay Community College this year got a rare opportunity to take a computer-science course designed and taught online by some of the top professors in the field.
The 17 students in a programming course at MassBay's Wellesley Hills campus watched recorded lectures and completed online homework assignments created by professors at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and offered as a massive open online course through edX, a nonprofit MOOC vendor co-founded by MIT.
The MassBay students met for regular class sessions with Harold Riggs, a professor of computer science at the community college. Students were required to come for only 90 minutes each week, rather than the customary three hours. And in addition to graded in-class projects from Mr. Riggs, the students completed homework assignments and three major exams written by the MIT professors and graded automatically by edX. At the end of the semester, the students who passed the class got three credits from MassBay and a certificate of achievement from edX.
Some higher-education forecasters believe this is the future of public education. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, which is supporting the MassBay experiment, has devoted millions to seeing if MOOCs produced by elite universities could help boost student success at financially strapped state colleges.
But where state legislators and college administrators see an opportunity, some professors see a threat—if not to their jobs, then to their freedom to teach a course as they believe it should be taught.
Read rest of article at
Outsourced Lectures Raise Concerns About Academic Freedom - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

In Deals With 10 Public Universities, Coursera Bids for Role in Credit Courses - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Coursera, the Silicon Valley-based provider of massive open online courses, announced on Thursday a series of deals with state universities that would place the young company squarely in the middle of the current upheaval in public higher education.
The company, which has made its name by working outside higher education's tuition-based credentialing system, announced partnerships with 10 public institutions that would extend well beyond providing support for new MOOCs.
Under the new deals, Coursera is recasting itself as a platform for credit-bearing courses that would be offered to students enrolled at multiple campuses within a public-university system.

Read rest of article at
In Deals With 10 Public Universities, Coursera Bids for Role in Credit Courses - Technology - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

UCLA tells professors not to apply for major new pharmaceutical grant

These days many research universities are constantly looking for new grant competitions and encouraging their faculty members to apply. On Friday, the University of California at Los Angeles took the unusual step of telling professors not to apply to a major new grant competition from a pharmaceutical company, saying that the program violated university rules.

Read article at : UCLA tells professors not to apply for major new pharmaceutical grant | Inside Higher Ed

Students at UW Propose Tuition Increase for Faculty Raises

May 27, 2013, 5:00 pm

kutz“Since students pay so much for their education here, we decided that we could not tolerate a decrease in the quality.”
Michael Kutz
University of Washington
Whether a college is a good value depends not only on what students pay, but also on what they get for their money. That’s why a student group at the University of Washington led by Michael Kutz has proposed increasing tuition to support faculty raises—unless the state comes through with more financial support.
read article and listen to audio interview at:

Students Propose Tuition Increase for Faculty Raises - Say Something - The Chronicle of Higher Education

Harvard Professors Call for Greater Oversight of MOOCs

Several dozen professors in Harvard University’s Faculty of Arts and Sciences have signed a letter to their dean asking for formal oversight of the massive open online courses offered by Harvard through edX, a MOOC provider co-founded by the university.
While “some faculty are tremendously excited about HarvardX,” the professors wrote, referring to the university’s brand within the edX platform, “other are deeply concerned about the program’s cost and consequences.”
The letter, published on Thursday in The Harvard Crimson, the student newspaper, was signed by 58 professors in the university division, which is known as the FAS.

Friday, May 24, 2013

Dark Cloud Over Academic Freedom - Commentary - The Chronicle of Higher Education


Dark Cloud Over Academic Freedom 1
Matt Gouras, AP Images
President Royce Engstrom of the U. of Montana talks about an agreement reached with the Education Department after a yearlong investigation into sexual-assault reports.
Enlarge Image
Recently, the Education Department issued a controversial "blueprint" for dealing with sexual harassment that could expose colleges that follow it to First Amendment lawsuits and redefine every flirtation and request to go out on a date as potential sexual harassment. It rejects decades of court rulings by declaring that any unwelcome speech or conduct of a sexual nature is harassment, even if it would not offend a reasonable person.

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

China Bans 7 Topics in University Classrooms - Global - The Chronicle of Higher Education


In an effort to curb Western influence, China's leaders have reportedly banned the discussion of seven subjects in university classrooms, including press freedom, universal values, and the historical mistakes of the Chinese Communist Party.



Read article at China Bans 7 Topics in University Classrooms - Global - The Chronicle of Higher Education (subscription)

Saturday, May 18, 2013

Greg Lukianoff: Feds to Students: You Can't Say That - WSJ.com

Greg Lukianoff: Feds to Students: You Can't Say That - WSJ.com


Greg Lukianoff: Feds to Students: You Can't Say That

The Justice and Education departments issue a dangerous new speech code for colleges.

The scandals roiling Washington over the past two weeks involve troubling government behavior that had been hidden—the IRS targeting of conservative groups and the Justice Department's surveillance of the Associated Press, among others. Largely overlooked amid the histrionics has been a shocker hiding in plain sight. Last week, the Obama administration moved to dramatically undermine students' and faculty rights at colleges across the country.
The new policy was announced in a joint letter from the Education Department and Justice Department to the University of Montana. The May 9 letter addressed the results of a year-long joint investigation by the departments into the school's mishandling of several serious sexual-assault cases. The investigation determined that the university's policies addressing sexual assault failed to comply with Title IV of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972.
But the joint letter, which announced a "resolution agreement" with the university, didn't stop there. It then proceeded to rewrite the federal government's rules about sexual harassment and free speech on campus.
If that sounds hyperbolic, consider the letter itself. The first paragraph declares that the Montana findings should serve as a "blueprint for colleges and universities throughout the country." After outlining the specifics of the case, the letter states that only a stunningly broad definition of sexual harassment—"unwelcome conduct of a sexual nature"—will now satisfy federal statutory requirements. This explicitly includes "verbal conduct," otherwise known as speech.
The letter rejects the requirement, established by legal precedent and previous Education Department guidance, that sexual harassment must be "objectively offensive." By eliminating this "reasonable person" standard—which the Education Department has required since at least 2003, and which protects the accused against unreasonable or insincere allegations—the right not to be offended has been enshrined in a federal mandate.
The letter further states that campuses have "an obligation to respond to student-on-student harassment" even when that harassment occurs off-campus. In some circumstances, the letter says, universities may take "disciplinary action against the harasser" even "prior to the completion of the Title IX and Title IV investigation/resolution." In plain English: Students can be punished before they are found guilty of harassment.
Given that the letter represents an interpretation of federal law by major federal agencies, most colleges will regard it as binding. Noncompliance threatens federal funding, including Pell grants and Stafford loans.
The implications for professors and students are enormous. An unsuccessful request for a date, or even assigning a potentially offensive book like "Lolita," could now be construed as harassment. As attorney and civil libertarian Wendy Kaminer commented on The Atlantic's website this week: "The stated goal of this policy is stemming discrimination, but the inevitable result will be advancing it, in the form of content-based prohibitions on speech."

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Wonder Land columnist Daniel Henninger on America’s lost generation. Photo: Getty Images
This attack on campus free speech follows the Education Department's directive two years ago requiring every college in the country that receives federal funds to lower the standard of evidence in sexual-harassment cases. The "preponderance of the evidence," the judiciary's lowest standard of proof, became the required standard. (Many institutions had previously used the "clear and convincing" standard.) As former Dean of Harvard CollegeHarry Lewis has noted, the "preponderance of evidence" mandate means "more convictions—of both guilty and innocent individuals," which is a troubling result "in a society that values individual rights."
Last week's letter is part of a decades-long effort by anti-"hate speech" professors, students, activists and administrators to classify any offensive speech as harassment unprotected by the First Amendment. Such speech codes reached their height in the 1980s and 1990s, but they were defeated in federal and state court and came in for public ridicule.
Despite these setbacks, harassment-based speech codes have become the de facto rule. Earlier this year, my organization, the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education, published a study that looked at 409 colleges and found that 62% maintain codes that violate First Amendment standards.
The stifling effect of these codes isn't theoretical. In 2011, the University of Denver suspended a professor and found him guilty of sexual harassment because his class discussion on sexual taboos in American culture (in a graduate-level course) was considered too racy. Last year, Appalachian State University suspended a professor for creating a "hostile environment" after she criticized the university's treatment of sexual-assault cases involving student-athletes and screened a documentary critical of the adult-film industry.
Recent history gives no reason to expect that the government's new directive on "verbal conduct" will remain confined to sexual speech. At Tufts in 2007, a conservative student publication was found guilty of harassment for criticizing Islam. The same happened to a professor at Purdue University at Calumet in 2012, who faced a four-month investigation.
An obsession with political correctness and the expansion of bureaucracy on campus are key factors in the proliferation of such free-speech abuses. But the hidden force that pushes schools to overreact to offensive, or merely dissenting, speech is fear of liability and the federal government. A growing "risk-management" industry—complete with regular conferences, conventions and consultants—has arisen from efforts by university administrators trying to avoid being sued for discrimination or harassment, and to avoid the costly investigations in which the Education Department's Office for Civil Rights specializes.
All of this effort and expense ought to be unnecessary. The Supreme Court already did the work in Davis v. Monroe County Board of Education (1999). Recognizing that workplace standards for harassment were inappropriate for educational institutions, inDavis the court offered a clear, narrow, workable definition of harassment as a targeted pattern of serious and ongoing discriminatory behavior.
Adopting this standard would have solved—and would still solve, if implemented—universities' liability panic, while allowing real harassers to be punished and avoiding serious threats to freedom of speech. But the Education and Justice departments apparently don't want to embrace the Supreme Court's solution. In their letter, they explicitly reject (and misquote) the court's thoughtful analysis in Davis, deeming it inapplicable for the agencies' "purposes of administrative enforcement."
When the Education Department lowered the standard of evidence for harassment accusations in 2011, some college administrators complained, but most meekly accepted the federal mandate. They may be regretting that submission, now that the government is pushing for even lower standards. Unless we decide that college should primarily be a social institution devoted to preventing offense, it is time for universities—as well as state governments, alumni, students, parents, faculty and citizens—to fight back.
Mr. Lukianoff is the author of "Unlearning Liberty: Campus Censorship and the End of American Debate" (Encounter, 2012) and the president of the Foundation for Individual Rights in Education.
A version of this article appeared May 17, 2013, on page A15 in the U.S. edition of The Wall Street Journal, with the headline: Feds to Students: You Can't Say That.

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Time to Pay Us Back at University of Wisconsin-Madison | Labor Notes

Time to Pay Us Back at University of Wisconsin-Madison | Labor Notes



Graduate employees held a “grade-in” rally at the University of Wisconsin-Madison today to draw attention to our vital work and fight our falling wages.
Wisconsin teaching assistants held a "grade-in"—preparing lessons as they occupied the administration building—to draw attention to their vital work and fight their falling wages. Average take-home pay is just $9,500 a year. Photo: Michael Billeaux. We occupied Bascom Hall (the central administration building) to grade papers, hold office hours, prepare lessons, and analyze data—just like we do for hundreds of courses and projects on campus every day—and draw attention to our economic insecurity.


University administrators say they’re satisfied with the level of funding the state proposes in the 2013-2015 budget—but we’re not, given the big cuts to take-home pay the majority of UW workers have faced.
The hundreds of members of the Teaching Assistants’ Association (TAA) are in an untenable economic situation. Although the university increasingly relies on us to do its teaching and research, our inflation-adjusted take-home pay has fallen $1,600 over the last decade—putting the annual average at around $9,500, well below the poverty level.
Further, graduate employees are required to pay more than 10 percent of our wages back to the university in the form of “segregated fees”—fees charged for such items as university health services, bus passes, and rec sports. Graduate assistants are the only employees on campus required to pay salary back through such fees, which have more than doubled in the last 10 years.
Our take-home pay ranks well below that of peer institutions and is the third lowest of the Big Ten universities.
Teresa Speciale, a doctoral student in Education Policy Studies and brand new TAA member, said she participated in the grade-in because she was surprised how high the fees were—and how low UW teaching assistants’ pay is.
“This is really the only job I can get as a doctoral student that also gives me the time and flexibility to focus on my own studies and research,” she said.
We are calling on the administration to completely eliminate segregated fees and give us a sizable wage increase. We need that $1,600 back just to reach the average in the Big 10.

Wave of Support

Public university employees no longer have legal bargaining rights because of Governor Scott Walker’s Act 10, which we protested so strongly in 2011.
But it’s clear our union is more than and stronger than a law. We are using the strength of our members and our indispensable role in the university’s functioning to give us more power than a contract.
The Pay Us Back campaign has generated a wave of support from all corners of campus: graduate students, faculty, staff, and undergraduates. TAA members and our supporters sent almost 500 letters to the Vice Chancellor urging him to raise our pay. Fifteen academic departments have already passed or are considering resolutions in support of their graduate assistants. TAA members presented our case at the May Faculty Senate meeting, to boisterous applause.
The TAA continues to negotiate informally with the administration and coordinate with other unions on campus to win fair wages for every UW-Madison worker.
UW-Madison only works because we do. It’s time to acknowledge our work and pay us back.
Jason Lee is a member of the Teaching Assistants’ Association at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

Monday, May 13, 2013

For Many Public-College Presidents, Homes Don't Count in Pay Packages - Leadership & Governance - The Chronicle of Higher Education

For Many Public-College Presidents, Homes Don't Count in Pay Packages - Leadership & Governance - The Chronicle of Higher Education


For Many Public-College Presidents, Home Is an Uncalculated Benefit

For Many Public-College Presidents, Homes Don't Count in Pay Packages 1
Mary Levin, U. of Washington
Hill-Crest, home of the president of the U. of Washington, has 35 rooms and a lake view. "It's extraordinarily useful," says the current occupant, Michael Young.
Afew weeks before Michael Young became president of the University of Washington, almost two years ago, he made use of one of his new job's perks: the president's mansion. In a small ceremony, with just a few family members and close friends, he got married on the patio of his new home, in Seattle's posh Madison Park neighborhood.
The residence was an obvious choice for the wedding. Hill-Crest, as it's called, has 35 rooms, comprises 12,800 square feet, and sits on about 1.4 acres, overlooking Lake Washington. It was bequeathed to the university in 1931 by the estate of the Walker-Ames family, timber barons, with the stipulation that the president must reside there or the university would have to sell it.
Among university-provided homes for public-college leaders, none is worth more than Washington's, which has a market value of $8.5-million, according to data provided by colleges for The Chronicle's annual analysis of presidents' pay.
Many presidents of large universities are given houses in which to live and to play host to fund raisers and other events. According to the survey, at least 20 of the houses provided to public-college presidents are valued at over $1-million; more than three dozen are worth $500,000 or more.
But at most public institutions, according to The Chronicle's survey, the value of living in these residences is not calculated as part of the chief executive's compensation package, even though it saves the president from having to pay what amounts, for most people, to the single biggest monthly expense.
In many cases, there isn't a current market value for the property on the books. Of the 118 public institutions in the survey that reported providing the chief executive with a residence, more than half didn't report any value for it.
"We own the house, and the house is on university property," said Pat Hanson, director of human resources and payroll services at the University of North Dakota, of the residence where Robert Kelley, the president, and his wife reside. "There's no reason for calculating a value, so we don't."
Public universities are not required to calculate or report the value of housing provided to their leaders. Because the institutions are public, they don't have to pay property taxes on the homes. And because the presidents are obligated by their contracts to live in the houses, they don't pay income tax on them.
"The general rule—and this applies to all industries, not just higher education—is that housing and meals that are provided for the convenience of the employer are not included in the taxable income of the person who is required to live there," says Virginia Sikes, a Philadelphia-based lawyer who specializes in tax-exempt organizations.
Similarly, private-university presidents do not have to pay income taxes on the value of housing they are provided. But unlike their public counterparts, private colleges are required to report the estimated annual value of this benefit, along with other nontaxable benefits, such as health care and business travel, to the Internal Revenue Service on Form 990, which private, tax-exempt organizations must file. The IRS added this requirement in 2008 to help it determine whether nonprofit groups were paying their top employees "excess benefits," in violation of federal law.
But that doesn't mean the value of private-college presidents' houses is entirely clear. Although tax experts say most private colleges report the fair rental-market value of the home as a benefit to the president, nowhere in the 99-page instructions for Form 990 is it explained how a college-owned house should be valued. And because the housing benefit is grouped with other nontaxable benefits on the form, discerning its value to the president is difficult.
Some public-college presidents say that a college-provided house shouldn't be considered a benefit at all. Mr. Young, who joined Washington in July 2011 from the University of Utah, where he was president, says he used to joke with the governor of that state that they were the only successful, midlevel professionals he knew who lived in public housing.
Early in his tenure at Utah, Mr. Young says, he tried to drop hints that he preferred to live in his own house. He says he believes most presidents feel the same way.
"If you were to give us a choice, would I rather have exactly the salary I have and live in my own house?" Mr. Young says. "I think anyone would."
He acknowledges that free housing sounds like a good deal, especially a mansion like Hill-Crest. But there are downsides. Because he regularly plays host to events, sometimes as many as four times a week, his home can often feel less like a private residence, he says, than a public meeting space.
Colleges say the public/private nature of a president's house is also what makes it hard to determine its value to the individual leader who lives there.
"We don't call it the president's home, we call it the home for Virginia Tech presidents," says Larry Hincker, associate vice president for university relations at Virginia Tech. "There's a reason for that nuance, which is really that it's a public place more than it's a private place."
On other campuses, housing is considered an important, if elusive, part of a president's compensation.
Steve Stein, a senior compensation specialist at the University of Missouri system, says he includes the insurance-based replacement value of university-provided homes when calculating compensation packages for campus leaders. He uses insured value rather than rental value because it is less susceptible to the fluctuations of the housing market.
"When I get a request from one of our chancellors or vice chancellors to provide compensation-related information regarding a position, I try to capture all of the elements, which means more than just, Do you get a house or not?" Mr. Stein says. "If I'm just giving them yeses and nos, I'm not giving them a whole picture."
In Seattle, Mr. Young agrees that the multimillion-dollar house is a benefit; he just thinks it benefits the university more than it benefits him and his wife.
"It is extraordinarily useful to have a president's residence," the president says. "It allows you to draw people into an inner circle. It allows you to say that they are more than someone who you just see in passing on the campus, and they are more than someone you just go out to dinner with at a restaurant."