American Consequences - April 2021


together a first-class faculty, like the one at Harvard, on the cheap. But then, there is payroll for the non-teaching part of the payroll throughout the world of higher education in the U.S. A LESSON IN GRIFTING Much has been made recently about “deans of diversity.” (Which sounds, when you speak the words, like a 60s music group.) There is such a thing and it is not, evidently, a bad gig. According to Zip Recruiter, the average salary of a diversity dean is $100,000. But everyone is in the diversity racket, these days, and what colleges and universities spend on it could not be more than a very small fraction of their total administrative costs, which have risen far more than faculty compensations have. Forty years ago, colleges hired more people to teach than they did to “administer.” Since then, the number of “administrators” has grown far more than enrollment. And administrators being bureaucrats, they know how to make themselves essential and un-fireable. A struggle between administration and faculty is really no contest. And those people have to be paid,

And some people with several degrees have more to offer a university looking to hire than another person with the same degrees. And if a school wants to remain competitive, then it must have a first rate – read: expensive – faculty. The money to pay for that faculty comes, for the most part, from tuitions. The schools do have other sources of revenue, including endowments. Harvard is so lavishly endowed that there was talk, a few years back, about possibly doing away with tuition altogether and running the school off the returns – making Harvard, essentially, a hedge fund with a little education business on the side. But Harvard isn’t into philanthropy. In spite of the fact that its endowment is worth more than $40 billion, it recently took a $9 million in cold Coronavirus Aid, Relief, and Economic Security (“CARES”) cash. That’s money that some trade schools and local colleges could certainly have used. There is something almost sweetly naive in the complaints about the costs and the corruptions of higher education. Still, few would deny that a Harvard degree is worth whatever it costs (which, incidentally, is about $250,000 if you take four years to do it). And many people who go to Harvard do not pay full freight. Even those who graduate loaded with debt can expect to prosper. Which might explain why so many people want to go to Harvard. The Harvard faculty is – almost self-evidently – worth whatever it costs. And you don’t put

too. According to one recent estimate, the combined salaries of the diversity

administrators at the University of Michigan is $11 million. This leads one to wonder just what the total take by administrators is... And what the students who pay the salaries of those administrators are getting for their money. But that is to enter a place that might as well be called “Futilistan.” A place where one can also cry to the heavens about “the deficit,” or


April 2021

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