To the Editor:

Although I have been retired from the Modern Languages Department for several years, I still take an interest in the progress of Ohio University (or, as we are loudly admonished to call it by the persistent image-polishers on the payroll: OHIO). Recently, the Board of Trustees apparently have taken their cue in compensation matters from the salary/bonus structure prevalent in the OHIO Athletic Kingdom, where coaches are not only paid large salaries just for showing up but are also awarded bonuses for actually winning games.

Such a system of being doubly rewarded for doing one’s job is, of course, beneath the dignity of the OHIO academic world, but not, apparently, of the OHIO administrative realm. Unmindful of the fact that several faculty members are being “non-renewed” (aka fired), the Trustees have granted the OHIO president not only a raise to his almost $500,000 salary, but the maximum 15% bonus of $72,000 for doing what one assumes to be his job; that is, improving the stature of OHIO (otherwise, wouldn’t they non-renew him?). It probably escaped the Trustees’ attention that $72,000 might save one of the lost faculty positions. 

The good news is that the Trustees have amended the presidential contract to allow for a 20% performance bonus. One can only hope that the president will have a down year, which would free up bigger bonus bucks to save a threatened faculty slot. It is good that the president is showing leadership qualities, but to be a leader you need someone to lead, and if the numbers of faculty (and students) continue to decline, he will be a leader without a following. 

I am sure that the Trustees will give my concerns the attention they deserve when the Board next meets on salary matters.

Barry Thomas

OU Professor of German Emeritus

Charles Street


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