Clarion Masthead

Chancellor’s Lucrative Exit: “Emeritus” Post to Pay $300K

The Board of Trustees has approved a retirement package for outgoing CUNY Chancellor Matthew Goldstein that will pay him a six-figure salary for nearly seven years after his retirement takes effect July 1.

The retiring chancellor will go on “study leave” for one year at his current salary of $490,000, a year take five months of paid Travia leave and then serve as chancellor emeritus for five years at an annual salary of $300,000. Goldstein will collect his chancellor emeritus salary concurrently with his CUNY pension.

The board’s resolution states that $100,000 of the chancellor emeritus salary “shall come from non-tax-levy funds.” In the past, this has meant that the funds come from the CUNY Research Foundation, with money from the RF’s “overhead” on faculty members’ research grants.

‘Underpaid’

Shortly before trustees approved the plan at their April 29 meeting, Board Chair Benno Schmidt told the New York Post that board members wanted Goldstein’s send-off to be “on the generous side.”

“I think he’s been underpaid as chancellor,” Schmidt said of Goldstein, whose compensation has included a $90,000 annual housing allowance.

The chancellor’s outside income currently includes his salary as board chair of the J.P. Morgan Funds, thought to be at least $500,000 per year (see page 5). He is expected to continue in that role for several years to come.

In the past, the position of chancellor emeritus – like faculty emeritus positions – was unpaid. Last year the Board of Trustees voted to change that, adding “chancellor emeritus” to the titles in CUNY’s Executive Compensation Plan (August 2012 Clarion). Schmidt told the Post that Goldstein’s duties as chancellor emeritus would include teaching, fundraising and work on some special projects.

The board’s resolution on appointment of a chancellor emeritus did not directly address why it was necessary to make this a salaried position. Instead, it cited Goldstein’s record as chancellor, saying that he has been “a true visionary.”

The Board’s action comes at a time when faculty and staff have not received a raise since 2010, and students are being hit with a tuition increase of 31% over five years. Thirty-nine percent of CUNY students come from households that earn less than $20,000 per year.

“It’s disgraceful,” said Bob Cermele, an associate professor of mathematics at City Tech and PSC chapter chair. “It’s horrifying that someone would take so much money from a public institution that is starved for funds.”

Tremendous Need

Gerald Meyer is a professor emeritus of history at Hostos Community College. Since Meyer’s retirement, he has regularly taught one class per semester, for which he is paid as an adjunct. Meyer says that Goldstein’s retirement package is symptomatic of deeper trends in society, leading to “the collapse of the ethos of the public sector based on a concept of service and stewardship.”

In 2006, Meyer co-founded the Hostos Circle of 100 Scholarship & Emergency Fund, which has raised almost $200,000 since its inception. The Fund has distributed $1,000 scholarships and $500 emergency grants to hundreds of standout students who are close to graduating but need a financial assist. “The need is tremendous,” Meyer told Clarion.

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