Lawrence earns near $1 million
The first-ever annual report from the Board of Trustees to the University faculty took place at last Thursday's faculty meeting. Perry Traquina '78, the chairperson of the Board of Trustees, revealed the specific numbers that the Board was examining in its review of Brandeis' policy on executive compensation, including University President Frederick Lawrence's salary and his receipt of a $199,020 bump in compensation from 2011 to 2012.
The report was instituted as a method of increasing transparency and as a response to concerns raised by University faculty, students and alumni over the salary paid to President Emeritus Jehuda Reinharz. Traquina, the chair of the Board, presented to the faculty the methods by which the trustees examined Brandeis' policies concerning executive compensation.
Lawrence's total compensation, including the salary, bonus, housing and the value of other benefits, adds up to a total of $757,479 for 2011, $956,499 for 2012 and $996,492 for 2013, according to the board.
In order to compare the salaries of the presidents and the senior staff with their peers at other institutions, the Board created a peer group of 28 similar colleges and universities, including schools such as Brown University, Lehigh University, Middlebury College and Colgate University. These were considered similar to Brandeis in either their size or liberal arts programs, or both aspects.
Using this peer group, the trustees examined the salaries of college and university presidents, as reported in their annual tax forms, within the peer group and created a ranking system. They found that Lawrence ranked in the 41st percentile among the presidents of the peer group in 2011, 55th in 2012 and 59th in 2013.
Lawrence's ranking, when compared to the presidents of all schools within the Association of American Universities, was in 45th percentile in 2011; the data for 2012 and 2013 were not available, according to Traquina.
However, when the trustees compared Lawrence's salary to the presidents at private colleges and universities within the AAU, Lawrence's salary, as shown on the slide presented by Traquina, was said to have been at the "bottom" his first year, rising only to the 20th and 25th percentile in 2012 and 2013, respectively.
The Board also calculated the aggregate senior executive compensation; $4,362,000 in 2011, $4,592,000 in 2012 and $4,885,000 in 2013.
Traquina showed that the aggregate senior executive compensation when compared to the aforementioned peer group, AAU and AAU private institutions was ranked in the 19th percentile in 2011, 17th in 2012 and 20th in 2013 among the AAU privates. Against the AAU, the aggregate senior executive compensation was ranked in the 54th percentile in 2011, 57th in 2012 and 55th in 2013.
On average over the past three years, Traquina noted, the total compensation for all of the senior executives consists of 1.56 percent of University expenses.
Traquina also showed the breakdown of two members of the executive staff, Senior Vice President of Institutional Advancement Nancy Winship and Chief Investment Officer Nicholas Warren. Winship's base compensation and benefits were at a total of $428,485 for 2012, while Warren's was a total of $565,000 in 2012.
All members of the board voted in approval and the faculty and student representatives approved the presidential compensation, Traquina said.
When Traquina opened the floor for questions, Prof. Lawrence Bailis (Heller) noted that the numbers suggest that the gaps between executives and faculty "is not just a Brandeis issue," but a national issue. Bailis then suggested that Brandeis should "play an extraordinary role ... rather than slipping into the norms" of paying University senior staff and executives significantly more than faculty.
Prof. Steven Burg (POL) said that "given the obscenity of compensation nationally in AAU universities," he didn't see a problem with being in the respective percentiles. Burg then went on to note that the presentation did not touch upon any sort of evaluation by performance and wanted to see "some articulation" of how the executive staff members are judged.
Traquina responded that Lawrence is held accountable for "fundraising [and] the quality of his team," among other responsibilities.
In its calculations, the Board found that Brandeis employed half as many staff members as the peer group average, a third less than the AAU average and a little over a third as many employed by schools in the AAU privates average. Traquina also said that the faculty to student ratio has slipped from one to eight to what it is presently: one to 10.
Prof. John Plotz (ENG) asked Traquina if the University had considered looking at the "ratios between the lowest decile earners and the highest decile earners."
Traquina said that the board did not look at the lowest decile to highest decile ratio because the University "would never get a president here" if the presidential compensation was "handcuffed" to the lowest paid staff member.
University President Frederick Lawrence's compensation was actually in the 45th percentile compared to all schools within the AAU. He is not ranked 45th in compensation out of the 62 AAU presidents.E xecutive compensation was in the 19th, 17th and 20th percentile among AAU private schools and in the 54th, 57th and 55th percentiles for all AAU schools in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The aforementioned statistics were initially written as ranks as opposed to percentiles.