Trustees to scrutinize executive compensation
Senior Vice President for Communications Ellen de Graffenreid confirmed in an email to the Justice that the Board of Trustees is considering making changes to its compensation policies following a controversy that arose after a report revealed President Emeritus Jehuda Reinharz's fiscal year 2011 compensation. Although de Graffenreid wrote that "it is premature for anyone to discuss details of possible governance changes at this time," Junior Undergraduate Representative to the Board Alex Thomson '15 wrote in an email to the Justice that proposals to increase transparency are currently being composed to present to the Board at its January meeting.
According to Thomson, he and Jack Hait '14, the undergraduate student representatives, and the Faculty Senate have each submitted separate proposals to the Board. Both will be reviewed and discussed at the January Board meeting.
"The proposals have aimed to provide greater transparency on the process in which executive compensation is decided, improve equity in how much is paid to senior administrators in compensation, [and] enhance the position of the student and faculty representatives in providing advice and greater input," Thomson wrote.
Prof. Eric Chasalow (MUS), the chair of the Faculty Senate, wrote in an email to the Justice that the document, which was drafted together with the Faculty Representatives to the Board, was a series of recommendations on "Transparency, Equity, and Oversight."
"This is not a public document at this point, but part of a discussion of possible ideas with the Board," Chasalow wrote. "There will soon be a committee from the community to continue this discussion very quickly, working with the Board so that, when the Trustees meet at the end of the month, they will have some concrete things to consider."
Although both proposals aim to increase transparency, the Faculty Senate proposal, according to Thomson, "goes into greater depth and outlines specific benchmarks," while the student representative proposal "provides general guidelines for increasing transparency and ensuring that student input is given and properly considered."
Thomson wrote that he is not certain as to whether or not the Board will make its own proposals and stated that he would receive all "board materials" in early January, a few weeks before the meeting.
Thomson wrote that he is also unaware as to whether or not the Board will make any final decisions in January but maintained that the Board has been discussing this issue "constantly since the [Boston] Globe first reported on the matter."
"I think that the Board is moving in the direction of greater transparency and additional student and faculty input," he wrote. "The student representatives are pushing hard (along with the Faculty Senate) for greater representation in private discussions and we are confident that the Board will agree with our position."
In the Justice's efforts to contact Board Chair Perry Traquina '78 for comment, de Graffenreid denied requests for contact information but stated that Traquina could comment "when we have substantive action by the Board of Trustees to share with you."
Reinharz's compensation came into the spotlight after a Nov. 18 Globe article revealed that Reinharz has earned at least $1.2 million for part-time advisory work since stepping down as president at the end of 2010. The article led to outrage and concern among students and faculty. Nearly 1,600 alumni, students, faculty members and other people with ties to Brandeis subsequently signed an online petition protesting Reinharz's pay.