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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat


    Column: If only the UA could be more Hartless

    Alex McIntyre
    UA President Ann Weaver Hart reacts angrily to a question posed by The Daily Wildcat during an on-camera interview in her office in Old Main on Friday, August 26, 2016. The question attempted to clarify the timeline offered by Hart in her decision to not seek renewal of her contract as UA President in 2018.

    The president of this university has been adhering to the social norm of public officials being highly controversial. From her questionable involvement with the DeVry Education Group, to her strangely high salary and unfailingly successful ability to manipulate those above her until she gets her way, President Ann Weaver Hart is clearly no stranger to controversy.

    While the aforementioned events have occurred in the recent past, the newest Hart debacle is the terms of her transition from president to ordinary faculty member. President Hart will not be renewing her contract in June 2018.

    Now, as many would likely assume, once you leave your post, that job no longer pays you.

    RELATED: UA Presidential Search Advisory Committee stresses confidentiality

    Come January, is Obama going to demand he stays in the White House and continues receiving a presidential salary and benefits, despite the fact that his successor will be there, too? No, because that is preposterous—much like President Hart’s transition terms.

    Hart will continue to be paid an annual salary of $475,000, even after her replacement begins working in 2017. Despite the UA policy stating that an employee must have worked at the university for six years prior to being granted a paid sabbatical, Hart is receiving a paid sabbatical after only being a university employee for five years. There is clearly a double standard, and the Arizona Board of Regents seems to be too easily coerced by Hart’s wishes.

    RELATED EDITORIAL: Issues of transparency at Hart

    After her questionable morals and unclear loyalties, it seemed it would not be in the school’s best interest to continue employing her as a professor of educationpost-presidency.

    Another detail of the transition terms includes the promise of Hart receiving a salary equal to that of the highest paid professor in the UA College of Education, beginning once she becomes a professor. This level of pay is usually reserved for the most respected, valued professors at this school who have proven themselves worthy of such a salary. But Hart will be receiving this pay without any proof of outstanding performance as a professor.

    Hart’s salary is already $47,000 per year more than the average public university president, according to CNN, making her a major point of contention for students at this university. In the past, our tuition increased as the president’s salary increased, and this seems entirely unnecessary and borderline extortion-esque. 

    RELATED EDITORIAL: Hart should have shown solidarity, turned down bonus 

    We shouldn’t have to sell our first-born just to get a public university-level education, and it is even more disturbing that a portion of the money we pay, as well as a portion of Arizona taxpayer money, is being shoveled over to a less-than-satisfactory president of the university, which as previously detailed, will continue occurring even after she is no longer president of the university.

    Unfortunately, transition terms such as President Hart’s are not exactly uncommon in the world of high-level university officials. But of course, this case is the most frustrating one for us Wildcats as it hits the closest to home and is so clearly corrupt. Public, non-profit universities such as the UA, ought to be focusing far more on academia and individual student success and far less on the politics and money of education.

    Follow Talya Jaffe on Twitter.

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