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Petition for Fair Executive Pay!

Brandeis University Board of Trustees

Dear fellow Brandeis community member,

Ex-President Jehuda Reinharz, who oversaw a sweeping wave of budget cuts at Brandeis, is making more than $600,000 a year in retirement. And he can’t even explain what he does there, exactly. That’s in addition to what could be $800,000 or more from the Mandel Foundation, one of the university’s largest donors.

At a time when Brandeis is raising tuition, squeezing staff, and relying on poorly-paid adjuncts, this sort of behavior is unacceptable.

Please sign and share the petition demanding the Board of Trustees reform its payment practices.

To: Brandeis University Board of Trustees
From: [Your Name]

As alumni, faculty, and members of the Brandeis University community, we are shocked at the double standard employed by the University in its non-transparent financial dealings.

We owe a great deal to the university, which taught us the tenets of social justice that continue to influence our lives and careers. We expect to see these values reflected in the decisions the university makes.

A recent Boston Globe article highlights the extremely high compensation given to President Emeritus Jehuda Reinharz, who has three job titles but no clearly defined responsibilities. Meanwhile, tuition continues to increase at the rate of +4% a year (much higher than inflation), and adjuncts and unpaid faculty are proliferating at our alma mater. The gulf of inequality at Brandeis University is growing.

Reinharz’s excessive compensation is part and parcel of a national trend of universities shifting resources away from the classroom and toward administration. Brandeis undermines its own values when it prioritizes donor relationships and institutional prestige over student access to scholarship and good stewardship of our communal resources.

This path is financially unsustainable and irresponsible. Although recent fundraising has been successful, it has distorted institutional priorities and over-committed us to failed strategies. Excessive executive compensation is the equivalent of investing for the long-term in a limited network of donors and foundations. We have built “prestigious” buildings and new centers and schools while the rest of our physical infrastructure crumbles and tuition skyrockets. Students take on more debt but have fewer chances to find work. Academic and service workers shoulder more burdens but their pay has stagnated.

This bubble will pop unless there is a severe course correction. Brandeis has an opportunity to lead the academic community towards a more rational and fair path.

In the spirit of community and truth, and as a commitment to better stewardship in the future, we demand that the Board of Trustees:

1) Institute a policy of transparency regarding past, current, and future executive compensation. Both complete compensation packages--all salary, benefits, and other compensation received by any current or former university executive--and the mechanisms for calculating executive compensation should be published in a publicly available forum. "Executive" refers to any and all current and former Officers of the University and any current or former Academic Dean who does not fulfill the teaching obligations of a tenured Professor, as well as to any current or former non-faculty employees whose compensation is greater than or equal to that of members of the previously listed groups.

2) Tie the complete compensation packages of past, current, and future executives to compensation for the lowest-paid full-time worker employed by the University. The complete annual compensation of the highest-paid employees of the University should be no more than fifteen times the complete annual compensation of the lowest-paid full-time employee of the University.

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