Penn Professors Double Down on Occupy Wall Street

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The borrowing also goes to pay for professors, who stand in solidarity with the so-called 99 percent. And as one might suspect, railing against income inequity doesn’t come cheap. According to the New York Times, which noted that academic pay between 2008 and 2009 had been “squeezed by the recession,” the average salary then was $109,843 for a full professor, $76,566 for an associate professor, $64,433 for an assistant professor, $47,592 for an instructor and $53,112 for a lecturer.

Professorial work loads? From the Bureau of Labor Statics Occupational Outlook Handbook 2010-2011:

Most postsecondary teachers have flexible schedules. They must be present for classes, usually 12 to 16 hours per week, and for faculty and committee meetings. Most establish regular office hours for student consultations, usually 3 to 6 hours per week. Otherwise, teachers are free to decide when and where they will work and how much time to devote to course preparation, grading, study, research, graduate student supervision, and other activities.

The manual makes no reference to the fact that many college professors also have summers off. Nor does it make any references to tenure, which amounts to lifetime job security in a nation where the official unemployment rate in 9.1 percent, and the unofficial U-6 unemployment rate currently stands at 16.5 percent.

And then there are college presidents. The Chronicle of Higher Education reveals that the “median total compensation for college presidents in 2009-10 was $375,442.” The median total cost of employment, which includes bonuses and deferred compensation paid out over multiple years? A whopping $440,487 per annum.

Thus it should come as no surprise that student debt is at an all-time high. Two-thirds of college students graduate with such debt, and that debt averages $24,000 per student. And despite the reality that student debt cannot be forgiven even if one files for bankruptcy, 8.8 percent of student loan borrowers who entered repayment in 2009 had defaulted by the end of 2010, up from 7 percent the previous year

Even less surprising? One of the planks of the OWS movement is student debt forgiveness. “People are underwater on their student loans, just like they’re underwater on their mortgages,” said Staten Island lawyer Robert Applebaum. “The degrees aren’t worth what people paid for them, and it’s affecting the whole economy. I can’t tell you how many people have told me they’re putting off starting families and buying cars,” he added. Applebaum created a petition entitled Forgive Student Loan Debt. It has garnered more than 600,000 signatures in six weeks.

Our intrepid Penn professors? “Only by identifying the complex interconnections between repressive economic, social, and political regimes can social and economic justice prevail in this country and around the globe,” their petition states. Undoubtedly these professors remain purposefully oblivious to the reality that one of those repressive economic interconnections is taxpayer-guaranteed college loans, which underwrite higher education’s increasingly exorbitant costs. Taxpayers who, even if they have never been near a college campus, much less attended college, would be saddled with bailing out another group of elitists in the hallowed halls of academia, should the OWS crowd hold sway.

One can only imagine how much of a sacrifice the Penn professors would be willing to make in order to help make college more affordable. A modest salary cut — for the greater good — comes immediately to mind. In conclusion, the petition calls on “all members of the Penn community to lend their support to this peaceful and potentially transformative movement.” Perhaps such professors could be persuaded to “lend their support” in the manner of a colloquialism decidedly more at home in a neighborhood bar than on a college campus: put your money where your mouth is, ladies and gentlemen.

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  • Pathena

    The selfishness and greed of the Penn professors is apparent, as it is of the OWS movement. The rise in student costs for college came as a consequence of yet another of President Lyndon Johnson's well-meaning policies, namely, student loans from the federal government which were tied to tuition. That was an open invitation for colleges and universities to increase their tuition – which they did enthusiastically.

  • erp

    Who's teaching their classes?

    • mrbean

      No One I hope, as they are only indoctrination seminars.

    • angel

      That could only be an improvement

  • StephenD

    Paraphrased from a Michael O'Brian book "Father Eliajah,"
    "So now it is made clear that this "revolt" that hides beneath the superficial creativity of individualism tends more toward a numbing uniformity."
    It sure didn't take long for those calling for "equity" ended up shouting "Give it to me." The entire movement, all calling in unison, is at the core Socialistic at best and pure greed at worst. People want what they've no right to ~ someone else’s stuff.

  • Dr. Bob

    At least they are out of the classroom…these socialist losers don’t teach anyway…they lecture. And when they do, it’s all about the almighty government. Thank God they are out polluting OWS and not teaching the real students.

  • Edgar

    I support OWS and I have to say I also support every word of this (minus the first sentence).

    • angel

      Yea, I do too down with spooky dude, off with his head!

  • crypticguise

    I concur with the fact that most professional jobs DO NOT require a "college education". A college education today is no more than a certification that someone has attended 4 years (wasted) of classes in mostly useless non academic tripe.

    Bring back the Wonderlic Testing and Testing for Mechanical ability and hire the individuals with the best scores. It's worked in the military forever.

  • http://VocalMinority.typepad.com EricTheRed_VM

    In 2000-01 Undergraduate enrollment at UPenn cost:
    Tuition + Fees = a little over $25,000.
    Room/board = approx. $7,800.
    (http://www.archives.upenn.edu/histy/features/tuition/2000.html)

    In 2010-11 Undergraduate enrollment at UPenn cost:
    Tuition + Fees = $40,514
    Room/board = $11,430

    Why such a radical increase? Consider:
    The mean average salary for a full-time prof. at UPenn in 2000-01: $121,424
    (http://www.upenn.edu/almanac/v49pdf/030325/ESF2k3.pdf)
    The mean average salary for a full-time prof. at UPenn in 2010-11: $175,100

    This, of course, is not including health benefits and pension, and must be understood with the consideration that professors actually "work" 8 or 9 months of the year, and definitely not 9:00-5:00, 5 days a week.

    Re: UPenn's president:
    1998-99: $503,163 + $52,392 in benefits.
    (http://articles.philly.com/2000-08-22/news/25593244_1_severance-package-constantine-papadakis-drexel-university)

    2002-03: $845,474 annual compensation in 2002 in addition to salaries from other boards and both cash and non-cash benefits.
    (http://www.thejustice.org/features/college-presidents-pay-rises-1.2341272#.TqYwA5uImU8)

    2009-10: Penn President Amy Gutmann brought home a total compensation of $1,367,004 — about $500,000 more than her base compensation of $859,857.
    (http://thedp.com/index.php/article/2010/06/gutmann_sees_4_pay_raise)

    So who is screwing whom? Not Wall Street Bankers! Do young adults drowning in college debt have something to be angry about? Absolutely. But the target should be their institutions of "higher" education! These socialist profs with the 6-figure salaries for doing a total of about 6 months of work have no business being among the rioters!
    http://VocalMinority.typepad.com
    The Jewish Republican's Web Sanctuary

  • Hercules

    Lest anyone be fooled, the academics and the mainstream media elites have been the aristocracy in this country at least since FDR. By aristocracy I mean that they receive far more remuneration and recognition than their real contributions warrant. Insulated in their ivory tower sinecures they have very little to contribute which is germane and significant to the real world in which most of us live. In fact, the propaganda and lies they inculcate into the gullible pupils whom they are allowed to infect, make both them and their students a bane on society. Nonetheless, they earn more each year for doing less.

  • Hercules

    The result is that students have to borrow beyond their means to repay (like the governments at all levels). So the very culprits who are responsible for the disgruntled Occupiers, far from acknowleding their irresponsible greed, point the protesters towards the bottomless well called the taxpayers – a position in complete accord with the Redistributor in Chief named Obama. We had far fewer legitimate grievances against King George III to lauch our rebellion against England that we have today. It is NOT the socialist vagrants who should be occupying territory. It is patriots who have paid than is reasonable to support those who rely not even 1% on their own efforts and initiative but are 99% dependent on the earnings of those who have never asked for anything but the opportunity to pursue happiness.

  • Ellman

    The result is that students have to borrow beyond their means to repay (like the governments at all levels). So the very culprits who are responsible for the disgruntled Occupiers, far from acknowleding their irresponsible greed, point the protesters towards the bottomless well called the taxpayers – a position in complete accord with the Redistributor in Chief named Obama. We had far fewer legitimate grievances against King George III to lauch our rebellion against England that we have today. It is NOT the socialist vagrants who should be occupying territory. It is patriots who have paid than is reasonable to support those who rely not even 1% on their own efforts and initiative but are 99% dependent on the earnings of those who have never asked for anything but the opportunity to pursue happiness.

  • WSK

    My alma mater always seems to find a new way to embarass me!

  • Larry Rice

    As a Penn alumn, I am embarrassed by the "Penn" editorial. These Professors are just proverbial dreaming idealists. Wall Street =bad. Handouts = good. They do not understand the radicalism of the movement. They do not understand how quickly this will spiral. By making it a 99/1 game, they are creating scapegoats. And that same 1%, not surprisingly, is the same percentage of the US population that is Jewish. You do the math. I am embarrassed, ashamed and will be notifying Amy Gutman and calling for the immediate resignation of this cadre of anti-semites.

  • erp

    If I'm not mistaken, that 1% also pays somthing like 40% of the taxes. Their 99% mostly pays no taxes and is on the receiving side of the equation, not the contributing side.

    • http://VocalMinority.typepad.com EricTheRed_VM

      The latest stats are the top 1% make about 17% and pay about 37%. So they're already paying more than twice their fair share. The bottom 47% or so pay nothing at all. Now THAT's unfair. (And I'm far from the 1% believe me!)
      http://VocalMinority.typepad.com
      The Jewish Republican's Web Sanctuary