Million-dollar man: Aoun’s salary and benefits package hits seven figures
By Zac Estrada, News Staff
Northeastern joined another group last year which includes Boston University and Suffolk University — President Joseph Aoun’s compensation topped the $1 million mark.
Aoun received, according to Northeastern’s latest tax filing, a total of $1,016,461 in salary and benefits – an 11 percent increase compared to the last IRS filing.
Suffolk President David Sargent, previously criticized for a rapidly increasing salary, earned $1,481,787 in compensation. Robert Brown at BU received $1,142,307 last year.
Presidents of Harvard and Tufts universities made $874,560 and $737,393, respectively, over the same period in 2009.
“From the facts and all visible evidence, we have been going up in the rankings, so if an increase is justified because of that, I could understand it,” Student Government Association (SGA) President Mike Sabo said. “But in a time when everybody is struggling economically, I’m not sure if that’s the right message to send to students and the university.”
Provost Stephen Director received the second highest compensation, $572,822. Director also serves as senior vice president of academic affairs.
Tori Porell, a middler international affairs major, said private education institutions are a microcosm of what’s happening with large corporations.
“Other universities have the same problem of giving presidents large salaries,” Porell said. “The culture has become endemic.”
Porell is a member of Occupy Northeastern. The group has made surging tuition costs a major talking point at demonstrations since its October inception.
The increasing sizes of student loans has also been a primary concern of both Occupy Northeastern and similar Occupy movements on college campuses.
“There’s almost no democratic control over salaries,” she said. “Northeastern students have almost no say on how our tuition and fees are spent. A lot of our Board of Trustees members are on the boards of large corporations. That’s how campus buildings get named after things like Raytheon.”
Porell said Northeastern has also become “too bureaucratic” with the amount of senior executives making six-figure salaries.
The university’s 18 senior vice presidents and vice presidents received a combined $6,119,424, up 16 percent. Porell said she doesn’t believe Aoun necessarily needs to forfeit his salary, though.
“He should make an effort to weigh how much he makes against how much faculty, staff and campus workers make,” Porell said. “There’s a huge push to renegotiate what workers make here because they make poverty weights. It’s not a question on if he deserves a $1 million but whether he deserves it when other university workers are making what they are.”
The average faculty senate raise pool was up 2.9 percent, according to a presentation at yesterday’s faculty senate meeting. Aoun’s base salary rose about 4.5 percent.
Northeastern’s endowment rose 4.96 percent year-on-year to a reported $532,487,000.
– News Staff Zack Sampson contributed to this story.