As Dr. Susan Cole’s tenure as president of Montclair State University is set to end towards the end of the month, Jonathan Koppell, the university’s upcoming president, plans on taking a slightly higher salary than his predecessor.
Koppell’s salary will be $475,000 according to Adam Clark of NJ Advance Media for NJ.com. In comparison, Cole’s salary in 2019-2020 initially was $587,000, but was later cut down to $471,000 in response to the pandemic.
In addition, Koppell can receive nearly six-figure bonuses over the five-year period of his current contract as well as a car allowance of $700 per month. Koppell will live on a presidential property included as one of the benefits of the position.
The amount may seem staggering to some, but this is far from luxurious compared to the salaries provided to other university presidents.
For example, at Arizona State University, where Koppell was previously employed, President Michael M. Crow received a salary totaling up to over $1.1 million, according to a 2018 study by The Chronicle, a publication that highlights issues in higher education.
In addition, Clark further states that Johnathan Holloway, the new president of Rutgers New Brunswick, earns roughly $780,000 a year in base pay. which is $305,000 more than Koppell’s salary.
In comparison, full-time professors at Montclair State get at least $95,000 per year according to a pay estimate from Glassdoor, not accounting for adjunct professor pay which is far lower in comparison.
While it is standard for college and university presidents to rake in massive salaries for their work, it should be noted that the university lost over $34 million of state funding last year due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
Student and staff reaction to this proposal has been mixed. Charlie Falotico, a sophomore television and digital media major, believes this is not a big issue.
“If the campus found a way to give that wage without having to cut other resources and in turn Koppell does a quality job in his position, I don’t completely disagree with it then,” Falotico said.
Jared Tauber, a sophomore filmmaking major, sees this in a far more neutral light.
“I mean, does him being paid more than that help the school?” Tauber said. “Does him being paid less help the school? His salary, like all decisions regarding [Montclair State], should be in the best interest of the university.”
Koppell’s term as president will begin on Aug. 2, three weeks before residential students begin to move back into dorms and apartments. Cole will retire on Aug. 1, quietly ending her 23-year tenure as the president of Montclair State.
The school has not publicly released any statements related to Koppell’s upcoming salary.