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Gee’s 3% raise draws some students’ ire

Andrew Holleran / Photo editor

Ohio State President E. Gordon Gee has been awarded a salary increase and a bonus, extra money that some students worried about rising tuition aren’t happy about.
The Board of Trustees approved a $25,036 salary increase, a 3 percent addition that will raise Gee’s base pay to $859,566. Along with Gee’s annual performance evaluation, he was awarded a $333,812 bonus, 40 percent of his former pay rate.
According to university documents detailing Gee’s compensation package, his deferred compensation for fiscal year 2013 is $225,000.
Gee’s compensation also includes $641,301 as part of a supplemental retirement plan to be paid after “completion of required terms of service.”
Gee is the highest-paid public university president in the nation, a title he doesn’t apologize for.
“You know I’m the highest paid university president in the country and I feel it’s a privilege to be a president here and I want to earn that salary every day. I think that I do,” Gee told The Lantern during a Sept. 10 interview in response to a question about a Dayton Daily News article that reported he had spent nearly $8 million in travel since October 2007.
In fiscal year 2011, Gee earned a nearly $2 million compensation.
Gee’s total compensation of $1,992,221 was comprised of a base pay of $814,157, $881,278 in deferred compensation and $296,786 of bonus pay, which the university said is not distributed from public funds.
Some students said they think Gee plays a significant role within the university but had mixed feelings on his growing salary.
“Gordon Gee is a great president for us. He has a seemingly larger-than-life persona about him, mainly the bow ties, that shines OSU in a positive light. He’s a bit eccentric, but all in all he strives to make the university a better place for higher education,” said Seth Woelke, a second-year in landscape architecture. “As for his pay raise, being a student here without scholarship, it’s kind of hard to see so much of my investment going to him.”
Others said that the raise is hard for them to accept as the cost of attending OSU rises.
“From what I know, I think he was already the highest paid university president, so it’s hard for me to believe he needs much more money. Especially when I see that tuition is on the rise, I feel like increasing his salary isn’t a great idea,” said Austin Layton, a third-year in marketing.
Gee has in the past donated a portion of his salary back to the university, and university spokesman Jim Lynch said in an email that Gee will “continue to allocate funds toward his $1 million scholarship-endowment commitment. Until that endowment is complete, he will continue to fund current Gee Scholars on campus.”
Layton said he had heard of Gee’s donations, and said that “if (Gee) increases his contributions to that in proportion to his salary increase” he didn’t have a problem with his raise.
Lynch also said Gee plans to establish education funds for his twin granddaughters Elizabeth and Eva, who were born Nov. 5 to his daughter Rebekah.

Alex Casola contributed to his article.

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