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Brandeis ex-president’s pay: No need for sinecures

Jehuda Reinharz is the former president of Brandeis.

Yoon S. Byun/Globe staff

Jehuda Reinharz is the former president of Brandeis.

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When longtime Brandeis president Jehuda Reinharz left office in 2010, he became president of the Mandel Foundation, which supports Jewish educational causes — a position that paid $800,000 in 2011. But he also received a position at the university, which has paid him at least $1.2 million since he stepped down and doesn’t require him to teach. It’s a boondoggle that shouldn’t be tolerated simply as a reward for his past service: Reinharz should receive pay for the work he now does, and nothing more. While university presidents deserve competitive pay while in office, ex-presidents don’t require generous sinecures.

Reinharz’s accomplishments include improving campus diversity and significantly boosting fund-raising — up to $1.2 billion over his 16-year tenure. But he was already rewarded for that good work while he was president. Now that he has left office, his compensation should be commensurate with his services. In his first year out of office, Brandeis paid Reinharz $500,000, partly to advise incoming president Frederick Lawrence. Reinharz’s pay, currently $287,500, is scheduled to drop next year to $180,000; his role will be that of a half-time professor. That salary will still be 45 percent higher than that of the median full-time professor at Brandeis, but Reinharz doesn’t teach classes.

Brandeis and Reinharz should revisit his exit deal, and universities with similar contracts with their ex-chiefs should follow suit. While ex-presidents can continue to serve their institutions as professors, giving them low-stress golden parachutes only serves to push up college costs .

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