Retiring Texas A&M University President R. Bowen Loftin demanded over $2.5 million in exit compensation and other bonuses, and then attempted to keep the deal secret by deleting emails, according to the Aggie Guardian.
Loftin, who is stepping down from the presidency in January, will receive two years of additional pay at his current salary, which would net him $850,000. The university has also promised him sufficient funds to create a new research institute at the university. He will also retain all of his electronics equipment, including an iPad and personal computer. Loftin will remain a tenured professor at the university making $310,000 a year.
Various legal fees, deferred compensation and other bonuses were also included in the deal signed by Loftin and the university.
Still, that deal falls short of what Loftin requested in a July 3rd email to the provost. The president also asked for a year of paid leave, and wanted his salary as a tenured professor to be even higher. These demands would have boosted his post-presidential compensation to $2.5 million.
Given the magnitude of the demands–and how unpopular they were likely to be among debt-ridden students and higher ed skeptics–it’s perhaps no surprise that Loftin took measures to conceal the arrangement from the public.
In his email to Provost Karan Watson and CFO B.J. Crain detailing his compensation demands, Loftin instructed the administrators to delete the message after reading it.
“I would suggest that you delete the attachment once you have read it and provided back to me any guidance you may have. Thanks, Bowen,” wrote Loftin in the email.
Loftin failed to follow his own advice, however, and the Aggie Guardian–a student newspaper at Texas A&M–obtained the documents via a public records request.
“Deleting emails and computer files is a technique sometimes practiced by university employees to avoid transparency through the Texas Public Information Act,” noted Kelsey Magliolo, a reporter for the Aggie Guardian, in her story about the scandal.
The university did not immediately respond to a request for comment from The Daily Caller. Texas A&M declined comment to the Aggie Guardian, and did not respond to Campus Reform.
Several students at Texas A&M expressed outrage at Loftin’s deal. Taylor Hartmann, a junior, noted that Loftin championed staffing and pay reductions during his time as president.
“I think if he is going to be an engineering professor, I think he should be paid the same as the rest of them,” said Hartmann. “He laid those people off and meanwhile he is getting a huge raise.”
Outrageous as Loftin’s pay may seem to students struggling to afford college in an age of skyrocketing tuition prices, lavish compensation packages and golden parachutes for top university administrators has become the norm. Just recently New York University President John Sexton was awarded $2.5 million in exchange for his resignation, and Oakland University President John Russi received his full deferred compensation award of $330,000, despite explicitly and repeatedly violating the terms of his employment contract.
Last year, the highest paid university president was Graham Spanier, ex-president of Pennsylvania State University, who was forced to step down in the wake of the Jerry Sandusky scandal. His retirement payout boosted his total compensation above $3 million, and he continues to receive $600,000 per year as a tenured professor. He does not currently teach.