Paid Presidents, Unpaid Interns

Two articles related to the field of higher education recently caught my attention.

Unpaid Interns, Complicit Colleges” looks at the growing prevalence of unpaid internships, and the blind eye it has been getting from most colleges. In addition to the critical points directly raised in the article, it got me thinking about labor rights issues more generally, and whether “interns” might pose a kind of white collar sweatshop problem for companies. Indeed, when most people think about labor rights issues, no doubt they think of developing countries. But the issue of unpaid interns suggests companies may not have to look overseas to find labor rights issues. Presumably, no one is counting such issues towards corporate sustainability ratings, but perhaps they should…

Although college interns are not faring too well, public university presidents are doing okay. According to “Public-College Presidents Score Raises,” the median pay of presidents at 185 large public universities rose 1% to $444,487 during the 2009-2010 school year. For the third consecutive year, E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, was at the top of the list. His cash compensation for the 2009-2010 academic year was reported to be $1.3 million, plus another $0.5 million in deferred compensation and other perks, bringing the total cost of his employment last year to $1.8 million.

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