One would have liked to believe that a reformer would arrive to lead Penn State University after a monster was able to destroy it, its children and the region in which it operates. There is reason to question the extent to which Rodney Erickson is one who wishes to change the culture of the institution.
Eyebrows were raised when Mr. Erickson stepped into the president's position at a spectacular salary of $515,000 per annum. Adding insult to injury, a tin-eared Board of Trustees has now lavished an $85,000 merit pay increase upon him, which he will apparently accept without shame.
The raise is approximately twice the average annual wage of Pennsylvania workers. I wonder how many of us "little people" are receiving 16.5% merit increases at this time of unprecedented economic challenge and uncertainty.
The $600,000 that President Erickson shall receive is not simply taken from a pot of tuition money paid by students and families, many of whom no doubt live modestly and from paycheck to paycheck, but from state appropriations that the school obviously does not need, this at a time that the Commonwealth, if it were a private business, would be considered insolvent.
There are many paths to riches in our society even from the most unlikely source, public money. The Penn State Board of Trustees and President Erickson have shown that they do not get it, as they have clearly stated, "The public be damned!"