Virginia Tech, Occupied (but only for a little bit)

So, the campus “occupation” yesterday was more of a transient protest, it seems. Rather than camping out like the Wall Street or other big city groups, they apparently went home at the end of the evening yesterday. There was the same socialist idiocy we’re seeing at the other protests, but I did want to focus on one of the protesters from the Roanoke Times story I linked to above.

Starflower O’Sullivan, a Tech alumna, said the distribution of resources is skewed to the point that she and her husband, a campus dishwasher earning $19,000 a year, can’t afford to buy a house within a reasonable distance of his workplace.

That’s funny, because I managed to buy a house within a reasonable distance of my workplace (which is just off campus), and I only make about $25,000 a year – and I’m single. I bet you and your husband combined make significantly more than that. Maybe you should re-think your view of what is a “reasonable” distance. There’s at least one house for sale right down the street from me that you should be able to afford.

O’Sullivan and other protesters railed against the high wages of some faculty and administrators, such as President Charles Steger, and football coaches, in comparison with the low wages they said many other Tech employees earn.

Let’s think about that for a second. President Steger is the person ultimately responsible for every facet of the University’s operation. From academics and research to financial management to athletics to trash removal, anything and everything affecting the workings of a major university with 30,000 students and 1,300 academic staff is his responsibility. The education of those 30,000 students is ultimately his responsibility. The handling of major incidents, like the April 16 shootings, is ultimately his responsibility. The buck stops with him.

Your husband washes dishes. An honest and worthwhile job, and certainly one that needs doing, but your husband’s responsibility begins and ends with washing the dishes. He’s not even responsible for washing all the dishes on campus, just the ones in his dining hall (and maybe not even all of those, depending on which dining hall he works in and how many people they have washing dishes there).

President Steger has ultimate responsibility for overseeing the jobs of a couple of thousand people, including your husband. He has thousands of times the responsibility of your husband, and for this vastly greater responsibility he makes only about 40 times your husband’s salary.

Frank Beamer, the head football coach, manages a program that brought the university over $14 million in revenue in 2006 (the most recent numbers I found). For this, he earns a base salary of about $272,000. While he also does make about $1.8 million in incentives and appearance fees, my understanding is that those are either not paid by the university and are not guaranteed or consistent, or (in the case of the incentives) are performance based – if the team doesn’t do well, he makes less money, which would seem fair to me.

So, tell me again, who is really being underpaid?


[Source: Roanoke Times article, retrieved 10/14/11]

Leave a comment


  1. Well, if Starflower O’Sullivan (could she have a more stereotypically hippie name?) really is a Tech alumna, then I’d say the president of that school is indeed overpaid; after all, she doesn’t understand basic stuff like this.

    Obviously he’s not doing his job!

  2. My first ‘official’ job in 1979 was washing dishes at a flea market — I was paid $1.90 per hour.

    It was a good wage for the job I was doing.

    So, I have a question: Has the job of washing dishes changed in 32 years?
    It really hasn’t changed in 32 years or 320 years.

    So why should it pay as much as a College President? His job certainly has changed. New media to deal with new technologies (washing dishes is definitely a mature industry), new teaching methods, broader offerings, etc.

    If they want to make more money, change jobs. Improve your skill sets, don’t you think that the professors and admins are constantly doing that?

    Second, no one says you have to have your own home Lady?
    Wouldn’t it make sense to share a home, rent an affordable, low cost apartment while saving up for a home?

    There was a reason for late marriages, people living with their folks while saving up a “nest egg”. Maybe if you had studied history and economics you might understand.

  3. MIke

     /  December 19, 2013

    Hey Starflower….contact me!


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