Opinion

Keep information public

The university should update salary information to be as current as possible.

Do you know that President Englert is making $625,000 this year? We do, because we asked, and a university spokesman was forthcoming with the information. But what about a professor whose salary is paid with your tuition?

If you attended a public university in Pennsylvania, you could look up the salary of any of your professors, the school president, or even a food service worker at http://pennwatch.pa.gov under the employee salaries page (choose “State System of Higher Education”). But Temple — despite the slogan “Philadelphia’s Public University” used mostly in 2013 and 2014 — has a very limited display of professor pay.

Temple is actually a state-related university (a legal designation that effectively means “somewhat public”). This makes the university less subject to scrutiny than fully public universities under the state’s right-to-know law. Compared to Kutztown University or West Chester University, Temple has far greater leeway when it comes to making information publicly available.

Neither Englert’s salary nor the salary of his many vice presidents are posted under the “public information” heading on the university’s website. There is a list of Top 25 salaries of employees who are not officers or directors (which the right-to-know law does require). The most current Top 25 list available online includes salaries from the calendar year 2014. The list includes former football coach Matt Rhule; it will take years before coach Geoff Collins’ salary is made available.

Pay for officers and directors is reported on the university’s IRS 990, which is posted each May with information for the previous fiscal year. So, this May, the public can look up what former president Neil Theobald made in the calendar year 2016.

Interested citizens are left knowing what someone used to make, and can never know what a university official makes at the moment of inquiry ­— the delay in reporting information means none of this information is current.

Of course, the law permits the university to post outdated information. For the sake of transparency,  the university should willingly update salary information prior to required deadlines to recommit itself as “Philadelphia’s Public University.”

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