For some reason, a widespread belief exists that the president of a college or a university (or even a 2-year junior college) deserves to live a life of luxury. No fewer than 30 higher education presidents are earning over a million dollars a year, compensation that rightly should outrage families indebting themselves to pay tuition.
The sad truth is that higher education has gone from being a calling to a racket, in all too many cases. And the rot extends from the top to the bottom of the status hierarchy. Arguably, higher education is the biggest industry on the country, and certainly for many families with children in college, it is the second most expensive purchase in a lifetime, after a house. That pile of money draws all sorts of scavengers.
Meet Dr. DeRionne Pollard, president of Montgomery College, the biggest junior college in the state of Maryland:
Heather Hunter of the Daily Caller reports on the luxury she spends on herself and her “wife.”
Dr. Pollard’s current contract shows that she receives a $281,000 salary with a possible five percent annual bonus. In addition, she has a $3,000 housing allowance each month for her home. All of her work-related travel plus her wife’s travel costs are covered.
Why are taxpayers paying for a spouse’s travel? And not just the backpacking sort of travel:
NBC reported on her questionable expense of spending $1,792 for a five-day hotel room at the Marriott Wardman in northwest D.C. The hotel is only about 30 minutes from her house.
Over 300 bucks a might to spare her the ordeal of a 30 minute commute? How is that a justified expenditure for the taxpayers of Maryland?
Records show that she averages 13 trips per year and has traveled to cities like Napa, California; Fort Lauderdale, Florida; Honolulu, Hawaii; Austin, Texas and other cities. Since 2013, she spent $70,000 in her travel expenses.
She spent more than $6,000 on upgrading plane seats for both herself and her wife. In addition, they spent $3,700 for extra and overweight baggage. During the summer of 2015, she spent more than $3,400 on airfare and upgrades to Honolulu and Austin for conferences.
While in Honolulu, Dr. Pollard spent $2,776 for a hotel room. While in Austin, she racked up $2,753 for her hotel plus spent $80 for breakfast and bought two dinners on the same night — one for $80 and another for $127.
Despite the college’s payments on her leased Infiniti Q70, she reportedly uses a pricey car service and in one instance, spent $292 to travel 15 miles for a radio interview about “how to make community college more affordable.”
The NBC I-Team reports that the “college is now paying about $10,000 per month to rent yet another vehicle, this time an SUV, and pay for an off-duty police officer to pick Dr. Pollard up at home and drive her to work each day… starting in February, the college began paying $52 per hour for this armed driver to work between 10-to-15 hours a day.”
Here is what I believe to be a picture of the luxury-loving couple that flies first class, eats expensive meals, and stays in luxury hotels. All in the name of "higher education."
Of course, Pollard defends her lavish living style:
“I do travel regularly to attend conferences hosted by organizations such as the American Association of Community Colleges; Black, Brown & College Bound; and the Association of Community College Trustees, among others. The topics of these meetings have included issues relevant to our mission, such as closing the achievement gap, economic and workforce development, institutional transformation, contemporary issues in higher education, and much more. These topics are critical to student success and require our attention,” she wrote.
And people like me, who think she is abusing her position and the good will of taxpayers toward higher education just don’t get it:
She maintains that Montgomery College’s Board of Trustees has the “utmost confidence” in her and her team.
“The Board believes that the news story was based on an antiquated view of community colleges and failed to appreciate such colleges’ complex, 21st century mission,” Dr. Pollard responded.
Dr. Pollard calls herself "Dr." because she has a PhD in “educational leadership and policy studies in higher education from Loyola University Chicago.” Sounds pretty rigorous. I wonder what her “contribution to knowledge” was in her dissertation? A doctorate is supposed to indicate actually expanding the range of human knowledge.