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The Blue & Gray Press | November 23, 2017

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Staff Editorial: University Wastes Funds By Keeping Hample Here

Judy Hample is getting $82,000 for doing nothing.

The almost dearly departed President Hample is going on sabbatical for the remainder of the time she will be in Fredericksburg. In a news release sent out by the University earlier this week, the University says that Hample’s tenure as president will now end April 1, instead of the original June 30 date, and that Hample will begin a three-month “academic sabbatical” until the end of June.

According to Hample’s original contract, she must vacate Brompton, the presidential mansion, and will “not be entitled to any further compensation or benefits as president.” However, BOV Rector Nanalou Sauder said that a new employment agreement had been reached, and that Hample will collect her salary and continue to reside at the Brompton mansion through June 30, as reported by the Free Lance-Star.

Historically, a sabbatical year has been given after a substantial period of time with an institution (university or other) in which the employee has gone above and beyond the call of duty. A sabbatical is typically granted to give the employee time to spend with family, or some significant accomplishment, such has writing a book, traveling for research or furthering one’s education. The idea is that the employee will return after a year and bring even more knowledge and ability to their job.

This, however, does not seem like the “academic sabbatical” President Hample will be on. Between April 1 and June 30, Hample will be paid approximately $82,000 for “supporting” the BOV and the acting president and “consulting” for the university, according to the university news release.

Hample’s early resignation and sabbatical is reminiscent of the ousted former president of Harvard University, Larry Summers. Summers, who had previously worked in the Clinton Administration as secretary of the treasury, had a difficult five years as president of Harvard, from 2001 to 2006. He had issues with faculty, gambled with university funds through poor investing and made some problematic comments about the scientific and mathematic competency of women.

After his resignation on June 30, 2006 (a convenient resignation date), Summers took a year-long sabbatical from the university and then accepted a position as a tenured “University Professor,” the highest honor for a professor at Harvard. In October of the same year, Summers accepted a part-time position as a “consultant” at D. E. Shaw and Company, a New York hedge fund.

Colleagues and clients both agreed that Summers was mostly a figurehead to impress prospective clients and appear at company events. Still, for two years, Summers worked one day a week while collecting approximately $5.2 million, as reported by the New York Times. Summers would also make speaking appearances at universities and financial companies for prices that sometimes exceeded $100,000.

Like Summers at Harvard, Hample has struggled through some controversy while at Mary Washington. From refusing to shake hands at last year’s graduation, to the Safety Walk fiasco, to a still mysterious resignation, it seems like something has gone wrong with our still-new president. And yet, the University and BOV are making the choice to reward our “lame duck,” in her words, by continuing to pay her a large salary and allowing her to reside in a school-owned mansion while remaining on staff as a “consultant.”

As in Larry Summers’ case, and the case of many other U.S. presidents, executives and professors, consulting is a job where you do very little, while earning a huge amount of money. It seems ridiculous that at a time when the university has a hiring freeze and when faculty salaries have been frozen for years, that the University is continuing to pay the salary for a figurehead who is essentially doing nothing.

We guarantee that every department across campus, from theatre to chemistry to political science, could use an extra $82,000 in their budget. But instead, we’re just paying Hample to stay out of the way.