NDSU president's wife earns $50,000 per year from a university foundation
President Joseph Chapman's wife earns $50,000 a year from the North Dakota State University Development Foundation. NDSU spokeswoman Najla Amundson said the foundation initiated the salary for Gale Chapman several years ago and it was increased t...
President Joseph Chapman's wife earns $50,000 a year from the North Dakota State University Development Foundation.
NDSU spokeswoman Najla Amundson said the foundation initiated the salary for Gale Chapman several years ago and it was increased to $50,000 about a year ago.
"The rationale for the salary is that she plays an intricate role in fundraising for the university," Amundson said. "She's expected to be at meetings, her presence is seen, she's involved in civic organizations."
Funding for the salary comes from the foundation's general fund, which includes donations that are not designated for scholarships or another purpose, Amundson said.
The NDSU Development Foundation is the private nonprofit that is set up as the fundraising arm for NDSU.
Wade Hannon, an associate professor in NDSU's counselor education program, said he was shocked to learn of Gale Chapman's salary and he doubts many other faculty are aware of it.
"I think at best it's questionable, especially given the huge salary that the president is making," said Hannon, who is president of Chapter 42 of the North Dakota public employees association.
Chapman's total compensation this year will be $424,000, including $75,000 in deferred compensation from the foundation and an $11,000 vehicle allowance from the state. He's also provided housing.
Chapman also has access to an account through the foundation that last year totaled $260,000.
Nationwide, more universities are beginning to pay spouses of presidents, particularly for the role they play in fundraising, said Raymond Cotton, a lawyer in Washington, D.C., who specializes in presidential contracts.
"In my view, they are the unheralded heroines of higher education," Cotton said of presidents' spouses.
Cotton estimates that roughly 20 percent of public universities nationwide pay presidents' spouses. The percentage is higher for private colleges.
In 2003, Cotton wrote in an article for the Chronicle for Higher Education that presidents' spouses had salaries of between $5,000 and $75,000.
Peter Johnson, spokesman for the University of North Dakota, said he's not aware of any spouses receiving contribution in the past.
Amundson said the account Chapman has access to is for the president's office, not just Chapman, and is for university business that can't be covered by NDSU.
Examples she gave were taking someone out to eat or the "Conversations Across the Land" tours that Chapman and others have taken to stay in touch with communities around the state.
Vice presidents and deans also have access to that account, which is funded with the foundation's general fund, Amundson said.
There has not been a set dollar amount for that account in the past, Amundson said.
Joseph and Gale Chapman were not available for comment Friday, Amundson said.
Jim Miller, executive director for the NDSU Development Foundation, did not return calls seeking comment.
Hannon said he'd like to see more transparency with the expense account and other "slush funds" that other administrators have had access to.
He said some faculty don't have enough in their travel budgets to attend professional conferences.
"There's way too much secrecy on campus, and the administration has the idea that they can just do what they want to, and they have gotten away with it," Hannon said.
Readers can reach Forum reporter Amy Dalrymple at (701) 241-5590.
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