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The News Source for Webster University Volume 63 • Issue 7
October 1-7, 2009 www.webujournal.com
Presidential pay, expenses leave unanswered questions
BY AMIR KURTOVIC News Editor
A history lesson for the antiobama crowd from a first generation polish immigrant whose parents suffered under the hammer and sickle.
Opinion | A5
“Nut up or shut up” A new zombie movie proves very gory, yet comedic and entertaining at the same time.
Richard Meyers, the former president of Webster University, didn’t leave empty handed after unexpectedly resigning in February 2008. Along with one year’s pay of almost $700,000, he is also receiving more than $700,000 in deferred compensation, according to the latest 990 tax document. Meyers was the highest paid university executive in the St. Louis area. His salary for 2008 was $696,713, a large increase from his 2007 salary of $572,875. In comparison, the provost of St. Louis University had a salary of $246,000 in 2008 and the chancellor of Washington University made $539,250 in the same year. The Journal was unable to reach the Board of Trustees for a comment about Meyers’ compensation before going to print. “When one compares other places, his salary was outrageous,” said Donna Campbell, professor in the department of multidisciplinary studies and onetime member of the salary and fringe benefits committee. “It is unfortunate that the Board of Trustees approved such a large increase.” The compensation and bonus payments are a reflection of what is going on in the corporate world, according Kelly-Kate Pease, a professor in the history, politics, and international relations department. “There is a disconnect between how much a president is paid and what a regular em-
ployee is paid at Webster,” Pease said. Along with Meyers’ salary and deferred compensation, there are still unanswered questions about his expenses. According to a Journal review of the last nine years of tax documents, Meyers claimed more expenses than most St. Louis-area university leaders combined. The Board of Trustees Audit Committee and an independent accounting firm, BKD LLP, audited Meyers’ expense claims in 2005. Both found he had claimed some personal expenses as business expenses during 2004 and 2005, according to WU’s 990 tax filing for 2005. WU officials and the chair of the audit committee, Michael DeHaven, would not disclose how much money was declared personal expenses by the independent audit or whether it Richard Meyers was the highest paid higher education executive at the time he See Meyers Page 2
left Webster University. His pay sharply increased in the 2007 and 2008 fiscal years. Meyers unexpectedly resigned from WU in February 2008.
Safety Walk Explores Dark Areas
Lifestyle | B1
Men’s Soccer collects first win WU wins its conference opener against Westminster College, as Head Coach Marty Todt earns his 200th career victory.
Sports | B5
OUTSIDE Webster student receive a guided tour of potential safety issue for students walking on campus at night on Monday, Sept. 28.
THURSDAY FRIDAY Partly Cloudy Mostly Cloudy 74/54 65/47
Commuter council holds first meeting, sponsors safety walk for students BY BRITTNEY FRENCH Staff Writer
SATURDAY SUNDAY Partly Cloudy Mostly Sunny 64/44 69/53
Source: The National Weather Service
INDEX News Editorials Op/Ed The Venue LifeStyle Sports
A1 A4 A5 A6 B1 B6
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THEO WELLING / The Journal
The Commuter Council hosted its first Safety Assessment Walk in partnership with the public safety department Monday, Sept. 28, outside the Quad. About 15 students, faculty members, administrators and Public Safety officials walked together around campus, identifying potential safety and security hazards at Webster University. “We wanted to host this event because it ties in to some of the concerns that commuter students have shared with us,” said Chris Penberthy, president of the Commuter Council and a senior film studies major. “Security and parking seem to be the biggest issues commuters face.” The Commuter Council, an on-campus association that held its first official meeting Sept. 28,
was formed last spring by a group of students interested in advocating the concerns and needs of commuter students. “75 percent of students at WU are commuter students,” Penberthy said. “And (the commuter council) wants to make them feel more comfortable and integrated on campus and not like they’re being left out.” The group encourages WU students — both resident and commuter — to take an interest outside of class, and plans to hold open discussions once a month so students can become more aware about up-coming events and campus affairs. “As a commuter, I often feel left out,” said Nicole King, a freshman elementary education major. “I want to be more involved on campus and meet more people. I feel like I’m not taking advantage of the activities on campus be-
cause I commute.” Around 8:30 p.m., members of the council handed out flashlights and campus maps to participants and directed them to the University Center patio, where the event was set to begin. Once all walkers were in attendance, Public Safety Supervisor and Commuter Council member Scott Patterson discussed the objective of the event before leading participants on a tour of the entire WU campus. “You guys are a fresh set of eyes,” he said. “You may notice something that we don’t.” According to Patterson, public safety routinely walks the campus two or three times a month, looking for potential safety issues and reports any concern to administration. “Lighting seems to be the primary concern of students,” he said. Some hazards found on
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campus from the event include insufficient lighting, unkempt landscaping, cracks in the sidewalks, improperly labeled Construction areas and inadequate accessibility for the disabled At the end of the event, council members discussed what they want to work on this academic year, including the safety concerns found during the walk. They also plan to hold more events on campus and establish a commuter lounge. “We’re really pushing for the commuter lounge so commuters can have some place to go to on campus that is exclusively for them,” Penberthy said. “We just want to let students — both resident and commuter — know that there is an organization on campus that cares.” Contact the writer:
Webster receives stimulus funds BY BRITTNEY FRENCH Staff Writer
Webster University received more than $1.4 million in federal stimulus funds for the 2009-2010 academic year, allowing students to put more money back in their pockets and save on tuition. Since February, when the federal stimulus package was signed into law by President Obama, three federal grants totaling $1.4 million have been awarded to WU. Two grants totaling $1.26 million dollars were awarded to the federal Pell Grant program at WU. “This is free money for the university that comes from the Dept. of Education that students will get to utilize,” said student employment coordinator Elizabeth Condon-Oakberg. Pell Grants are federally funded subsidies to help low income students pay for college and do not need to be repaid. Students who are working toward bachelors’ degrees may be eligible to receive these grants by filling out the Free Applications for Federal Student Aid (FAFSA). During the 2008-2009 fiscal year, the maximum amount of money qualifying students could receive through a Pell Grant was $4,731. But because of the stimulus package, the amount of money qualifying students can receive through a Pell Grant has increased to $5,350 for the 2009-2010 fiscal year, and will increase to $5,550 for the 2010-2011 fiscal year. The third federal grant totaling $180,488 was awarded to the federal work-study program on campus. “There was a $300,000 total increase from last year to this year in work-study funding at WU,” said director of Resource Planning and Budget Chris Rhynerson, “The $180,488 grant is included in this increase.” Work-study is a federally subsidized program in which universities hire students for jobs on campus to help them pay their tuition. Students are chosen to participate in the program based on financial needs. The federal government pays 75 percent of the student’s wages and the university pays the remaining 25 percent. “Because we have received additional funding for the work-study program, it does not mean there will be additional work-study positions on campus because of budget limitations,” Condon-Oakberg said. “WU will take the money awarded and create work-study positions by what we have available on campus and what we need. Each year, we try to stay within a 10 percent allocation for work-study positions, giving us more flexibility for students.” Other schools in the state, like the University of Missouri — Columbia (MU), have also received federal stimulus money. MU was awarded a total of $1.5 million in grants, of which $300,000 was awarded to their work-study program. WU would most likely receive more funding and awards this year from the stimulus package and the American Opportunity Tax, Director of Financial Aid Jon Gruett said. “It’s great,” Condon-Oakberg said. “It really helps the university.” Contact the writer: