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The ongoing antisemitic protests at elite colleges and universities around the country amid the war between Israel and the terror group Hamas has roiled campuses as spring terms continue and graduation season nears.

Unauthorized encampments and other demonstrations have sprung up at many campuses around the country, with Fox News research finding that such protests have occurred at over half of the top 50 colleges in the country since April 17.

The campus unrest puts leaders of both public and private colleges in a challenging position, with some looking to address public safety needs and restore calm on campus to avoid escalating the situation – even as the unrest causes some university donors to reconsider their future support based on the college’s response.

College presidents often earn well over $1 million annually in compensation, although those figures may vary based on the size and stature of the institution. Private institutions also disclose compensation differently than their public counterparts, and a report from The Chronicle of Higher Education (CHE) analyzed the highest paid private university presidents in 2021. 

EXPENSIVE COLUMBIA, YALE TUITION COMES WITH ANTI-ISRAEL PROTESTS

Here is a look at how much the highest paid private university presidents earned that year, per the Chronicle’s report.

University of Pennsylvania

UPenn Amy Gutmann Joe Biden

Then-UPenn President Amy Gutmann earned nearly $22.9 million in 2021, according to the Chronicle’s analysis. That featured about $1.6 million in base pay, plus a $1 million bonus with the more than $20 million remainder coming from deferred compensation and investment gains. 

When compared to corporate CEOs, Gutmann’s compensation that year would have made her the 68th highest-paid CEO of a S&P 500 company in 2023, according to the Wall Street Journal’s rankings. Gutmann departed UPenn in 2022 as the school’s longest-serving president in history for an appointment as the U.S. ambassador to Germany in the Biden administration. 

UPenn currently has an interim president after Gutmann’s successor, Liz Magill, stepped down from the role in December amid a controversy over her congressional testimony on antisemitism.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY’S ANTISEMITISM CHAOS PROMPTS CALLS FOR TUITION REFUNDS

Columbia University

Then-Columbia President Lee Bollinger earned nearly $3.9 million in compensation in 2021 per the CHE report, including a base salary of $1.6 million, other compensation of more than $1 million plus a $700,000 bonus and nearly half a million dollars in benefits. That sum would have ranked 400th among S&P 500 CEOs in 2023 per the Journal’s rankings.

Bollinger stepped down as Columbia’s president in June 2023. His successor in the role is Minouche Shafik.

COLUMBIA UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT RESPONDS AFTER ROBERT KRAFT SAYS HE’S PULLING SUPPORT OVER ANTISEMITIC VIOLENCE

New York University

NYU President Andrew Hamilton

Then-NYU President Andrew Hamilton earned a little more than $3.5 million in 2021 per the CHE analysis, which was mostly in the form of base pay with nearly $213,000 in benefits. That sum would have ranked 401st among S&P 500 CEOs per the Journal’s 2023 rankings.

Hamilton stepped down as NYU president in July 2023 and was succeeded by Linda Mills.

University of Southern California

USC President Carol Folt

USC President Carol Folt earned nearly $3.5 million in 2021 according to the CHE report, which included over $1.4 million in base pay plus a $900,000 bonus and a little more than $1.1 million in other compensation. That sum would have ranked 402nd among S&P 500 CEOs per the Journal’s 2023 rankings.

Folt, the first female president of USC, has served in the role since 2019.

ANTISEMITIC PROTESTS FORCE HARVARD, CAL POLY HUMBOLDT TO IMPLEMENT CLOSURES, COLUMBIA GOES HYBRID

University of Chicago

University of Chicago

Then-Chicago President Robert Zimmer earned over $3.4 million in 2021 per CHE, with about $1.4 million in base pay, over $1.7 million in bonus pay and most of the remainder in other compensation. That sum would have ranked 403rd among S&P 500 CEOs per the Journal’s 2023 rankings.

Zimmer served as the Chicago president from 2006 to 2021, when the university established a chancellor role that he served in for one academic year before the role was eliminated in 2022. The CHE report noted that Zimmer did not serve as the university’s chief executive role for the full year.

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