Churchill reveals pay discrepancies

Letter to the editor

Thanks to Sam Richard for his excellent cover story, “Churchill was offered campus position, sources say,” on March 10, which reported the possibility of Ward Churchill being offered a position at CSUN in 1991. When I read that, the salary figure and job title jumped out at me. Professor Churchill claimed that he was offered, in 1991, a position as full professor and chair of American Indian Studies, with a salary in the mid-$90,000 range. I got in touch with Sam to make sure that this information was correct, and he confirmed that it was.

This interests me, as the salary offered was much larger than other faculty salaries at the time. The CSUN web page gives information for faculty salaries going back only to 1995. That year, the highest published salary for a full professor was $71,376, and if the person was paid on a 12-month scale, the salary increased to $82,344. In 1991, the salaries must have been somewhat lower than those figures.

So I find it curious that Professor Churchill would have been offered a salary in 1991 that was as high as he claims. By comparison, I should add that I was hired as an assistant professor in 1997 at a salary of $38,000, and now, as an associate professor eight years later, I make $54,000.

Also, I am intrigued that the position was for a full professor, at the level of chair. Since I have been here, there have been three wonderful women who have been coordinators of American Indian Studies: Donna Akers, Loretta Winters, and Karren Baird-Olson. All three of them were only supported part-time to run American Indian Studies. I wonder why CSUN supported American Indian Studies so well in 1991 by being willing to bring in someone at full professor and chair status (which is what the program deserves), and paying them well over the highest published salary, and why they do not support it nearly as well now, almost 15 years later.

Amir Hussain,

Religious studies professor