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Sad! Gutmann Unable to Take Pay Cut Due to University Policy

Photos by Sharon Lee / The Daily Pennsylvanian, Public Domain

I've always wanted to know why President Gutmann's salary is nearly 4 million dollars each year. It seems like a lot of money in any year, but especially when it's evident that the money could be especially helpful in addressing so many issues. 

I brought this up in an email to the Penn administration and they said I was "treading on thin ice and should stop my investigation". I thought that they were just trying to protect their enormous salaries and continued my search. It was then I found the tragic tale of a woman who is force-fed 4 million dollars every year.

The administration helped me set up a private, one-on-one meeting with the broken woman in this position, none other than Amy Gutmann herself. She arrived at the meeting, seeming her usual self. She plastered on a smile and waved. I noticed a hint of sadness in her eyes. Had it always been there?

The administrator who had brought us to the meeting left and I was alone with Gutmann, the victim of such hardship. Gutmann asked innocently what I wanted to talk about. I knew my response would hurt. "I'd like to talk about your salary," I said earnestly.

At this, Gutmann's plastered smile fell sharply. "I don't control my salary," she explained sadly, "if I could, I wouldn't take the University's money at all, leaving it for the students. Or maybe I'd donate it to worthy causes. My salary is just too much. But there's no way I can say no or redistribute the money. It's hard because I have to live in a big house and own a lot of things when I would do anything for that to not be the case!"

Steady tears fell down her face and I found it hard not to pity her. I placed my arm on her shoulder to comfort her. "You don't understand what it's like," her voice cracked as the tears came faster, "you don't know what I have to go through," I assured her she was right. Never had anyone forced me to take 4 million dollars.

The meeting finished and the administrator who had brought us together informed, "Your salary has increased once again, Amy." She choked and looked like she might faint. "Please! Don't do this," she cried. The administrator walked away smiling, leaving Gutmann helpless on the ground. 

The next time you hear someone taking a jab at Gutmann for her salary, think about it from her perspective. While you see a money-hungry woman, I see the truth, a victim of a regrettable misfortune. She didn't ask for this, and she'd do anything to get out of it. Gutmann did nothing wrong.