Yeshiva University Will Sell Off Buildings, Cut Programs To Relieve Budget Crisis


yeshiva-universityYeshiva University announced sweeping budget cuts on December 10 in a sign of the deepening financial crisis at the beleaguered school.┬áThe cuts, first reported in the Y.U. Commentator, the school’s undergraduate newspaper, include drawbacks on programming and the sale of real estate.

On Tuesday, President Joel announced the first steps of the administration’s plan to balance the budget. In a letter to the faculty of Yeshiva University, President Joel outlined sweeping changes that will begin immediately. Budget cuts were first alluded to in a November 20 letter sent to faculty and alumni.

Shortly before Thanksgiving break, an emergency meeting of the Board of Trustees decided to implement a freeze of senior administrators’ salaries, a freeze on hiring, and a freeze of the employee retirement plan. As many had anticipated, President Joel also announced that YU would be cutting non-essential programming and selling real estate. In a faculty meeting held on Wednesday, Vice President Joshua Joseph announced that YU would be selling eleven properties on the Wilf uptown campus.

As his own contribution to reducing the deficit, President Joel announced in the letter that – after four years of pressure from students, faculty members, and outside media – he would decrease his salary by $100,000 for “the foreseeable future.”

For many faculty members, however, President Joel’s salary cut is “too little, too late,” as one long-time professor told The Commentator. In the last four years, while faculty and employees suffered under salary freezes, President Joel’s salary increased. According to 990 tax forms available online, the President earned $732,143 in base compensation in 2009 (this number does not include “other compensation,” “deferred compensation,” and “nontaxable benefits”). In 2010, he earned $848,176 and in 2011, he earned $879,821. According to The Journal of Higher Education, President Joel is among the top twenty highest earning university officials in the nation.

The income disparity between top administrators and faculty is not limited to the office of the President. In 2011, Daniel Forman, then Vice President for Development, earned over $800,000 in salary and benefits. Provost Lowengrub earned over $450,000 and former Chancellor Lamm earned over $500,000 in total compensation. The highest paid employee of Yeshiva University was Allen Spiegel, Dean of Einstein. He earned over $1.2 million dollars in 2011.

According to the December 10 letter, senior administrators will not receive raises over the coming year.

While some senior administrators enjoyed salary increases during the recession, faculty suffered salary and retirement benefit freezes. Before 2009, the university would match employee retirement plan contributions up to a maximum of seven percent. After the recession, President Joel announced a sweeping reduction in the university’s maximum contribution, capping the matching funds at just two percent. He promised to end the cap last year. However, in the recent letter, President Joel announced a deferral of the promised raise to the University’s retirement plan for employees.

For YU faculty nearing retirement, the continued reduction in pension-matching has cost them tens of thousands of dollars in lost retirement funds. Money that could have been saved and then doubled by YU in preparation for retirement has instead gone unmatched for five years. Some professors estimate that their effective losses between 2009 and 2013 amount to a 13.5 percent reduction in pay every year.

{Gavriel Newscenter}


  1. As a graduate of Yeshiva University with numerous degrees I appeal to its alumni to help raise funds for this great intuition. In the 80’s I raised over 1 and half million dollars. Yeshiva University is my second home and it is a place of great Torah learning. I for one have read too many articles from the forward trying to destroy this institution. What is the agenda? President Richard Joel is not superman and doing everything he can to save the University.


    Driving to teach Public Speaking at Yeshiva College I received a call stating that the speech department is closing at YU. I was the first speech major at Yeshiva College in 1969 and together with Dr. Abraham Tauber of Blessed memory created the first speech department at Yeshiva College. I have taught at Yeshiva College in the 70’s, 80’s and in the last 4 years. What is not working at Yeshiva College? Why is enrollment down? Why are students unhappy and leaving? According to my observations, shiurim are too large and Rebbes are unable to develop close relationships with students. How much do the administrators and officers make? You would be astonished. Why fire talented adjuncts while keeping full teachers who are not evaluated and cannot teach? Consider the YU nepotism which gives untalented people jobs. There seem to be a lot of people running around doing nothing and getting paid. The cafeteria food is terrible and costs too much. Students are overworked with religious requirements which make it impossible to devote enough time to secular work. This has to be reevaluated. Finally, where is the YU spirit of Torah Umada? Where is our pride?
    We are not Harvard, Yale, or Columbia. Let us be YU. A college without art, music, speech, drama, is not even an advanced high school.
    Rabbi DR. Bernhard Rosenberg

    Subject: Public Speaking being demolished at Yeshiva University rabbi dr. bernhard rosenberg send to friends, former students and your parents.

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    Sent from JV’s iPhone 4