In director Lee Daniels’ movie The Butler, African American employees at the White House were paid half of what white employees, doing the same jobs, were paid. This unfair practice continued administration after administration, until the “The Butler,” a fictionalized character based on the life of Eugene Allen, played by Forest Whitaker, stood his ground.
In the movie, Allen – “Cecil Gaines” – was forced to back down every time he raised this contention. Time and time again, he would bring up the issue of discriminatory pay, but implied or overt threats of termination led him to back down.
Many who watched these scenes were overjoyed when the pay was finally balanced for all White House employees. Some might have consoled themselves by imagining that things like this no longer happen in today’s world. If this is what you thought, think again…
Ohio State University has just hired their first African American president, their 15th chief overall. Dr. Michael V. Drake, 63, was described by the panelists who appointed him as “the right person for the job.”
Drake, the current head of the University of California in Irvine, was appointed to lead UC Irvine in 2005 after the school found itself in financial struggles, and with its medical center facing lawsuits. UC Irvine faculty members have nothing but good things to say about Drake and what he has done for their University. He helped to start California’s first public law school in four decades. He turned around the medical center and boosted the University’s earnings.
So why is Ohio State only paying him HALF of what his white predecessors made?
Jeffery Wadsworth, the OSU trustee who headed the search for a new president, said that Drake “had really thought about what it means to have a land-grant university with a medical center. He had all of this packaged in his brain. He understood the scope of the job in a way that was extremely articulately described.”
But Ohio State University’s former president E. Gordon Gee, who retired in July, made$2 million annually. The contract for Michael Drake is $800,000 as base pay and $200,000 deferred annual compensation.
With all of this praise for the man, we are left wondering why he would be paid half of what his predecessors made.
What do you think? It is a lot of money, but is this cut-rate fair, or are there racial politics at play in the Buckeye State?
(Article by M.B. David and Shante Wooten; image via PBSpot)