To the Editor:
I write to provide an important correction to your story, “Data Show Trinity Has Most VPs in NESCAC, Compares Salaries” (February 4). The story’s general premise, as stated in the final paragraph, is that “the size of Trinity’s administration is larger than that of our NESCAC peer institutions.” This is a false assertion. In fact, Trinity has one of the smaller senior administrative teams in the NESCAC.
The Tripod seems to have equated the title of VP with “administration” without taking into account key institutional differences. Where Trinity uses the title vice president, other schools may use provost, chief communications officer, chief diversity officer, or dean. Those roles are commonly considered executive-level positions.
While the titles and scopes of some roles have changed over the past several years, the number of senior administrators at Trinity—those with vice president-level responsibilities and who report directly to the president—is nine, a number that has not changed since 2008. When this information and comparative NESCAC data were presented to the faculty in 2018, only Bates and Hamilton had fewer executive-level staff; several others had the same number as Trinity; Middlebury, Wesleyan, and Williams had more.
NESCAC institutions also differ somewhat in terms of what roles are considered part of the senior administration, as well as in the scope of some of those roles. For instance, Angel Pérez, Trinity’s vice president for enrollment and student success (whom the Tripod story said was the “second-highest paid admissions official in the NESCAC”), is responsible for admissions, financial aid, and the college’s student success and career development operations, while many of his counterparts in the NESCAC have portfolios limited to admissions or to admissions and financial aid.
This is information that Trinity and likely every other NESCAC institution would have shared if asked. Unfortunately, the Tripod did not seek comment or clarity from anyone in preparing its story, relying instead on what it found listed on institutions’ 990 forms. As a former college newspaper editor myself (so very long ago!), I sympathize with the challenges and demands of putting out a student paper every week. It’s grueling work that can feel thankless.
But it’s important work, and it’s incumbent upon the Tripod to make every effort to get things right. That means, among other things, seeking multiple sources—data and human—before drawing conclusions. As I have consistently, I again extend the offer for my office to provide ongoing support and guidance to the Tripod in its work. I hope you’ll take me up on it.
-Angela Paik Schaeffer, Vice President, Communications and Marketing