The University of Arkansas administration and Eli Jones are in full agreement that Eli Jones is truly special, well deserving of the fabulous sum the University will pay him as the new dean of the Sam M. Walton College of Business at Fayetteville. It is only us taxpayers who remain to be convinced, and maybe a malcontent or two on the faculty.
After the announcement of Jones's hiring and the $375,000 salary he'll receive, Jones gave assurance that "I'm one who earns whatever I'm paid." Is that a hint it's not too early to be thinking about a raise? Mr. Jones clearly aced those self-esteem courses the public schools teach these days. UA Chancellor G. David Gearhart chimed in, "This person is going to be dynamite. ... This is a person who is highly touted, has a corporate background." Ah, but there are creatures running at Oaklawn that are highly touted, and many patrons have learned bitterly that the race is not always to the highly touted. As for the corporate background, people who just about ruined the American economy — and accepted huge salaries while doing so — had corporate backgrounds. In fact, among the new programs we'd like to see the new dean start — surely there'll be some — is a study of the vast disparity between what corporate executives make and what average Americans make, and how this affects the nation. The difference is greater than ever, and growing. We expect the disparity between business deans and the common man is tracking closely.