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Brandeis University's Community Newspaper — Waltham, Mass.

$20,000 PR bill paid by senior admin. pay cut

Published: February 13, 2009
Section: Front Page

Money from a ten percent pay cut taken by both President Reinharz and Cheif Operating Officer Peter French will be used to pay for the services of the public relations firm Rasky Baerlein, Reinharz wrote in an e-mail to faculty senate chair William Flesch which was then fowarded to the faculty listserv.

Rasky Baerlein has been contracted by the university for the months of February and March–a contract that will cost Brandeis $20,000.

Reinharz, who’s pay cut, in conjunction with French’s gains the university roughly $90,000, wrote that “the salary savings from Peter and myself are more than enough to cover the expense” of the firm.

In an interview with The Hoot, Reinharz said that both he and French had been planning to cut their salaries for the benefit of the university before the university hired Rasky Baerlein’s services. Reinharz also said that there are “no plans to extend” the services of the public relations firm beyond March.

The university contracted the services of the public relations firm at the beginning of the month in an effort to “prepare and disseminate accurate and compelling stories” about the university in the media after a mass-media storm hit the university following Reinharz’ announcement that the Board of Trustees had authorized the closing of the Rose Art Museum and auctioning of its collection.

Reinharz’s decision to divulge the financing behind the hiring of the firm to Flesch marks a change from last thursday, when he refused to answer questions at a student press conference regarding the payment of the firm.

Reinharz also wrote that the services of Rasky Baerlein will be available to both members of the faculty senate’s steering committee and “additional faculty groups…yet to be determined.”

Steering Committee Chair Dean of Arts and Sciences Adam Jaffe said that some committee members have talked to Rasky Baerlein informally, the committee as a whole has not met with them. Jaffe added that “the extent to which faculty have met with the firm has been in order to give input about what we ought to be doing in terms of media relations, not in order to prepare remarks of any kind.”

Jaffe also added that, as far as he is aware, the firm has not met with any members of the journalism faculty.

Student representative to the committee and Student Union President Jason Gray said that he has not yet met with the firm.