Former Auburn University president Steven Leath parted ways with the university with a gag order, forbidden to disclose information the university deems confidential, or disparage the school in any way.

That should be easy to adhere to; Leath should be too busy laughing all the way to the bank to badmouth anyone.

Besides, it’s the university board of trustees who should answer for the golden parachute extended to Leath. The former president had three years left on his five-year, $625,000 annual contract. Rather than buy out the contract for $1.875 million, the trustees are paying him almost three times that -- $1.5 million per year for three years.

That raises a lot of uncomfortable questions that the university hasn’t answered. In fact, the separation agreement with Leath was obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request from the Opelika-Auburn News, not provided as a news release from University Relations.

Auburn University is a public entity funded in part by taxpayer dollars. Tuition hikes have been routine over the past several years, pushing the cost of attending to almost $32,000 per year for Alabama students, and close to $50,000 per year for out-of-staters.

Both Alabama taxpayers and Auburn students deserve to know how Auburn trustees can justify paying Leath almost three times his salary to not be the university’s president.

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