The old saying “you get what you pay for” holds particular truth when it comes to College President R. Barbara Gitenstein.

As the first woman president of the College, Gitenstein has done a remarkable job of maintaining academic excellence amid budget cuts from the state.

It’s frustrating when I read dissent about her recent 6 percent salary increase (Nicole Ciaccia – “College president wrong in accepting 6 percent increase in base salary”). You don’t have to be an economics major or study political science to understand the importance of compensating individuals for the positive results of their hard work.

Think of it this way: when you graduate the College and land that unglamorous entry level position, you’ll probably make every attempt to climb the corporate ladder, working diligently to receive a promotion. When you’re finally settled in a decent position, you may be given a bonus or raise if your job performance is stellar.

The key here is job performance. Gitenstein has been doing a phenomenal job as president and it is only right for her to be compensated adequately.

In comparison to the salaries of presidents at other state colleges and universities, Gitenstein’s salary is in the average range.

Quoted in the article about Gitenstein’s raise, Paul Shelly, director of communications for the New Jersey Association of State Colleges and Universities (NJASCU), said, “Gitenstein’s salary is safely within the $240,000 to $285,000 range of salaries of presidents at the other schools NJASCU represents.” Clearly, it is important that Gitenstein’s salary remain competitive for her to remain at the College and continue her positive influence.

Yes, tuition is increasing yearly. Don’t blame Gitenstein for yearly increases, as common sense would suggest that there are a plethora of factors that contribute to such increases. Although the increases may be tough to stomach now, 10 years from graduation your student loans will be paid off and you’ll be thinking how comparatively affordable your undergraduate education was.

Yes, six master’s programs will be cut from the College. However, many of these programs were slated to be canceled prior to budgetary concerns. The office of Media Relations’ press release about the College reads, “(the College), a primarily undergraduate institution, provides academically prepared students with a challenging education and a rewarding residential experience, small classes and a prestigious faculty.”

By cutting master’s programs, the College can focus more specifically on its undergraduate education.

This is an exciting time for the College, one that promises a rich undergraduate experience that will one day compete more aggressively with elite, smaller undergraduate institutions such as Williams, Vassar and Amherst. I’m grateful to Gitenstein for her contributions to the College and applaud the board of trustees for increasing her salary.

-Mark Bartkiewicz