Details of the pay package awarded to Memorial University's new president have raised more than a few eyebrows on the St. John's campus.
Gary Kachanoski, who was formally installed as president and vice-chancellor during convocation ceremonies Thursday, is earning $430,000 per year, in addition to other benefits.
A contract negotiated months before Kachanoski took over the reins at Memorial shows that he also receives a car allowance of $1,000 per month, a housing allowance of $1,500 per month and contributions to tax and legal bills.
As well, Kachanoski also earns administrative leave during each of the five years of his term, so that he will earn a full year's salary after he finishes.
The university posted the contract on its website, although most students learned of it through an article in the student newspaper, The Muse.
"[That] is a lot of money, especially in this day and age and the economic crisis we're currently in. Yeah, it seems to be excessive," said student Andy Scholler.
"It's a lot of money. I wouldn't expect that, I don't know, but he's probably very educated," student Megan Laite added.
The salary is about $150,000 more than what was paid to Axel Meisen, Memorial's last full-time president, who completed his term two years ago. It's roughly $100,000 more than what is paid to Vickie Kaminski, who was recruited from Ontario to run Eastern Health.
But Bob Simmonds, a St. John's lawyer who chairs Memorial's board of regents, said the salary is in line with what presidents earn at similar universities.
"If you're striving to be the best, if you're striving to have the best faculty, the best staff, the best student, then you have to be competitive in the marketplace," Simmonds told CBC News.
Memorial said the salary is less than what is paid at four other universities of comparable size.