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San Diego State’s Mouthpiece in Chief

At $400,000 a year, SDSU president Elliot Hirshman isn’t paid enough to write his own speeches. He wants to pay a ghostwriter $50,000 a year.
At $400,000 a year, SDSU president Elliot Hirshman isn’t paid enough to write his own speeches. He wants to pay a ghostwriter $50,000 a year.

San Diego State University’s $400,000 man, president Elliot Hirshman, is looking for a $45,000- to $50,000-a-year ghostwriter to be his “presidential communications manager,” according to a recent post by the university on the career networking site LinkedIn. The job calls for “drafting and editing a high volume of diverse correspondence, remarks, talking points, e-mails and speeches for internal and external audiences; and proofreading copy for accuracy, consistency of message and appearance.” The aide is also expected to “maintain a library of resource materials” and gather “relevant information well in advance of each speaking opportunity.” One of Hirshman’s most important tasks is hitting up fat cat contributors for cash, in part to justify his record salary. To that end, his aide is to research and prepare “briefing materials and remarks for the university President when meeting with top donors and prospects.” A few more requirements of the gig: “Thorough knowledge and professional work experience in expository or journalistic writing, including story development and editing” and “Ability to write for a senior level executive and understand the difference between writing for publications and writing for speakers.” The successful applicant will also have an “Understanding of SDSU, its unique history, people and stories.”

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At $400,000 a year, SDSU president Elliot Hirshman isn’t paid enough to write his own speeches. He wants to pay a ghostwriter $50,000 a year.
At $400,000 a year, SDSU president Elliot Hirshman isn’t paid enough to write his own speeches. He wants to pay a ghostwriter $50,000 a year.

San Diego State University’s $400,000 man, president Elliot Hirshman, is looking for a $45,000- to $50,000-a-year ghostwriter to be his “presidential communications manager,” according to a recent post by the university on the career networking site LinkedIn. The job calls for “drafting and editing a high volume of diverse correspondence, remarks, talking points, e-mails and speeches for internal and external audiences; and proofreading copy for accuracy, consistency of message and appearance.” The aide is also expected to “maintain a library of resource materials” and gather “relevant information well in advance of each speaking opportunity.” One of Hirshman’s most important tasks is hitting up fat cat contributors for cash, in part to justify his record salary. To that end, his aide is to research and prepare “briefing materials and remarks for the university President when meeting with top donors and prospects.” A few more requirements of the gig: “Thorough knowledge and professional work experience in expository or journalistic writing, including story development and editing” and “Ability to write for a senior level executive and understand the difference between writing for publications and writing for speakers.” The successful applicant will also have an “Understanding of SDSU, its unique history, people and stories.”

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1

Malcolm Love, who was president there from 1952 to 1971 is turning in his grave. But then, he wasn't a typical academic executive, he was a leader. He made the place what it is today, because his successors have done little to add to his accomplishments. You have to pay this clown $400K a year, and yet he needs a mouthpiece?

Well, the job description is most open and candid. It also does an excellent job of describing what the president now does: he raises money and keeps people happy. He talks in an erudite manner at all times, and can pitch the place to many different audiences. But can he run the campus and really educate that mob of students that descends upon the place every day? Time will tell.

April 28, 2012

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