Retired four-star general and former CIA director David Petraeus (Cliff Owen / AP)
NEW YORK — Former CIA director David Petraeus is taking a big salary cut for his visiting professorship at the City University of New York’s honors college after being criticized for how much he was getting paid.
Petraeus, a hero of the Iraq and Afghanistan wars who quit the CIA in scandal last November after it was uncovered he’d had an affair with his biographer, will teach a seminar at Macaulay Honors College in the next academic year for $1, The New York Times reported Monday. That’s down quite a bit from the $200,000 that Gawker.com first reported he was getting paid based on documents it obtained.
The high salary for someone teaching one class spurred outrage in a system in which the average full-time faculty member salary is just under $90,000.
Petraeus, who was a four-star general, proposed the salary reduction “to remove money as a point of controversy,” his attorney said.
“The general never was taking on this teaching assignment for the money,” said the attorney, Robert Barnett. “Once controversy arose about the amount he was being paid, he decided it was much more important to keep the focus on the students, on the school and on the teaching and not have it be about the money.”
Petraeus has a doctorate from Princeton University and has written widely on international relations, military strategy and tactics, and national security issues. He’s scheduled to start his job as a visiting professor for public policy on Aug. 1.
When Macaulay announced Petraeus’ new job in April, he said he was pleased to teach at the college, where most students are the children of immigrants. He said he looked forward to leading a seminar on the global economic slowdown.
Macaulay Honors College’s dean, Ann Kirschner, said Petraeus has “engaged the Macaulay and CUNY community with generosity and energy.”
“From what I’ve already seen, he is focused on how best to support our students — in their research, classroom activities and professional aspirations,” she said in a statement. “He will bring the classroom a rare perspective drawn from decades of mentorship and leadership in global initiatives.”