UPDATE:  The original title of the article suggested that Norment was an adjunct at UVA Law school.  The article from the Daily Press reads that Norment “makes more than double what any adjunct professor at the University of Virginia School of Law is paid, pulling in $60,000 a year in a field that typically pays less than $10,000.” 

We apologize for the error.  ~ ed.

Travis Fain over at the Daily Press reports this morning that Virginia Senate Majority Leader Tommy Norment pulls down a comfortable $60,000/yr salary as an adjunct professor at University of Virginia Law at the College of William and Mary:

Their average pay was about $19,300 a year. An additional 155 adjuncts at the college make less than $10,000 a year, Whitson said via email. The William and Mary Law School lists more than 100 adjunct professors, including Norment, so most of its adjunct faculty makes less than $10,000.

The University of Virginia School of Law has about 100 paid adjunct faculty, all making between $2,000 and $24,500 a year, according to a school spokesman. Their median pay is $6,000, he said. The Daily Press requested similar information from George Mason Univesity, Virginia’s third and final public law school, but the university did not provide its data within two weeks.

Norment’s longstanding relationship with the College of William and Mary was an item of dispute during budget negotiations a few years back, where Norment pulled down $140,000/yr as legal counsel.

A few things to remark upon here:

(1)  Adjunct professors get paid crap wages.  There’s no other way to really sort that one out, and in an era where full-time faculty and tenure are rare indeed?  For the median pay to be $6,000/yr when you do the actual math ($500 a credit hour times three, 20 students to a classroom, do the light switches really cost that much to go up and down?) one really has to wonder….

(2)  Norment is a valuable professor.  Show of hands — if you wanted to practice law in Virginia, would you want to take a course under Norment?  Absolutely.  I’d pay money for that class…

(3)  Norment is more than just a professor.  Norment is a legal advisor.  Yes, that matters…

(4)  Hamilton went to jail because he feathered a nest as a quid pro quo.  For those who do not recall, Delegate Phil Hamilton was convicted in 2011 for 9.5 years on a bribery charge for creating a $40,000/yr post at Old Dominion University in exchange for $500,000 in state funds.

(5)  Someone needs to do a deeper dive on these quid pro quos in Virginia government — both local and state.  For instance, Virginia state law is currently interpreted to understand that one may serve as say — attorney for a social services board or work for public education — provided there is a layer between you and the position held such as a social services board or a school board. Yes — there are a number of Delegates and State Senators (and local elected officials) who pass laws and set budgets pertaining to a field who then receive embarrassing subsidies from state government as advisors, counselors, teachers, and the like — corruption at its hardest, one would say.

This isn’t to say that Norment’s relationship with UVA or William & Mary is improper in the slightest.  It just is.

Nor is it to say that adjuncts shouldn’t be pleased with the fact that many of them are paid a pittance in comparison to a handful of well-connected and well-heeled individuals.  When education (or any other public service) approximates a mafia, one should rightly begin raising questions.

One really hesitates to point the finger at Senator Norment, whose career literally revolves around higher education and the profession of law.  Other instances?

Well… let’s just say isolating Norment for attention masks a deeper problem in Virginia government that needs to be plowed up to the sunlight.