"As I indicated, your compensation consists of a salary of $200,000 per annum, supplemented by funds (as yet to be secured) from a private gift," Goldstein writes in a letter dated March 6, 2013. "In addition, we will provide the graduate student support mentioned above to assist you with course research, administration, and grading, as well as limited travel funds for professional meetings attended as a CUNY representative."
However, Arena said that Gawker did not receive all the correspondence related to Petraeus per their FOIA request.
In later correspondence dated July 1, Macaulay Honors College dean Ann Kirschner writes to Petraeus about the $150,000 salary they settled on, saying, "Knowing that you have been sought after by other institutions, some of them offering higher salaries, I am particularly grateful that you have agreed to a lower compensation than we originally offered."
The most recent data from the American Association of University Professors in April shows full-time non-tenure-track faculty members nationwide earned a median academic year salary of $47,500 in fall 2010.
When asked whether $150,000 is typical for a high-profile visiting professor, Arena said the university system has paid a premium for such academics.
"This is an opportunity for us to get someone with vast experience both nationally and internationally to be in our classrooms with our students," Arena said. "This is a very good opportunity for our students and we want to make that available to them."
Arena added that CUNY has aggressively fundraised about $2.7 billion from private sources over the last decade.
CUNY has 23 campuses in five boroughs with a total student enrollment of about 269,000.