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App State senior lecturer unable to keep up with Blowing Rock real estate prices

Ralph+Lentz+is+a+professor+in+the+history+department.+Lentz+was+forced+to+sell+the+home+he+built+because+he+could+no+longer+afford+the+mortgage+payments.+
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App State senior lecturer unable to keep up with Blowing Rock real estate prices

Ralph Lentz is a professor in the history department. Lentz was forced to sell the home he built because he could no longer afford the mortgage payments.

Ralph Lentz is a professor in the history department. Lentz was forced to sell the home he built because he could no longer afford the mortgage payments.

Anna Muckenfuss

Ralph Lentz is a professor in the history department. Lentz was forced to sell the home he built because he could no longer afford the mortgage payments.

Anna Muckenfuss

Anna Muckenfuss

Ralph Lentz is a professor in the history department. Lentz was forced to sell the home he built because he could no longer afford the mortgage payments.

Anna Muckenfuss, News Reporter

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A senior lecturer in the Department of History was forced to move out of the house he built in 2018 because he could not afford the mortgage payments.

Ralph Lentz said he makes about $39,800 per year, which was not enough for him to keep his home in Blowing Rock. Lentz lives in a cabin in Meat Camp, which is 9.5 miles away from Boone. Lentz said he hopes to move into his grandmother’s house when he gets back on his feet.

Lentz, an App State alumnus, said when he first started teaching as an adjunct professor in 1999, he had no benefits or insurance, and had to teach seven classes per semester.

“I was slipping; it was not good for me or the students,” Lentz said. “I wasn’t able to do as good a job because I was tired. I was overworked.”

Now that he is a senior lecturer, Lentz’s salary and retirement benefits increased, but he said he has no savings.

“If I have a serious medical problem and can’t work, I lose everything,” Lentz said. “There’s no way to save on that kind of salary to have a safety net.”

Lentz said due to the cost of living in Boone, other faculty at App State are leaving, some of whom are award-winning scholars.

“There are two faculty members from my department who are leaving because of the pay rate,” Lentz said. “They found better pay at a different university.”

Despite his financial difficulties, Lentz has no plans to leave Boone or App State.

“My family is here and my family roots go back literally hundreds of years,” Lentz said. “I love teaching, I love what I do; it’s my calling. I value my family and my history and home more than I do money.”

About the Writer
Anna Muckenfuss, News Reporter

Sophomore Communication, Journalism and Electronic Media/ Broadcasting major

Twitter: @noel1122

Email: Muckenfussan@appstate.edu

4 Comments

4 Responses to “App State senior lecturer unable to keep up with Blowing Rock real estate prices”

  1. Steven Knauss on April 9th, 2019 7:14 am

    This is shameful for the university, a senior lecturer can’t afford to live where he works. This isn’t just a pay issue, it’s a respect issue as well. As an individual, this employee cannot fix the problem. But if organized as a group, App State employees could collectively improve conditions. Ralph Lentz is a good man, I wish him and his colleagues the best.

  2. Caroline on April 9th, 2019 1:29 pm

    I do agree that this is a low salary, but there is a lot more to this story that is missing for me. If he built a house in 2018 – then the loan he got in order to build it would be based on his income and he would not/should not have gotten a loan with payments that he can’t afford. Mortgage payments are static. Could maybe taxes have dramatically increased? Did his salary dramatically drop? Also, housing in the High Country is unaffordable, that is well known and makes it difficult to live there. But all that being said, yes, it would be great if he were able to make more.

    I do think the onus should be on the cost of living in Boone and surrounding areas as much as it should be on anything else.

  3. Joshua on April 9th, 2019 5:35 pm

    I blame the chancellor 100% she just took a big pay increase too while her faculty has issues like this. Its shameful… we need a new chancellor

  4. Ben Sawyer on April 9th, 2019 6:25 pm

    Ralph Lentz is one of the best teachers at App State and he deserves to be treated better than this. The leadership at App State should be ashamed of themselves for not investing in their best employees. Students keep paying more for tuition and the professors keep getting underpaid- I’m not sure you can claim to be a great university when your best professors are treated so poorly.

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App State senior lecturer unable to keep up with Blowing Rock real estate prices