The Cap Times has an article today titled “Pay will limit chancellor search.” It seems that $322,000 plus a recently renovated mansion to live in, a state car, and “generous benefits” is simply not enough to attract quality candidates. The problem, they tell us, is that this compensation is low compared to that received by the leaders of our peer institutions. The article says that the regents “will consider increasing pay by asking taxpayers or the [UW] foundation to contribute more.” I say absolutely not. I object to implementation of the CEO pay plan model in academia in general and at the UW in particular, and think this is the right time to take a stand.
What is the possible justification for this kind of compensation package? Is it based on results? If so, its implementation here has been a spectacular failure, given the state that we now find ourselves in. Demoralized faculty and staff, continually rising tuition, a deteriorating relationship with legislators, loads of support for biotech but scraps for everything else, spiralling numbers of and pay for administrators, falling support for graduate students, and on and on. And it’s not just the UW – this is happening all over the country, in tandem with these astronomical salaries for university chancellors and presidents.
I always read about these huge salaries and wonder what people do with the money. Our future chancellor will not need to pay for their housing, transportation, or insurance. So they’ll need the $322,000 (or even more) for… their wardrobe? Their art collection? Trips to Dejope? And now we’re being told that it’s not enough. Sorry, but I can’t buy it. We need someone who will take the job because they love the University and want to lead it out of this morass. I think we should actually lower the pay. I believe that there are honest, dedicated people out there who would take the job at or below its current rate, and do something about the fact that this once-great university is crumbling away before our very eyes.
(Read another take on this topic here.)