Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Wilson Hits The Jackpot

One would think that the bad economy would put the brakes on pay increases for public university leaders. However, it has recently come to light, in an annual compensation survey from The Chronicle of Higher Education, that this is not true.

Jack Wilson, the President of the University of Massachusetts system, received a 15.4 percent pay raise (which included his salary, retirement pay, housing allowance, deferred compensation, and use of a UMass car) in Fiscal Year 2009 while J. Keith Motley, Chancellor at UMass-Boston, received a 5.2 percent raise. We here at Scaling the Hill 2010 are wondering what the average raise was for the custodians, administrative staff, and the faculty? Our guess is slim to none????

Yet again, it seems that Governor Patrick and the University Trustees are out of touch with the 8.8 percent of the population in our state that is unemployed. Families are struggling to pay for heat, put food on their tables, and send their children to college, yet Patrick & Company see fit to authorize this substantial raise and simultaneously raise tuition and fees for the very same people who are paying for these outrageous salary increases.

As a result of the huge public outcry, the Boston Herald is reporting today that Wilson has now decided to voluntarily freeze his pay, saying he will "refuse all future salary and compensation increases, including the one due this year, until such time as the faculty and staff receive increases." That's a good first step, but Governor Patrick should insist on an immediate hiring and wage freeze at all of the Commonwealth’s public higher education institutions.