Today: Jun 16, 2024

Salary increases raise questions

Ivylee Rosario – News Reporter

There has been an increased concern by both students and faculty about the decisions made by the Board of Regents for Higher Education in Connecticut about their control of money.

Photo Courtesy | ctregents.org
Robert Kennedy, former president of the Board of Regents.

“The board is requiring so much sacrifice from everyone else, and these are people who aren’t in power,” said Julian Madison, professor of history at Southern. “Students are being unfairly asked to take on more and more each year. We are expecting them to pay more money, on top of going to class and having jobs.”

The former president of the Board of Regents Dr. Robert Kennedy awarded $250,000 in raises to higher administration in the Connecticut State colleges and universities’ offices. This has led to outrage and many people are asking for answers when it comes to how money is being spent at Southern. Due to these large amounts of money being used for higher administration only, tuition and other expenses have increased for Southern students, which lead to scrutiny and questioning of the decisions made by the Board of Regents.

Kennedy resigned from the postion of president on Oct. 12, 2012

“Students, faculty, staff, alums and all other stakeholders have a right to know how the public higher education dollars are spent—and especially how they are misspent,” said Robert Forbus, professor of marketing at Southern.

After initial questioning about the $250,000, there was a discussion about the idea of “shared sacrifice.” This idea pertained to

Photo Courtesy | ctregents.org
Philip Austin, interim president of the Board of Regents.

higher administration, faculty and students each making sacrifices to come to an agreement about how money for the university is being spent.

These sacrifices included a two-year wage freeze and a ten-year, three percent contribution towards retiree healthcare, which resulted in a decreased salary for most state employees for two years. At CSU, the faculty voted overwhelmingly by a nine to one margin in support of accepting these increases.

Students are being asked to sacrifice when it comes to university costs such as the increased price of tuition, room and board amounts being raised, and even health insurance that is offered to the students.

At a recent Board of Regents meeting, the topic of enrollment was discussed and how it pertains to the increased tuition costs.

“Enrollment to the university has declined somewhat, mostly on the part-time and graduate levels, but also during the sophomore and junior years of students,” said Elsa Nunez, Board of Regents vice president for state universities.

When compared to other schools out of state, many are not facing these types of financial abuse issues.

Photo Courtesy | ctregents.org
Elsa Nunez, vice president for state universities.

“A university in Minneapolis had plans of building an athletic facility, so the members of the Board put together a budget and building plan and the facility was built before the estimated time and under budget,” Madison said. “It is important to know exactly how a school’s money is being spent and on what.”

The concern has continued to escalate as more and more faculty and students are becoming aware of this ongoing issue, many are shocked by how the Board of Regents is handling this situation and trust among the university and its administrators is being questioned.

“The whole notion of shared sacrifice is that we all give up something for the common good,” Forbus said. “Professors have taken unpaid furlough days, paid more in taxes and forgone raises, only to see an administrator get a substantial raise.  That situation is the equivalent of pummeling to pulp the notion of shared sacrifice.”

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