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UNC Committee Votes Against Using Private Money To Boost Chancellor Pay

Posted July 9, 2004

— The University of North Carolina system needs big bucks to attract big-time chancellors. One idea would use private dollars to supplement their state salaries.

That idea did not sit well with a UNC Board of Governors committee.

UNC board members have said that, to compete with other universities, they need to pay their chancellors more money. But the board's chair has ruled that money will not come from the private sector.

Thursday, a committee voted to keep the current policy, which forbids using private money to pay for a chancellor's salary.

Chancellors are considered the administrators, the fund-raisers, and the faces of their universities. Because of that, members of North Carolina State University's Board of Trustees want to up the ante in their search to replace Outgoing N.C. State Chancellor Marye Ann Fox.

"Finding the right person and being able to give them a package they'll come here for is the difficult thing," said NCSU trustee Suzanne Gordon.

That amount of funding from the General Assembly is not guaranteed. Some say the next best thing is to supplement the salary through private donations.

"I think we have to do it," Gordon said. "If we have private donors who want to participate and give the money, why not take advantage of it?"

UNC Board of Governors Chair Brad Wilson said there are plenty of reasons not to do that. Wilson said chancellors at like-sized campuses might end up with vastly different salaries. He also said UNC is a state university system, and its employees should be paid by the state.

Wilson said the using private money would allow people to perceive a conflict of interest.

"If a third or a half of a salary is coming from a private source that has a point of view different from the Board of Governors or the president, it could create tension not appropriate of a situation that chancellors would want to be in," Wilson said.

There are hundreds of endowed professors working in the UNC system. Board members said comparing them to a chancellor is like comparing apples and oranges.

For professors, there is a direct chain of command, and the endowed salary is a set amount.

The committee will present its recommendation to keep the policy as-is to the full board.

UNC system leaders make considerably less than their peers across the nation. The proposed plan would raise current salaries by about $40,000, making the universities more attractive to prospects.

UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor James Moeser is the higest paid, at nearly $256,000 per year. Under the plan, he would receive a $48,000 raise. Fox pulled in more than $248,000. Her successor stands to make more than $304,000. UNC-Pembroke Chancellor Allen Meadors currently makes close to $153,000.

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