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Former UNC Professor: Students Have No Right To Complain About Tuition Hike

Posted February 16, 2005

— Talk of tuition hikes always brings protest, but a former professor at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill said the hikes are needed and students should understand they are getting a good deal.

Professor emeritus John Shelton Reed, fed up with co-ed complaints, wrote a letter to the editor of a newspaper, referring to some UNC students as "whiny rich kids."

Reed said he realizes paying tuition is tough for some, but he said many students clearly have money to burn.

"We should charge tuition equal to the cars students drive," he said.

"I have every right to complain just like someone who is on financial aid," UNC student Renae McPherson said. "An increase in money is an increase in money. Nobody wants to pay more tuition, especially at a public university."

Over the last three years, though, Chancellor James Moeser sought tuition increases to bolster faculty salaries.

"We're in a very competitive environment for faculty," he said.

In 2003-2004, the average salary for a full professor at UNC was $106,000, which was about $7,000 less than their counterparts at the University of Virginia, a comparable public university. However, UNC professors made $4,000 more than full professors at Wake Forest, a private university.

Moeser said the school loses as many as 50 professors a year to higher-paying jobs, but usually younger professors.

"I can show you actual offers of assistant professors where the difference is $30,000 to $40,000 and on a $60,000 salary. It's a big difference," he said.

The UNC Board of Governors recently voted to freeze in-state under graduate tuition next year, but there is still a chance the school can get money to raise faculty salaries. The board votes in March on increasing graduate and out-of-state tuition as well as student fees.

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