Local News

University faculty offer to cut pay

Posted January 30, 2009
Updated March 9, 2009

— Faculty at some University of North Carolina campuses have offered to accept pay cuts to save other jobs amid tight budgets, officials said Friday.

A UNC Board of Governors committee was discussing President Erskine Bowles' recent recommendation to limit tuition increases for in-state students next fall.

Bowles on Tuesday called for slashing requests for higher tuition from the system's 16 campuses by a third, to an average of 2.8 percent. He also said the system's overall cap on tuition increases should be lowered from 6.5 to 4.5 percent, saying a college education needed to remain affordable to families hit hard by the recession.

UNC President Erskine Bowles UNC campuses try to limit tuition hikes

"While we recommended a reduction in the original request, I do want to stress we really need these funds," he said Friday.

Individual chancellors told the board Friday that they supported Bowles' recommendation and pledged not to cut financial aid as their own budgets were squeezed.

"I think it makes sense in light of the changes that we've seen in the financial environment," UNC-Chapel Hill Chancellor Holden Thorp said. "We just have to work all of these problems of ours out."

To help erase North Carolina's growing budget deficit, the state has pulled $150 million from the UNC system's annual appropriation.

Some faculty at North Carolina State University offered to take a 5 percent pay cut to save jobs, Chancellor James Oblinger said, adding no faculty expect raises this year.

"Department heads are telling me I've got faculty that are willing to take salary cuts and are willing to do this that or the other to preserve jobs of staff that support them or staff in the department," Oblinger said.

Temporary furloughs of university staff also are under consideration to save money, Bowles said. Furloughs would have to be approved by the General Assembly, as well as the Board of Governors.

Under Bowles' tuition proposal, in-state undergraduate tuition at UNC-Chapel Hill would go up $160, to $3,705, while tuition at N.C. State would increase by $93, to $3,860. Tuition at North Carolina Central University would go to $2,218, up $93, and Fayetteville State University tuition would go up by $79, to $1,826.

Oblinger and Thorp said they would work hard to keep class sizes down as they searched for ways to trim their budgets.

"Every student is probably going to be delayed in one way or another because of the availability of courses. So, a very critical need will be too monitor very carefully how we reinvest new dollars into keeping things going," Oblinger said.

"Any (tuition) increase is not going to be good on the wallet," UNC-Chapel Hill freshman Luke Erlemann said. "As long as they are doing what they can to keep it low, I'm going to be satisfied."

Last year, tuition went up by an average of 1.2 percent across the UNC system.


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  • oldfirehorse Jan 30, 2009

    I give up...all three of you are so far off the mark and making assumptions that there is no reason to continue trying to explain. EMT is only one of the jobs I've done, earlier in my career. I'm not some peon pining for the good life. And you're preaching to the choir when you start lecturing me about what it takes to get a PhD. My spouse and I will be paying off her student loans for that purpose for the next 25 years, if either of us lives that long. (Her talents and education will be put to use for community good as well, and she won't be fetching a big paycheck to help pay off the loan either.) And I don't expect I will look for another line of work, as my health is forcing me into retirement. If you all will look a little closer at my sarcastic remarks about the article, you might just realize that I don't take offense to how much these people, or anyone else for that matter, makes. IT IS THE BLATANTLY MISLEADING STATEMENT THAT THE CHANCELLOR MADE TO THE NEWS! G'night!

  • gotsomesense Jan 30, 2009

    Perhaps it also should be pointed out that part of their reasoning for offering the pay cut is so that their staff, who don't make nearly the money that they do, can keep their jobs and keep living check to check since they will still have a check to live on.

  • gotsomesense Jan 30, 2009

    independent thinker and others - you are exactly right!

    We live in a free market and professors do spend a great portion of their lives and money in order to get the PhD or other terminal degree REQUIRED to take one of these University positions. Trust me, even as a lowly community college faculty member, I could make MUCH more in the private sector and so could these professors.

    I only have a Masters and I am still paying back student loans. Please compare these folks to doctors who spend upwards of 12 years or more living on a shoestring in order to make it through school. Yes, they are paid high salaries, but for years they are paying on student loans with interest while they are also paying mortgages, car payments, day care etc.

    firehorse - I commend you for being an EMT. However, I am assuming that you knew what that pay scale would be when you went into that line of work. If it doesn't suit you perhaps you should try something different....

  • oldfirehorse Jan 30, 2009

    "Some faculty at North Carolina State University offered to take a 5 percent pay cut to save jobs, Chancellor James Oblinger said, adding no faculty expect raises this year." My point is that the Chancellor made this statement to the news folks which is at best misleading. And no, I'm not jealous or envious. And no, I'm not ignorant, fool or a liar, inattentive, uncurious, anti-intellectual, unproductive, or lazy. I've been proud of the work I've done for 43 years and for the most part have lived my life as chosen or through necessity. If you want to talk denigrating then take a look at your first post. And as for any other "hang up" I might have, well sounds like tough talk....ever tried the walk?

  • sst100 Jan 30, 2009

    oldfirehorse- My point? You may not have all of the facts. You do not know how the research money works, how contracts are worded (fairly restrictively) and you assume because they are paid a high salary, that any sacrifice they are willing to make is hollow and just for show. Unless you were in on the meetings, to suggest that their motivation was just to make the headlines is ignorant at best. independent-thinker is right- they are under no obligation to give anything back. If you are jealous, it is OK to say so. In all of your posts you just have been looking for reasons to denigrate their offer.

  • independent_thinker Jan 30, 2009

    oldfirehorse: I've never worked for any government agency. For 22 years, I've worked in the private sector, which has it's own strengths and flaws. Anyone who thinks all employees at US companies are operating at 100% capacity is either a fool or a liar. I work with many folks who make it their life's work to be inattentive, uncurious, anti-intellectual, unproductive, and lazy. I've worked at 4 companies since college, and my observation is consistent at all four.

    The faculty referred to in the article are under no obligation to give back even 1%, yet they volunteer on their own accord. That's a good news story, not a time to bash others for their goodwill.

    If you're envious of their good fortune, just say it. I'm not, and they may earn more than me. If you've got some other hang-up, let us know.

    What is your point?

  • oldfirehorse Jan 30, 2009

    Hey, you're the one that started slinging insults at people expressing their opinions. I do stand corrected....your low paid toe. And you're right, it doesn't matter what I think, but, I still have a right to think it. And, yes, you're also right that they are still getting paid, so, 5% for a few one way or the other is no big deal. So, what is your point exactly?

  • sst100 Jan 30, 2009

    oldfirehorse- I am NOT one of the high paid professors mentioned in the article- where did I say that I was? Please read carefully. My wife and I are state employees and together we don't make what most of the professors do. However, I also recognize that people get paid what their worth is to their employer. If you think they are grandstanding, fine.... doesn't matter what you think. They are still being paid.

  • oldfirehorse Jan 30, 2009

    mpheels, maybe on top of was an unfortunate choice of words. Let's call it on the side instead. The bottom line is 75% + 25% still equals 100%. "We all earn exactly what we're worth in a market based system"-independent_thinker. What profound logic and inflated sense of self worth! "What a bunch of whiners... put on your big boy or big girl pants and get over it.........Otherwise accept the fact that certain professions get paid more and move on."-sst100 Sage advice there, but it sounds more like you're the one screaming like a girl because somebody stepped on your iddy biddy high paid toe. These posts are in response to a statement headlining how wonderful it is for "some" faculty volunteering to take a whopping 5% cut in pay. Didn't say how many, didn't say it was going to happen. So yea, some folks might see it as grand standing.

  • happymom Jan 30, 2009

    fundybasher, I couldn't agree more.

    This is really admirable. As for the complaints about the faculty salaries, people should understand that these folks put about a 1/3 of their life into building these careers and they have gone to very considerable expense to do so. Most of them are not "silver spooners" (unlike many business tycoons) and they bring a considerable amount $$$ to the universities in the form of grants.

    It makes me very proud to know that the faculty at our state universities were among the first to sacrifice. It means that many of them are really able to put their $ where their mouths are.