By Jonathan Smith, Editor in Chief
In lieu of annual raises, full- and half-time faculty and staff will receive a one-time supplemental pay Dec. 1. Full-time employees will receive $750, and half-time employees will receive $375, as long as they were employed by June 1.
Phil Schubert, vice president of finance, said he realizes the one-time payment will not replace annual raises university employees have grown accustomed to receiving.
“We take very seriously the fact that we didn’t give raises last year,” Schubert said. “We recognize we’ve lost ground with respect to competitive salaries.”
The university decided against giving raises this year when facing a possible $5 million deficit if nothing was done. Dr. Royce Money, president of the university, organized 13 teams to look for cost-cutting strategies for the university, and they suggested cutting pay raises this year.
“We couldn’t make long-term commitments to raises without knowing more about the financial direction,” Schubert said.
He said the one-time pay will cost the university about $700,000, but raises would have cost twice that. As a result of the cost-cutting strategies, Schubert has said the university now has a balanced budget.
“It’s unfortunate we got there last year, but we had to deal with it responsibly,” Schubert said. “There are a lot of positive factors that converged and put us in a better situation.”
Some of those positive factors include a record fall enrollment, strong investments and a growing endowment. That allowed Schubert to increase the budgeted one-time pay amount from less than $500 for employees to the current levels.
Schubert said he has not heard much response from faculty since the totals were announced earlier this semester, and Dr. Ginna Sadler, chair of the Faculty Senate and associate professor of Art and Design, said she has received little feedback.
“I think people are pleased to get a bonus,” Sadler said. “I haven’t received much feedback, so I guess that’s good.”
However, Schubert said he realizes how employees feel.
“We expected people to be disappointed-I’m disappointed,” he said, but added: “I’m encouraged we’re now in a stronger financial position to move forward.”
Schubert said faculty salaries remain a priority for the university. He said the university has a long-standing goal to be at least even with the salary averages from the College and University Professional Association. The university had been as high as about 97 percent of that average, but last year’s financial pressure pushed that down to about 95 percent.
“We want to make a very strong commitment to our employees that we recognize we have not accomplished what we set out to accomplish,” Schubert said.
Schubert said he does not anticipate having to cut employee raises again this year.