Editorial: Raises for UConn administrators are appropriate
Published: Monday, September 9, 2013
Updated: Monday, September 9, 2013 23:09
UConn has recently been criticized for giving big raises to some of its top administrators. 24 members of UConn’s senior management received raises between $10,000 and $22,500. With the state deeply in debt, these raises look exorbitant and wasteful, but the reality is that they are very reasonable and important to the school.
While tens of thousands of dollars may seem like a lot, the raises were only 4.1 percent to 5 percent increases, which is fairly normal for similar upper management positions. The percentage increase in salaries was about the same as those for top execs at other state agencies.
The raises are also in line with those given at other schools. UConn used a study of administrative wages at the top 50 public research universities done by an independent consulting firm to determine new salary levels. The study found that salaries at UConn were on par with other schools of similar size and scope. If UConn wants the best faculty and staff, they have to pay what the best schools pay.
Another important consideration is that the administrators who received raises are in charge of a huge operation. UConn’s annual budget is around $1 billion. They have a lot of responsibilities, and running the university is a demanding job. Most executives working for a business the size of UConn would be receiving similar (if not much higher) wages. We need good leadership, and it is not going to come cheap.
Most importantly, competitive wages mean better professors and staff. We have to pay to attract the kind of people who will make UConn one of the best public research schools. In fact, this is the most important—and most cost effective—thing the university can do to improve itself. The most valuable assets on campus are the teachers. The professors and administrators here are what will actually make UConn a good school.
This newspaper gives a lot of space to stories about wasteful spending at UConn, but we fully support the university’s commitment to hiring the best faculty they can. Energy efficient classrooms, Division I sports teams and brand new buildings are all good things, but they are mostly cosmetic. The people actually running the school and doing the teaching have to be well compensated. They should be the focus of the university’s efforts to improve itself.