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Editorial: Kendig's salary too high in wake of budget cuts

By Editorial Board
On November 29, 2012

  • A dispatcher at the UConn Police Department sits in front of a bank of monitors in the newly remodeled communications center Wednesday.

Did you know we have a vice president of communications? His job consists of managing an office of around 30 people to manage news and information, marketing, multimedia, Internet and design services. His name is Tysen Kendig, a Northeast native. He will begin his job in mid-January at an annual salary of $227,500.
That's right, to oversee a staff of 30 people to manage the University's public relations, Mr.Kendig will receive a salary of over two-hundred grand. President Susan Herbst said in a news release, "How aggressively we communicate about ourselves and tell our story as an institution is one of the essential components of our success as a top public university. Tysen is without question the right person to lead this critical effort in the years to come, and I am thrilled that he will be joining us here at UConn."
That's all well and good.
But the man is getting paid over $200,000 to do PR at a time when the university's budget was just cut by $15 million.
Kendig is the former vice president for strategic communication at the University of Iowa. He was chosen after a nation-wide search for someone who could help the university "reposition its public message for the digital age, aggressively pursuing new strategies in multimedia content and social media as well as more traditional platforms." Or to put it more simply, Kendig is going to be in charge of managing a staff of people to work on the internet to advertise UConn and bring more students (and more tuition) to the university.
To say that Mr. Kendig doesn't deserve the money, which the university claims is based ON national standards, would be erroneous. We are sure Mr. Kendig works hard and will improve the university's image. We also know that there is already a massive faculty (focused on professors, not administrators) hiring initiative aimed at making class sizes smaller for a more intimate learning environment. To hire new faculty and staff requires more money, which means either more students have to come in (at an exponential rate) or tuition has to go up. People like Mr. Kendig are in charge of bringing more students to the university, but as for the rest of us, tuition is already skyrocketing.
In the wake of a budget slashed by $15 million and planned tuition hikes, is conforming to "national standard" salaries that we simply can't afford the best idea?  

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