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Regents intend to study chancellor compensation

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SEPTEMBER 14, 2011

As the university struggles with tough economic times, the UC Board of Regents met Wednesday to discuss studying recruitment of top administrators at the same time as lower-paid workers asserted that their current wages put them in poverty.

The board detailed its intention to pursue a systemwide study of chancellor compensation in comparison to potentially more lucrative offers from comparable institutions. But earlier in the meeting, UC employees voiced concerns over their own pay while the board considered the potential increases for chancellors in the future.

“The University of California is one of the most prestigious institutions in the world, yet its employees rely on public funds to make ends meet,” said Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, at the meeting, echoing the concerns of more than a dozen UC employees who spoke.

After UC President Mark Yudof and board Chair Sherry Lansing acknowledged the employees’ concerns, discussion turned to achieving a better understanding of compensation practices for campus chancellors relative to pay for similar positions at comparable institutions.

“We are here to protect the people’s money, so we ought to take a look,” said Regent George Kieffer. “Let’s see what we have to do to compete (with other universities) but to also be frugal.”

Though a similar study of executive salaries was conducted in 2008, Kieffer said that the board is “working with old information.” Several regents stated that the roles and responsibilities of chancellors have changed over time, which is not reflected in the most recent study.

Although Kieffer and systemwide Academic Senate Chair Robert Anderson said that a salary increase was not necessary to retain current chancellors, both expressed concerns that  current levels of executive compensation may hinder future recruitment efforts — a timely topic considering recent departures.

UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox has announced her intention to step down at the close of the academic year, just months after UC Merced Chancellor Sung-Mo “Steve” Kang stepped down last June.

According to the report’s timeline, it should be finalized in 2012 and discussed in an open session at a future UC Board of Regents meeting.

Contact Jessica Rossoni at 

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SEPTEMBER 14, 2011