Compensation controversy fuels action

Philip Baruth, a state senator and UVM English professor, voted against a measure to give UVM $182,409 in state endowment money, according to the Governor’s Commission on Higher Education. While the measure ended up passing, Baruth made it clear that he was voting against the endowment boost due to his dissatisfaction with University spending, according to an open letter to the Board of Trustees. “I have been genuinely and deeply appalled … at the Administration’s policies with regard to the intimately related issues of executive and staff compensation,” Baruth said. His nay vote was intended to send a message to the administration to seriously consider spending less state money on administrative uses, according to the letter. “It is my hope that the board will then enact meaningful executive compensation reform, through its own deliberative process, well in advance of negotiations with the incoming president,” he said. Baruth said he believes that while UVM’s current compensation policy is hurting professors and maintenance workers, it will ultimately come back to the students. “You [students] are the ones really getting screwed,” he said. “You are taking on that extra money at 30-year interest rates.” The last time the spending policies were publicized this much was three years ago, when an issue surrounding administrative bonuses arose, Baruth said. “When the economy began its swan dive, a whistleblower told the community that the administration was giving generous performance bonuses in the range of 20 to 30 thousand dollars,” he said. “That to me was the tipping point. And now we find ourselves in the same place, but worse. Personally, I don’t want to let this go.”