A hard road to pay equity

Soon, the administration and the teachers union will sign their new contracts.

This year has been marked by slow progress and protests decrying the model of the “corporate university” and the overpaid administration.

We have seen a shift in the past thirty years or so from university administrations lead by faculty to professional administrators.

On the face of it, much of the controversy over the pay gap between the administration and the rest of the University employees is warranted.

It’s well known that President Sullivan is the highest paid public employee in the state.

According to United Academics, over the past decade, administrative salaries have risen by over 50 percent. By many accounts, the administration is being paid way, way too much.

Our faculty union must fight for this contract. Without an active, powerful and concerted voice, the union may not be able to maintain its gains secured thus far.

What’s more, students suffer when the faculty is demoralized due to this pay gap.

Teachers who feel like they’re being treated fairly by their university are no doubt better for students who require quality, undivided attention from educators.

The Cynic supports United Academics’ fight for fair contracts. Unfortunately, the real problem isn’t with an unfair contract, and it isn’t with an overpaid administration.

There are factors at play that are beyond the scope of this disagreement.

The “fat cat” image of administrators is an incorrect depiction of our University leaders.

The cost of college has been artificially inflating and the market rate of an administrator’s salary is, actually, astronomical.

But our administration is not composed of greedy individuals. They want what’s best for this university, just like the faculty and staff.

The pay gap, by extension, is not a symptom of greedy UVM administrators.

It’s the sign of a clear economic reality that pits university communities like ours against each other at the expense of the faculty and the students, with administrators incidentally making off with the increased pay.

This is not an issue that new contracts between the administration and the union can fix.

If the administration wants to raise faculty pay, their choice is simple. They have to either drop their own pay or raise tuition.

If they drop their pay, the University will likely end up mismanaged — no competent administrators will want the job.

If they raise tuition, fewer students will be able to afford an education.

When administrative job positions compete with positions nationally, they compete within an unfair and broken national market. That’s the real problem.