By: Philip Harris
The Daily Texan is reporting today that seven UT System executives and fifteen presidents are receiving millions of dollars in salary increases for the 2013 budget year. UT President Bill Powers’ base salary, the highest of any UT System academic president, will increase to over $674,000. That’s right, the same administration that has asked for budgets to be scaled back and universities to find ways to reduce costs is increasing their own pay. Perhaps bemoaning the inability to raise undergraduate tuition at the University of Texas is misguided when it seems that all it would pay for is more disposable income for the University leadership.
And that’s a funny word, isn’t it? Leadership entails the ability to direct an institution in a particular endeavor with success. The University of Texas System leadership has been attempting, at least nominally, to combat the rising costs of higher education by reducing the size of programs and cutting staff. But rather than lead, it seems that the UT administration is content to ask everyone else to do as they say, not as they do.
Imagine the atmosphere at a university with a president who decided to take a pay cut when funds were low, in order to maintain services to students and provide scholarships. Imagine the attitude of faculty, students, and staff toward leadership that lead by example, and not by decree. (But then that would be a university that considered students as their clients, or customers.) Instead, the board of regents is asking for more money from students to pay for more money in their pockets, a truly sad state of affairs.