Friday, November 11, 2011

Dear UNC: Don't Raise Tuition

Under the Dome is reporting that a split has developed on the UNC Board of Governors over whether to raise tuition next year to deal with the budget losses imposed by the new Republican regime in Raleigh. Some on the BOG are against raising tuition and telling the NC General Assembly, "Now you deal with it."

We applaud that stand.

What's somewhat eyebrow-raising is the prime mover, according to Dome, of that viewpoint ... Fred Eshelman, a Big Pharma executive, nationally recognized hater of Obama, and one of the chief funders who put the Republican regime in place in Raleigh last year. The 527 group Right Change is largely his creature.

Eshelman wanted the Tea Party in charge in Raleigh to cut the budget, thoroughly and ruthlessly. Wouldn't that be a safe assumption? Now, having been appointed to the Board of Governors as a reward for funding the Republican revolution, he's prepared to tell the budget-whackers to stuff it, as far as the University of North Carolina is concerned (and it IS concerned).

Ain't human nature wonderful?


Anonymous said...

Oh my, JW. To you, the university system should get everything it wants, no matter what. ASU, a part of the UNC system, was funded with steadily increasing sums for seven years; from $88M+ in 2003-2004 to $142M+ in 2009-2010.

In the following fiscal year 2010-2011, there was a small reduction to $140M+ that was largely mitigated by a tuition increase. This fiscal year 2011-2012 was reduced back to the level of the 2008-2009 appropriation of $122M -$123M.

Good grief, ASU just cannot survive. How devastating!

Not Really said...

Anon 11:31, let's not forget that ASU saw a significant growth in enrollment over the same period - from about 13,400 on campus in 2003 to 15,400 in 2009. I'm rounding to the nearest hundred here. If you count distance education the numbers jump from 14,300 in 2003 to 17,000 in 2009. So a decent increase in funding was to be expected simply to keep pace with the growth in the number of students.

The other reason funding increased so quickly is that costs have risen in higher education everywhere. Some of it can be attributed to bloated administration though I think ASU fares better than most universities on this count. A lot of the rest goes to student services that were minimal or nonexistent 20 and even 10 years ago but are now commonplace, and to costly and time-consuming collection of data to prove that the university is doing what it says it is. Anyone calling for increased accountability in higher education should remember that *someone* is going to have to pay for it.

Anonymous said...

Ok then, Not Really. Then why increase their enrollment at such a pace? Yes, I have the enrollment figures and also the figures on ASU's enormous property holdings, which are tax exempt. And huge expansion plans are continuing, no mattter what the impact on this area. Plus, remember the original purpose of the founders? This intention was radically changed by the '70s.

Also, why the generous increases in faculty and administration salaries over the last several years, even consecutively? And these increases were not COLAs.

Meanwhile, during his watch, former Governor Easley had to order western NC colleges and universities to bring their pay scale above the poverty level for their maintenance and blue collar employees.

Not Really said...

ASU has clearly changed radically since the 1970s. I think a large part of it is pressure to grow from the UNC General Assembly. North Carolina has also grown a lot in the last 30-40 years. We're actually the 10th largest state in population as of 2010, bigger than Virginia and New Jersey. I know we were nowhere near that big when I was growing up. My home county has gone from having 2 high schools to 6 or 7 as of this year and I think that's the case all over the state. All the UNC schools have had to grow to accommodate those students.

I do not know where your information about generous increases in faculty salaries comes from. ASU instituted a salary freeze in 2007 that remains to this day. I am a lowly faculty member who has not seen a raise since then and I don't know anyone else who has either. Maybe some administrators have found ways to exempt themselves; I don't know.

While our maintenance and office staff absolutely deserve to be paid a living wage, we don't live in a society where blue-collar workers and professors make the same salary. The training to become a professor typically requires at least 5 years of education past the undergraduate degree and I don't have a problem with being compensated for the specialized skills that I have and the work that I do. In fact, I hear a lot of grumbling from colleagues these days about how low the salaries are at ASU and I think the university stands to lose some of its more talented instructors to schools that pay better.

Anonymous said...

I will try to get past the censor one more time. The legislature has dealt with it. They gave the university system money. It is up to the universities how they spend it. They can waste it or tighten their belts like everyone else is having to do.

Dreaming of even a COLA raise, the Teahadist said...

Also, why the generous increases in faculty and administration salaries over the last several years, even consecutively

Bwahaha. I'm laughing through my tears. What planet are you on? Here on Earth, we faculty haven't seen pay raises in several years.

But we have a great climbing wall, a solarium, a fancy new cafeteria, a new stadium, flat panel TVs in the library every where you look, so it's all good.

Anonymous said...

Not Really, the info I obtained in the late summer of 2008, and just recently, is from the NC Legislative Fiscal Division who keep records of all this info, etc.

As for the supposed 2007 salary freeze, according to the above source, in fiscal year 2006-2007, ASU employees received 5.5% across the board increase. In fiscal year 2007-2008, ASU employees received 4% across the board increase. In fiscal year 2008-2009, faculty received 3% increase; 2.75% administrative, staff increase. Also, there were 2.5%, or greater of $1000, and 2% increase, or greater of $850, in fiscal years 2004-2005 and 2005-2006 respectively.

And please, don't try to say that I or anyone else thinks everyone should be paid the same regardiess of training, education, etc. Yet, it is very interesting, to say the least, that a governor has to order a public institution/s to bring their pay scale above the poverty level for its blue collar and maintenance workers.

Not Really said...

You really do have to laugh when you realize people think professors are bringing in huge salaries. Except for the business professors, they're not. And adjunct instructors, the ones who do half the teaching at most universities these days, generally make about the same as secretaries and maintenance staff. Teahadist is right; the money is not going to education but to any number of other things. I think a lot of the construction is funded by other means but there is still a huge amount spent on auxiliary services that do not relate directly to instruction.

Oh My said...

Actually, the legislature specifically allocates, limits and forbids how its money is spent. Not only have there been no pay raises for faculty or staff, everyone had to give back part of their salary 18 months ago

Not Really said...

That information about pay raises for ASU faculty is just wrong. There have been no increases for faculty since 2007, not even for cost of living. It stinks but as they say I'm grateful to have a job (and one I enjoy doing).

Oh My, I'd forgotten about the furlough! As if a professor can just take off a few days from teaching and research - it was, indeed, a one-month pay cut.

Anonymous said...

The UNC quote, from today's News & Observer, is outrageous newspeak. They speak of budgets, or budget cuts, which is misleading. From the NC Legislative Fiscal Division, the original budgeted amounts are different than the actual appropriated funding. The budgeted amounts are sometimes more than appropriated funding. But the appropriated funding has increased for several years, as the above original comment stated.