Large pay increases for top executives not appropriate

When professors and other unclassified staff of the UW System found out in October that their pay increase would, on average, be slightly less than the Board of Regents had recommended, the reaction was mixed.

But on the whole, professors at UW-Eau Claire took the news in stride; the 3.2 and 4.2 percent increases over two years was reasonable, especially considering the economic limbo the United States seems to be in.

But with the “tight budget” ranging across the board, one would assume that everyone within the system would be feeling the pinch – even those at the top.

But nothing could be further from the truth.

The Board of Regents recently increased the salary of UW System President Katharine Lyall by more than $91,000 to $299,000, an increase of 47 percent.

Sorry, Kathy. Money’s a little tight right now. We’re only gonna be able to bump you up 90 G’s this year.

And though that was the most blatant example of hypocrisy concerning this issue, it didn’t stop there.

UW-Eau Claire Chancellor Donald Mash and UW-Stout Chancellor Charles Sorensen both received a more than $18,000 increase for salaries of $168,000 per year.

If this happens during an economic downturn, one can only imagine what will happen in a few years if the economy resuscitates itself.

Of course the Board – short on student input – is claiming the increases are necessary to stay competitive, but this is ridiculous.

Justifying such an increase is hard to do in any setting, but when it’s within public universities you simply can’t.