The new revisions to the leave policy for former UNC-system presidents and chancellors are a welcome and needed change — for now.
Benefits and pay given to administrators returning to faculty positions were doled out without accountability and were a bit excessive.
These “retreat rights” are often used as recruiting tools. Not only do they compensate for the UNC system’s comparatively low salaries, but they also help system schools remain competitive among peer institutions.
Essentially, they are the academic world’s version of corporate bonuses.
However, on Jan. 8, the board officially approved changes to the UNC-system leave policy for school chancellors and presidents.
The new, revised policy is a good compromise, at least for the foreseeable future.
For instance, leave time was reduced from one year to six months. Retreating chancellors and presidents will now receive a salary comparable to similarly ranked faculty members beginning with the time of leave.
And if an individual decides to part with the UNC system after the research leave has expired, they are required to pay back their full salary to the state.
It is important to note, however, that the long-term implications for this policy change are unknown.
As the economy recovers and more money is available to the school, the board would be well-advised to revisit the policy to ensure our universities can remain nationally competitive in the area of senior administration, while still holding retreating administrators accountable.
We appreciate the hard work and dedication of our administrators. However, as the UNC system grapples with severe budget cuts and tuition hikes, students and the state have had a hard time justifying paying for generous leave benefits.
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