The Daily Tar Heel
Printing news. Raising hell. Since 1893.
Friday, Dec. 1, 2023 Newsletters Latest print issue

We keep you informed.

Help us keep going. Donate Today.
The Daily Tar Heel

No pay raise: Increased pay for UNC-system president not necessary

Members of one of the committees helping to find outbound UNC-system President Erskine Bowles’ replacement want the next system president to make substantially more than any of the system’s chancellors.

Proponents of the wage increase cite the fact that many public university systems pay their presidents more. Bowles took home $478,291, plus benefits and use of a house, in 2008-09.

The highest paid chancellor, UNC-Chapel Hill’s Holden Thorp, brought home $418,150.

While the idea of a salary increase sounds nice, the fact of the matter is that the position of UNC-system president is an occupation of public service.

Money shouldn’t play a major role in this hiring process, and therefore a substantial raise would be unnecessary and quite wasteful.

Individuals applying for the job do not typically do so with the intention of making money. If a qualified individual views the position’s salary as the sole incentive to apply, then they have the wrong motive and shouldn’t be hired.

This is one of the first decisions the search committee must make before continuing to look for the UNC system’s future leader.

“I can’t conceive us considering compensation that would be less than a chancellor makes,” said Board of Governors member Frank Daniels, Jr. last week.

Daniels makes a good point. However, the ultra-political position of UNC-system president comes with an entirely different set of responsibilities than that of a university chancellor.

And to say that a higher salary is deserved because the job of UNC-system president is more burdensome is a bit of a stretch.

Currently, Barack Obama, president of the United States, makes $400,000 in salary annually. That is $78,291 less than Bowles.

On top of all of that, the UNC system is not in a good financial position to make large administrative raises.

We shouldn’t make the new UNC-system president search all about the Benjamins.

In order to find the right replacement for Bowles, the search committee needs to find qualified prospects who are interested in serving and working for the betterment of our education system.

Increasing the UNC-system president’s salary is contradictory to that mission.

To get the day's news and headlines in your inbox each morning, sign up for our email newsletters.