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The Daily Tar Heel

Some UNC administrators want to raise faculty salaries from increased tuition revenue

Funding would come out of tuition increases

Administrators will consider devoting a portion of revenue generated from the 2011-12 tuition increase to raising salaries for faculty, who haven’t seen increases in several years as a result of financial cutbacks.

Salaries of state employees have been frozen by the state since early 2009. Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Bruce Carney has proposed allocating about $2.5 million of the approximately $15 million in tuition revenue toward raising salaries for faculty members on a merit basis.

Increasing salaries could prove unpopular among students and legislators as the state faces serious budget concerns, and the measure would require approval by the UNC-system Board of Governors and N.C. General Assembly, which might not approve the action. But Carney said he would like to at least propose the measure.

“The most important thing is it transmits a message that we as a University understand that they have gone without a raise for that long,” he said. Typically, salaries are at least adjusted to reflect the rising cost of living in an area, but this has not been the case under the salary freeze.

The measure would need approval because the University currently cannot raise salaries except in the case of promotions, an increase of duties or in a retention case — instances in which UNC challenges a competing offer from another school.

Under the proposal, the total amount of state funding allocated to faculty salaries would be increased by one percent using tuition revenue, said Dwayne Pinkney, associate provost for financial and academic planning, who has helped Carney plan some of the financial aspects of the proposal.

Deans of the individual colleges would likely allow departments to determine which faculty members would receive raises generated from the one-percent increase. The merit-based raise would vary by individual and would include fixed-term and junior faculty members, Carney said.

“It would be just enough to not appease some people and annoy others,” Carney said at Friday’s meeting of the tuition and fee advisory task force.

The task force has not yet decided on a tuition recommendation, but is currently considering a 6.5 percent increase for all students, the maximum currently allowed for undergraduate residents. But the board is re-visiting the cap this year.

The task force, headed by Carney, will meet again Nov. 11 before providing Chancellor Holden Thorp with a recommendation in anticipation of the November Board of Trustees meeting.

With changes in the state legislature likely to come from Tuesday’s election, potential changes to the tuition cap and up to $54 million in budget cuts, administrators have said November tuition discussions must be considered in context.

“Even the operations of the University at this point are at risk. But I can’t solve that with a 6.5 percent cap with tuition increases,” Carney said. “That’s why I’m focusing this discussion on what we can do that we know the legislature won’t do, like faculty salaries.”

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