For administrators and trustees, the decision to propose increasing tuition by 15.6 percent for in-state students came down to the financial needs of faculty, whose salaries have been frozen for three years.
UNC administrators have long stressed the dire situation of departments that find their faculty leaving for other schools. For trustees, that concern outweighed concerns for the future of the University’s affordability.
A proposal by Student Body President Mary Cooper to postpone the Board of Trustees’ decision to December was voted down after Chancellor Holden Thorp said administrators would need the time to lobby the state legislature for salary increases.
“Students and families are our last resort for revenue,” Thorp told trustees. “We have, unfortunately, reached the point of last resort.”
Bruce Carney, executive vice chancellor and provost, said the expected $15 million increase in tuition revenue will make faculty more hopeful for the future.
“The University’s future is more than courses,” Carney told the board. “It is faculty.”
But plans to lobby for faculty pay increases might not pay off. Rep. Hugh Blackwell, R-Burke, who is co-chairman of the N.C. House Appropriations Subcommittee on Education, said a pay increase for UNC faculty is out of the question.
“I don’t think we will give increases to UNC-Chapel Hill, when we don’t give increases to anybody else in the state. I don’t think the legislature is going to play favorites,” he said.
“The faculty at Chapel Hill are already among some of the highest people paid in the state.”