With Tom Devine as its newest member, the University of Minnesota’s Board of Regents must move forward by addressing administrative compensation packages. Starting April 26, the board will convene a new committee to do just that.
The concern over executive compensation packages has haunted the University’s administration for years, with much criticism and little change. Earlier this year, the Minnesota Daily voiced this concern when outgoing athletics director Joel Maturi received what many have called a golden parachute. The state Legislature and now the Board of Regents have also expressed angst over pay packages for administrators on leave from the University. Many eventually return to faculty posts but are granted administrative salaries while on sabbatical.
While pay packages remain a concern, University administration has also become bloated over the past decade. Since 2001, administrative positions have increased by 52 percent while overall employment has risen only 11 percent. The notion of running the University like a business clearly hasn’t helped its efficiency.
The lack of attention to rising administrative costs is often defended by the need to attract and retain top talent at a time when public funding for the University is waning. This argument fails to note the sacrifices made by many talented, non-administrative employees over the past few years. Like the many concerns raised on campus in recent years, administrative pay packages and bureaucratic largesse must also be understood through the lens of rising tuition and overall costs to students and families. As college costs continue to increase, the Board of Regents must scrutinize pay at the top.
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