UMD faculty express "disappointment" over U of M President's retirement earnings in letter to the Board of Regents
On Sept. 12, two faculty members at UMD wrote a letter to the University of Minnesota Board of Regents regarding U of M President Eric Kaler’s compensation package which was given to him last month by the board.
The board has granted President Kaler an extra year of salary as president emeritus, as well as funds to go towards his retirement. Kaler is to step down as president in July 2019.
Scott Laderman, president of the University Education Association (UEA), and professor at UMD, expressed his concern about the payment awarded to Kaler.
“The University of Minnesota has recently been employing a salary model in which highly-paid administrators and top coaches are ensured "market rate" salaries while the faculty at UMD fall behind,” Laderman said over email. “According to data compiled for the Regents, our salaries are only 87 percent of their market median. While this is not solely attributable to high executive pay, the excessive compensation packages we're seeing for administrators and top coaches are extremely frustrating when our own pleas for fair compensation continue to be met with silence.”
Laderman also explained how uncompetitive salaries are causing UMD to lose faculty members as well as the UMD campus directly being affected by underfunding.
“At UMD, just about the whole campus is suffering,” Laderman said over email. “Academic programs are being cut or curtailed while faculty and staff are losing their jobs. These are real people who have often served this institution for many years. They deserve better.”
Laderman made it clear that faculty expressing concern over salary is not a new issue. Laderman feels it is an issue that needs to be addressed sooner than later to prevent further cutback to programs, departments and faculty at UMD.
According to Rebecca de Souza, associate professor and UMD Faculty Senate chair, budget cuts have been forcing varying academic programs to combine that often “don’t make sense academically between disciplines.”
“The mission of UMD is to provide a comprehensive liberal education, so these mergers take us away from our mission and we are less robust as a college,” de Souza said over email.
Another area of UMD’s academics that is being harmed, according to de Souza, is the research, scholarship, and creative activities funds that give students the chance to research academic fields and gain experience within their discipline.
“Overall, this means that faculty and students are being shortchanged and denied opportunities to grow and thrive,” de Souza said over email.
De Souza feels that these basic “structures are inequitable” and denying students these opportunities does not enable diversity, social justice and equity among our campus.