Tuesday, October 20, 2009

How Administrators Took Over the University of California

Another excellent piece by Bob Samuels. If you want to understand higher budget mischief in general and, more specifically, what went awry with the UC system, you can't do better than by following Bob's blog, Changing Universities.

In the UC system, we have a saying, "When two administrators walk into a room, three always walk out." The question then is how do administrators reproduce and what effect does their reproduction have on the University of California. While I will not describe the mating habits of administrators, I will show how the growing rise of the administrative class means less money for everyone else, higher student fees, and a loss of shared governance.

According to a 2008 UCLA Faculty Association report, "Over the past decade, the numbers of Administrators in the UC almost doubled, while the number of faculty increased by 25%. The sharpest growth took place among Executives and Senior Managers: 114%. Because Administrators command high salaries and benefits, any increase in their number higher than the expected growth rate for the University results in high costs: rough estimates of the costs of carrying extra administrators at UC range around $800 million."

 The first thing to stress here is that during the last decade, as the number of students increased in the UC system, there were fewer faculty to teach them, but many more administrators to run the show. In this structure, power shifts to the administrative class, while the faculty are pushed out of shared governance. Moreover, due to their high compensation packages, administrators suck up the funds that could be spent on faculty salaries and wages for the lowest paid workers.

As I pointed out in a previous post, "In 2008, there were 397 administrators in the over 200k club making a total of $109 million, and in 2006, the same group had 214 members for a collective gross pay of $58.8 million. This group and its collective salaries, then, almost doubled in just two years." Not only has the administrative class grown in numbers and the percentage of the budget they consume through their salaries, but during the current period of "fiscal emergency," we have seen several million dollars spent on increased compensation for administrators.

UPTE has documented that during the same regents meeting where a fiscal emergency was declared and the furlough system was approved, hundreds of administrators got compensation increases,
which came under the form of administrative stipends, supplementary retirement contributions, houses, low-interest mortgages, automobile allowances, slush funds, airfare (for non work-related travel), relocation expenses, and salary-range adjustments (for a detailed list of all of the increases, click here). Thus, while President Yudof says there have been no salary raises, he is not mentioning all of the different ways that administrators are being compensated. Moreover, these highly compensated individuals are only having their base pay reduced by the furlough system, and so the majority of their compensation is not being taxed.

One of the most egregious examples of how administrators end up costing the university so much money is the hiring of the new Chancellor at UC Davis. Linda Katehi's salary is not only 27% higher than her predecessor, but the outgoing chancellor will be paid $315,000 per year, while he will be on administrative leave. The former chancellor will also get a new executive assistant, who will make over $91,000 (not including benefits). In other words, by getting a new chancellor, UC Davis will have to spend an additional half a million dollars a year.

Let's remember that these incredible compensation deals are being made during a time when the UC president says we have no money so we will have to all take pay cuts and students fees will have to go up 42% in one year. It should be obvious to anyone that UC does not have a budget crisis; it has a crisis in leadership.

Things you can do from here:

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