Faculty Senate to focus on salary increases

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Nick LaRowe said salary increases are Faculty Senate’s number one goal at this year’s budget hearing.

The next round of hearings is scheduled for March 24 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in Mitchell Auditorium. LaRowe, the chair of Faculty Senate, will present his budget requests followed by Nita Musich, the chair of Staff Council, and the chair of Administrative Senate Larry Back.

LaRowe said the senate is asking for an increase in funding for three areas: salaries, tuition benefits and travel, with salaries being the most important area.

“The salary increases are a clear first,” he said. “We will probably just give them a more specific number as it relates to what we are asking for.”

LaRowe will be asking for a 3 percent increase.

The senate is also asking for an increase in tuition benefits for spouses and dependents of university employees.

Spouses and dependents only receive a 75 percent tuition waiver under the current policy.

LaRowe said the senate will also be asking for an increase in travel funding.

“Going to meetings is very expensive,” he said. “If you get $900 per year, you get maybe one meeting that’s compensated,” LaRowe said. “The money goes away really quickly and so we would like to have more conferences you can go to, because it helps your researching and networking and things like that.”

University President Linda Bennett gave the University Overview Friday. She said her executive team is making increases in salaries a priority for next year’s budget.

“We are always looking at salaries,” she said. “My priority as I have talked to the executive team is on salaries over benefits. I think salaries drive the immediate needs that our employees have. The first priority is to increase salaries over increasing benefits.”

Bennett said the budget allots for a $745,000 increase in overall salary money. This would be less than last year’s increase, which was $1.1 million.

“This is something you don’t just fix in a year,” she said. “In fact it’s always ongoing.”

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