No raise for UI President Sally Mason

BY TESSA McLEAN | MARCH 2, 2009 7:30 AM

UI President Sally Mason will not receive a bonus or raise because of the proposed extensive UI budget cuts, officials recently announced.

Mason’s salary will remain at $450,000 for fiscal 2010. She also won’t get the $80,000 bonus she was expected to receive for the end of fiscal 2009.

Leaders at other regent schools across the state — such Iowa State University, University of Northern Iowa, and the schools for the deaf and blind — will also forgo performance bonuses this fiscal year and raises for fiscal 2010.

“In my personal opinion, I think even if the regents had not asked, President Mason would have done it anyway,” UI Provost Wallace Loh said. “It is leadership by example. Once the president sets the example, then I think vice presidents and deans may very well want to follow that example.”

The savings from the salary cut itself will have very little effect on overall UI budget savings, he said, but not giving the raise is “symbolic” of what needs to be done in an economic crisis.

If Gov. Chet Culver’s proposed budget cuts are approved the regents could see a 9 percent budget cut from last year, or $62 million less in state appropriations. This would mean a $26 million cut for the UI.

Regents did not return calls seeking comment Sunday, but Regent President David Miles released a statement Feb. 27 saying the decision was a joint conclusion by the regents and institutional leaders.

“This is a tremendous undertaking, and I applaud the institutions for their initiative, creativity, and quick turnaround in responding to this difficult task,” Miles wrote. “The Board of Regents offers its sincere thanks to its institutional leaders for their additional contribution to their institutions, their personal recognition of the needs of the state, and their fine example of the importance of an individual response to the state’s fiscal challenges.”

Linda Maxson, the dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences, announced to the Faculty Assembly last week that officials are also considering furloughs, among other options, to cut spending. A hiring freeze, downsizing programs, and suspending travel are additional options.
UI freshman Jason Zeman said he thinks all UI officials should take pay cuts.

“I think it would really help and Mason is doing the right thing,” the physics major said. “Truman State University in my hometown [ Kirksville, Mo.] is doing it, and everyone is taking a cut.”
Loh said ultimately, savings like these could save university positions.

“We want to do anything we can,” Loh said. “We will take any small cutbacks we can to save the jobs of our colleagues.”

This is the second year in a row Mason has not received a raise. Regents denied her a raise last year because of the UI’s mishandling of an alleged Hillcrest sexual-assault case. Mason was not available for comment Sunday.

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