July 17, 2019

Administration bonuses outweigh faculty pay increases

The president and provost received raises despite the faculty’s agreement for a zero percent increase for 2018-19.

Webster University President Beth Stroble and Provost Julian Schuster received a percentage increase in compensation more than six times the rate faculty received in 2017 according to newly released tax documents.

Stroble received a 9.83 percent increase in total compensation. Schuster’s increase totaled 25.39 percent. Faculty received a 1.5 percent pay increase for the 2017-2018 academic year.

Faculty Senate President Gary Renz said the administration’s salary increases worried him.

“This inequity harms morale and adversely affects the faculty’s perception of the president’s and provost’s leadership,” Renz said.

Renz questioned why the president and provost accepted the bonuses during the financial situation the university faced and still faces. Renz said he asked the president and provost how the Board of Trustees calculates the bonuses, but they refused to tell him.

The Journal emailed Director of Public Relations Patrick Giblin about the approval process for administration bonuses. Giblin denied a request for comment.

The 2017 bonuses came during a $14 million operating deficit for fiscal year (FY) 2016-2017. Webster had a $18.7 million operating deficit one year later, the largest to date.

“The president’s and provost’s compensation do not appear to be tied to Webster’s financial performance,” Renz said.

Webster’s total revenue decreased by more than $30 million from FY 2015-2016 to FY 2017-2018.

The Faculty Senate’s Salary and Fringe Benefits Committee agreed on a zero percent raise for academic year 2018-2019 under the assumption the administration would share the same sacrifice.

Renz said the committee made no official agreement with the president and provost. Instead, the committee asked the administration to not accept a raise in exchange for the faculty’s zero percent pay increase.

The president’s and provost’s salaries vary by calendar year, not academic year. Renz said administrators may have already accepted a salary increase for 2018 before the faculty negotiations for 2018-2019.

Student Government Association (SGA) Sergeant-at-Arms David Gunderson said SGA suffered budget cuts the past two years. The president’s and provost’s 2017 bonuses were the highest in six years.

Gunderson said he feared SGA’s budget will see cuts again for the 2019-2020 school year. He said he worried most about the allocations for the student grant fund and the programming pool.

Gunderson said SGA’s operations still ran effectively this year despite the budget cuts.

The Faculty Senate sent a letter to the Board of Trustees last spring out of concern for Webster’s financial deficits. Renz said he did not believe the letter will affect the Board of Trustees’ future decisions to approve or disapprove raises for administrators.

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