KSU faculty call for halt on administrator raises

K-State

MANHATTAN, Kan. (AP) — Faculty members at Kansas State University are seeking an improvement in their salaries, which they say are the lowest among their peer institutions and the Big 12 Conference.

Faculty Senate President Julia Keen plans to present a resolution to administrators Tuesday that asks for a moratorium on pay increases for upper administrators and on the creation of new administrative positions until salaries improve for faculty and staff. The faculty overwhelmingly approved the resolution Thursday.

Kansas State’s peer institutions are North Carolina State, Clemson, Iowa State, Auburn, Colorado State, Oklahoma State and Oregon State. Auburn, the median of the peer group, has an average faculty salary of $82,941. Kansas State’s average faculty salary is $73,810, The Manhattan Mercury reports (http://bit.ly/YQQLlW ).

A petition signed by more than 25 faculty members prompted Thursday’s general faculty meeting, which Keen said was a first in her 10 years at Kansas State.

Faculty members also are asking for implementation of Faculty Senate task reports on how to increase faculty salaries and attract and retain staff.

Those at the meeting also discussed ways to enforce the resolution.

Lisa Tatonetti, an associate professor of English, said the faculty “needs to make noise to make change” and move the administration out of its comfort zone.

“I wonder why we’re not talking about unionizing,” she said. “I wonder why we’re not talking about protesting.”

Economics department head Bill Blankenau voted against the resolution, saying it sent the wrong message.

He said the call to freeze administrators’ salaries was “counterproductive.”

“I don’t see how that’s going to bring about our goals,” he said.

Keen said she will present the resolution to President Kirk Schulz Tuesday and any steps after that will depend on the administration’s response.

“If they move forward with a good plan, there’s nothing to do but say thanks,” she said.

Schulz and Provost April Mason said in a joint statement before Thursday’s meeting that the administration is working on a three-year salary plan, with most of the investment going to faculty and staff.

They also said the average professor at Kansas State made $104,384 in 2011-12, sixth among peer institutions.

“Given the budget environment we have been in for the past five years, we are proud of the progress made,” they said.

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Information from: The Manhattan (Kan.) Mercury, http://www.themercury.com

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