'Substantial' salary for new UI president sends e-mails, opinions flying on campus

URBANA – In light of furloughs, layoffs, tuition increases and program cuts, a 37 percent increase in the University of Illinois president's salary didn't exactly go over well on campus.

Reaction was swift to the news that Michael Hogan, the incoming UI president, will receive a base salary of $620,000 a year, plus $225,000 in deferred compensation after five years.

"It seems high, given the extraordinary financial pressure that we've been told the university is under," said Professor Harriett Murav, a leader in the Campus Faculty Association.

UI officials characterized it as a slight pay cut for Hogan, who was entitled to a total of $745,000 in total compensation this year as president of the University of Connecticut but turned part of it down because of that university's budget problems.

Hogan earns a lower base salary at UConn, $577,500, but also receives annual retention bonuses, bringing his current compensation to $615,000, said university spokesman Michael Kirk. Hogan turned down a 5 percent pay raise this year, and $100,000 incentive bonuses each of the last two years, because of the university's budget problems, Kirk said. He would have been eligible for more than $750,000 next year.

At the UI, in addition to his $620,000 annual salary, Hogan will accrue annual retention bonuses starting at $30,000 the first year, $37,500 the second, $45,000 the third, $52,500 the fourth, and $60,000 the fifth – a total of $225,000, UI spokesman Thomas Hardy said.

Former UI President B. Joseph White and interim President Stanley Ikenberry received $450,000 annually, although Ikenberry's pay is prorated because he will hold that job for less than a year.

Professor Joyce Tolliver, chair of the campus faculty-student senate, said Hogan's salary was the subject of e-mail traffic on campus Wednesday.

"I think a salary that substantial is a heavy responsibility," Tolliver said.

Ikenberry and other top UI officials said the reaction is understandable, but said they wanted to attract the best possible candidate for the UI and had to pay market rates to get him.

The total compensation package for Hogan falls in the middle of the Big Ten, behind Ohio State and Michigan and alongside Minnesota and Penn State, Ikenberry said. And it's far below what private schools are paying, a gap that's widening each year, said Trustee Pamela Strobel, who chaired the presidential search committee.

"I do not in any way think it's excessive or unjustified," Strobel said. "It's the world we live in. It's not the world we've created."

The presidents of Northwestern and the University of Chicago receive close to $900,000, Hardy noted. E. Gordon Gee, president of Ohio State University, tops the Big Ten with a $1.5 million package. And the president at Michigan earns close to $750,000.

"We're getting the best guy available and we're not paying top dollar," board of trustees Chairman Chris Kennedy said.

Murav suggested the university could have brought Hogan in at a lower salary the first year and raised it in later years of his contract – "some arrangement that recognizes the sense of crisis that has been imposed upon us."

"We would have preferred that. But we may not have been able to get him," Strobel said, though she would not say whether that offer was made.

"He will earn every penny of his salary, I'm certain of that," Strobel said.

"That's the market. It's not unlike athletics or anywhere else where we have to pay competitive salaries to attract and keep the very best people," she said.

A private sector CEO with a $4 billion corporation and 28,000 employees would earn much more, Hardy said.

"I'm shocked they're paying him so much money. That's running education like a business rather than a public school," said UI sophomore Ben Rothschild, member of the Undergraduate-Graduate Coalition.

"People are very insecure in this economy. He's going to be very comfortable. It seems kind of hypocritical in this environment."

Murav said the salary is surprising in light of the proposed 9.5 percent tuition increase for new students next year, "in light of the fact that we were furloughed, that staff, academic professionals and teaching assistant positions have been cut, that they're pushing for these voluntary retirements that are going to shrink our staff."

"We are looking at limits to accessibility when we raise tuition. We are looking at a chilling effect on the applicant pool. People will not apply, people will not permit their children to apply if they think it's too expensive," said Murav, professor of Slavic languages and literatures and comparative and world literature.

Overall, Murav said she was pleased that trustees chose someone who "is an existing university president, that he's not a corporate hire, that it's someone in the humanities."

Robert Rich, director of the UI's Institute for Government and Public Affairs, said Hogan's "outstanding credentials" warranted his salary.

"I think faculty are likely to think we needed to give this man a competitive salary in order to attract him," he said. "I'm very pleased to attract someone of his caliber. It bodes well for the future of the University of Illinois."

Graduate student Peter Campbell, until recently communications director for the Graduate Employees Organization, said it's important to be able to attract top-quality administrators, but "for somebody committed to excellence at a public institution, that $600,000 shouldn't be something that's necessary to bring that person over."

"The university needs to be moving in the direction of prioritizing teaching and research in terms of its funding, and not increasing the size of administrative salaries – especially when other comparable institutions are looking at decreasing administrative salaries," Campbell said.

Student body president David Olsen noted that the salary is "significantly higher" than what previous UI presidents were paid.

"My initial reaction is that it seems pretty high, but I'd definitely like to see the full package and see the reasoning behind it," he said.

"There's been a lot of pain for students and employees of the university," he said. "Some members of the community were already concerned about administrative salaries before this occurred. That can only heighten that concern."

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IrregularReader wrote on May 13, 2010 at 10:05 am

Wow. Another old, white male to be UI president. His portrait will fit right in with all the other paintings of all the other old, white males who have served as president. I guess balding has to be a job requirement, too.

Wenalway wrote on May 13, 2010 at 11:05 am

The usual non-argument. When is someone going to bring up the Chief in one of these threads? Now that's entertainment!

TheScholar wrote on May 13, 2010 at 11:05 am

Actually, considering the cost of living in Connecticut compared to Champaign-Urbana, Illinois, I think the new president 's "pay cut" is an oxymoron.

randyandjoy1 wrote on May 13, 2010 at 12:05 pm

People, Why the surprise? The rich always get richer. The Super Wealthy Rich are all libs. Every single one. Can you say, "hypocrite?"

It is a paradox how the conservatives are pegged the party of the rich when the Super Wealthy are all flaming libs. Facts. Don't attack the messenger when the mesaage is unassailable.

In this case, this is, of course, ridiculous. That is a given. For what this guys actually DOES beyond being a figure-head for a picture this is highway robbery. But aren't they all. You pay professors there in C-U six figures which is likewise of the same category. 6 figures for a few hours a week of actual work while a guy digging a ditch and raising a family of 3 in C-U makes $8 an hour and HAS to rely on food stamps?

I'll say it slower, "Can you say hypocrite?"

Enough said, now attack me or the message. Oh, the message is unassailable. Watch...proof will be in your own self-made pudding after you read this. Which will it be? The message is wrong? Can't attack it. He said the truth. There are professors making six figures while ditch diggers make $8 hr so, guess what, the messenger is correct and we are hypocrites? Yes you is?

Mike wrote on May 13, 2010 at 7:05 pm

Well, to be fair, people that choose careers as professors have to go to school and get two or (usually) three college degrees. It's not their fault that the ditch digger didn't go to college.

And after going to school for all that time, starting assistant professors make more like $50,000 or $60,000 a year--hardly six figures. This is mildly interesting especially when you consider that every local unionized construction worker I know brags about making six figures after only going through a union apprenticeship. That's fair.

Don't get me wrong--I completely disagree with paying this new President the money they are paying him considering all else that is going on at the University of Illinois.

But putting the blame on the faculty is misplaced. And no, I'm not a member of the faculty and do not have a Ph.D.

Just sayin'.

Wenalway wrote on May 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm

Your "message" can be knocked down very quickly. Digging a ditch is not skilled labor, and it should not be compensated as such. One of the biggest employment problems in Illinois, Indiana, and Michigan was the overpayment of unskilled laborers, who then convinced generations they needed to develop few or no skills.
That being said, the UI president should be paid less.

RamaSita wrote on May 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm

Another disappointing decision by the UI. I know nothing of his record, so I cannot speak to their choosing him versus any other applicant, but as for the price tag that comes attached, that is a far different matter.

Yes, faculty, staff, students, and the community have a right to be concerned about such a lofty salary. How they can afford to pay him such an amount when they are still paying salaries to the criminals who orchestrated the admissions scandal really gives testament to the financial irresponsibility the school has cloaked itself in. Oh yes, a tuition increase here, a furlough there, a few layoffs and firings thrown in for good measure, and you've got it.

Many staff members have watched the debits from their pay continue to rise (parking, medical, etc...) and silently suffer as their paltry 2% annual (if that) pay increase fails to keep up. Of course this doesn't apply to the heads or managers of the department who magically find other resources to reward themselves with larger increases.

As they say, that's a whole lot of cheddar. Judging by the photo that accompanies this story, the mouse is very pleased.

sweetbisa wrote on May 13, 2010 at 1:05 pm

According to Sterling's best places (bestplaces.net) a $745,000 salary in Storrs, CT is equivalent to $579,876 salary in Urbana, IL. Pay cut, indeed.

UIUCHoopFan wrote on May 13, 2010 at 2:05 pm

So......$620,000 is the going rate for an ax man these days, replete with $225,000 golden retention parachute. Let the chopping of the lower level functionaries begin!

Daxndata wrote on May 13, 2010 at 3:05 pm

Does everyone realize that this man makes more in one month than most people make in a year? Over $50K per MONTH!. To all those with the university that try to justify this disgusting action, I say: " BULL!" You did create this world by participating in the excessive pay for top officials. I DARE you to prove and document this man actually EARNING every penny of his salary. This man did not come here because of his high regards for the school OR the community. He came here because of the money. Would he do it for minimum wage? Of course not.

Bottom line is that the university made another HUGE mistake in paying SO much for SO little. Forget what the other schools are doing and pay the guy $200K...Max. If he does not like it I am sure there are many others out there that would. And yes, QUALIFIED for the job. You folks that waste so much of the taxpayers (and college students) money make me sick and it is time for this reckless behavior to stop!

goat_theory wrote on May 13, 2010 at 10:05 pm

First a $450k contract extension to teach "highly qualified for their salary" leaders how to be leaders. That is, until the N-G shone the light of day on it and the UI leadership scurried away from that one.
Now almost $200k more for Dr. Hogan than his predecessors.
It all smacks of "let them eat cake" to me.
I am really happy that the 5% of my salary I forfeited this year went to such worthy causes. Funny, we were told it was a cash crunch.

nevadallen2 wrote on May 13, 2010 at 11:05 pm

It has been and now continues to be quite clear to those of us who are being realistic, that universities are essentially mini Wall Streets, where the rich dare you to do anything about the abuse of funding. There are no salary caps and no boundaries. The University of Illinois should be a leader among leaders as an institution, not by hiring "competitively" but by setting a new standard through refusing to pay such an exorbitant amount to one individual. The U of I should be the first to say that such a wasteful salary is exactly the type of practice that lead us into this mess. It's beyond insult or even injury with all the cuts and loss that have happened, and clearly all the cuts and loss that are going to continue.

For over $600K a year, I would rather pay a team of our economics professors to come up with the "master plan" than pave the way for folks who clearly are leading us further into a colossal Wall Street destruction. The U of I no longer deserves to ask for money from the state. I work for the U of I, and don't wish to contribute to Mr. Hogan's salary any more than I already have to Mr. Herman's and Mr. White's. We are furloughed to keep the rich richer and keep ourselves in panic. UI employees and tax payers alike should consider a law suit for misrepresentation. This is absolutely taxation without representation, it's just called by different terms.

Kel103 wrote on May 20, 2010 at 4:05 pm

I just googled how much the president of the United States makes, and it is less than this. SOMETHING IS WRONG HERE. I hope someone from the U of I is reading all these comments and recognizing that this community is disgusted by this mans salary.

Stephanie03 wrote on May 24, 2010 at 11:05 pm

Why are these people getting paid so much and the rest of us so little? That's a crazy salary (and bonus) for a government job in a state that is broke and didn't do this years pension fund contribution for workers.

Stephanie,
Your Forex Robot enthusiast