November 5, 2015

There used to be a song that had this line. “Backfield in motion, baby. I’m going to have to penalize you, ooo, ooo, ooo”.

It’s time somebody threw a penalty flag on the UNC Board of Governors. Meeting in secret, the News and Observer reports the Board approved secret pay raises for Chancellors ranging from 7% to 47% with the average raise being 25%. Question. Has anybody noticed a vacancy in these $300,000, $400,000 and $500,000 jobs?

Here’s what the News and Observer said about the views of one Associate Professor of History at Appalachian State. “Michael C. Behrent, associate professor of history at Appalachian State University, said faculty haven’t seen meaningful raises even as tuition and administrative bloat have increased on campuses. The student debt crisis in the United States is partly due to rapidly escalating salaries of administrators, he said.

“While I think it’s abhorrent and terrible, I would want to hide this if I were a Board of Governor, too,” Behrent said. “Their lack of transparency makes sense because they have every reason to be ashamed of the decisions that they’re making.”

In January, the Board gave Fayetteville State Chancellor James Anderson an $85,000 raise, a 35% hike.

Weeks later, FSU slapped students with cost increases in the wake of falling enrollment .

Perish the thought the bigwigs would cut themselves.

The big salaries the UNC Board is handing out in secret are part of a national trend. Forbes recently reported “The Chronicle survey suggests average total compensation of presidents rose on average about 7 percent, to over $428,000. By contrast, most Americans were lucky to pay their compensation rise by much more than half that much.”

And who does the Board of Governors think is paying these lavish pay packages the Board arrives at in secret? The taxpayers. The parents paying tuition and the students going deeper in debt every year to pay for rising tuition costs.

Here’s a suggestion. It’s time for our leaders in the General Assembly to throw a penalty flag on the UNC Board. They need more oversight instead of being left to their own devices.

Why not have them report to a Legislative Committee once a month about how they are choosing to spend the people’s money? Perhaps a little government in the sunshine will disinfect the arrogant behavior we see on the UNC Board.