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WHY A PAY RAISE IS IN ORDER FOR UTAH COLLEGE PRESIDENTS

SHARE WHY A PAY RAISE IS IN ORDER FOR UTAH COLLEGE PRESIDENTS

Many Utahns feel that most college and university presidents in the state are adequately paid - or even overpaid. So any proposal for a raise in salary is sure to cause controversy. Yet reasonable arguments can be made in behalf of such a pay boost.

A committee of the Board of Regents has drafted a proposal suggesting varying raises in presidential salaries up to 9 percent. The recommendations will be considered at the board's June 23 meeting.The 9 percent figure is not suggested across the board. Each school will be looked at individually. The nature of the campus and salary levels at comparable institutions will be taken into account.

One aim will be to bring the presidential salaries at three smaller communitycolleges closer together. Also, presidents of state institutions have not had a raise for four years.

In addition, if the gap between pay scales of Utah schools and other campuses grows too great, the state might face a radical pay raise in order to attract top candidates when a currently-serving president retires. The University of Idaho at Moscow recently had to raise the president's salary by $35,000 a year before it could attract quality candidates.

The presidents at Utah's nine state-run colleges and universities earn between $55,874 and $99,554, plus housing and other perquisites in some cases.

If a pay raise is approved, the biggest outcry may come over the salary of University of Utah President Chase Peterson, who is at the $99,000 level, some $40,000 more per year than the governor makes. A raise would put the U. post well over the $100,000 mark, the first time that has happened at any school in the state.

Though a $100,000-plus salary may outrage some Utahns, it is in line with salaries for presidents at other universities of similar size and reputation. And Peterson certainly earns his money. His is not an eight-hour-a-day, five-day-a-week job, but more like an 18-hour-a-day, often seven-day-a-week job.

There certainly will be arguments over how much pay is justified at Utah institutions, but after four years of dealing with financial adversity on their campuses, the presidents deserve some salary consideration.