The University of California Board of Regents on Thursday approved average 16 percent raises for four chancellors and hired a fifth at a 24 percent increase, amid discussions about increasing compensation across the board for its 10 campus leaders.
“Our chancellors have not had raises for years,” and they are paid far less than leaders of large public universities in other states, UC President Janet Napolitano said during a board meeting in San Francisco.
“The notion that we can continue to be so far off-market and still attract who we want as chancellors” is wrong, she said. “This is going to hurt the university in the long term if we don’t take corrective action.”
The board agreed to take steps over the next several years to raise the compensation packages for UC chancellors, which it said are in the bottom third compared to peer institutions, starting with salary bumps for the four lowest-paid campus leaders in the system.
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UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland and UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal both received 20 percent raises to a $383,160 base salary. UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox’s annual pay jumped 5.1 percent to $383,160, and UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Henry Yang was given a 20 percent salary boost to $389,340.
Howard Gillman, who was approved as the sixth chancellor of UC Irvine, also received a 23.7 percent raise over his predecessor. He will earn $485,000 in base salary, plus an $8,916 annual automobile allowance and a university-provided house, among other benefits.
Regent Bonnie Reiss credited a lack of competitive pay with other public universities for the departure of Gillman’s predecessor, Michael V. Drake, who took over as president of The Ohio State University in July.
The raises are “still not enough for your remarkable leadership and your value,” Reiss said.
The board also approved a recommendation to consider salary adjustments for the chancellors annually and agreed to come up with a plan in the next six months to address “internal inconsistencies” between them.
Before the vote on Gillman, Napolitano praised him for appreciating “the entrepreneurial spirit and bold ambition embodied by the UCI campus.”
Gillman was hired from the University of Southern California last year to be UC Irvine’s provost and executive vice chancellor. He had been serving as interim chancellor since Drake left this summer.
The chancellor raises were part of an agenda item that included six other salary increases and incentive compensations, all of which were approved.
After a lengthy discussion, the board tabled a recommendation that would have removed regent oversight of large contracts for coaches and other athletic staff so the UC president or chancellors could move more quickly on hiring decisions and raises.
Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom raised strong objections to the proposed change, calling it a “solution in search of a problem.” He noted that it was coming amid concerns over a lack of attention to academic performance on some major UC sports teams.
“I’m not willing to ... cede – until I’m confident the culture has changed – that oversight and responsibility of something so fundamental to the values of this university,” he said.