CHAPEL HILL (Oct. 10, 2015) – University of North Carolina System President Tom Ross told a roomful of supporters Saturday that North Carolina’s public universities weathered the recession quite well — with one major exception.
“We’ve fallen behind in faculty salaries, and we’re falling farther behind,” Ross said. “We’ve got a problem there we have to address if we’re going to remain a great public university.”
Ross said that with limited exceptions, state raises for faculty across the university system have averaged about 1.5% over the last six years – a period when inflation has totaled over 10%. While some received additional increases, the vast majority of faculty have lost ground to inflation.
The state budget legislators adopted last month includes a one-time $750 bonus for state employees,1 but the bonus does nothing to raise base pay. It is the equivalent of $2.05 a day.
Ross’s remarks came as part of a panel sponsored by the UNC Program in the Humanities and Human Values. Speaking alongside UNC Chapel Hill Chancellor Carol Folt, Red Hat Vice President Michael Tiemann and several professors. Ross thanked North Carolina’s lawmakers and citizens for their strong support during difficult times.
“We’ve survived the last four or five years in better shape than most state universities,” he said. “But we have one glaring weakness.”
Most schools in the university system lag their national peers in faculty compensation, he said, making it hard to recruit and keep strong teachers in classrooms.
“We need to support not just our public school teachers, but all of our teachers,” Ross said.