In the span of less than 30 minutes, the Board of Trustees proposed, discussed and approved a 5 percent salary increase and a $32,500 performance bonus for USF President Judy Genshaft. Genshaft makes $342,720 dollars annually; the increase will bring that number up to $359,856.It marks the second such salary increase in less than 10 months.
The Florida Legislature will only pay up to $225,000 of a university president’s salary. The USF Foundation raises private funds from throughout the community to pay for various university needs. It will most likely make up the $134,856 difference.
Prior to the vote, BOT chairman Dick Beard presented a list of what he called highlights – some of Genshaft’s achievements over the past year. It included obtaining $53.9 million in fund-raising, building new relationships with University Community Hospital and the Pepin Heart Institute and raising the average SAT scores of students accepted to USF by 26 points.
“I think that Judy’s doing an outstanding job. I think the students believe she is, I think the faculty believes she is, I know the community believes she is and I definitely believe she is,” Beard said.
Student body President and BOT member Maxon Victor did not vote in favor of the raise. He felt the students would not understand the reasoning for the raise because there has not been enough visible progress. He expressed, at the end of the meeting, that although he and other trustees know that Genshaft is doing a good job, the student body doesn’t.
“If it was up to the student body, I know she wouldn’t receive it,” Victor said. “I couldn’t say that I supported the voters or the raise because it has to show for us.”
Victor stated that clearer lines of communication need to be drawn so the student body can better understand the pay increase and what Genshaft is doing for the school.
“If I can see the president doing a good job, that’s good, but the student body needs to see it,” Victor said.
The students themselves had mixed views.
Junior Jason Green said that there are plenty of other things that the money could be better spent on.
“I’m not really for it,” he said.Freshman Emily Niblett agreed.
“I think the school definitely needs more work,” she said.
The response to the news of the raise was not all negative, however.
“If the school’s standard of education has improved and if she’s surpassed some of her goals, then why not give her a raise?” freshman Chelsea Newberry said.
Genshaft expressed excitement and gratitude about receiving the raise and bonus. She said that last year she gave her bonus back to the school, but she hasn’t made any plans yet as to what she’ll be doing with this one.