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Genshaft up for pay raise

Chairman of the USF Board of Trustees Dick Beard has proposed a $16,320 raise for USF President Judy Genshaft. The BOT will hold a teleconference meeting Thursday at 2 p.m. to vote on the proposed raise. The raise would be a 5 percent increase from Genshaft’s current base salary of $326,400.

If approved by the BOT, the raise would come just more than two years after Genshaft received an $88,600 pay increase. This raise would come with a one-time $35,000 performance-based bonus.

The state Legislature decided shortly after Genshaft’s first raise in 2002 that they would pay a maximum of $225,000 to university presidents. USF had to come up with over $100,000 difference to pay for her first raise. If the new raise is passed, the USF Foundation will pay for the raise. The USF Foundation raises private funds throughout the community that can be used towards various causes.

“In some cases its used for whatever the university chooses,” Beard said.

Genshaft’s total salary, if the proposed raise is passed on Thursday, stands to be $342,720 annually, ranking her second among state university presidents in annual salary. University of Florida’s president Bernard Machen is the highest paid, making $375,000 annually.

“If we want to have the right people we’ve got to pay them more than the state allows us to,” Beard said. “We and all the other universities around the state do it the same way.”

There was a specific list of goals that Genshaft had to meet over the past year, of which she accomplished more than 80 percent.

“It is my view that President Genshaft gets an ‘A’ on everything she’s doing at the university,” Beard said.

The news of the raise has met with varied responses among students.

“The school should probably have better priorities than giving her a raise,” said Abby Collens, USF senior.

The students cited that tuition has risen — 15 percent for out-of-state students and 7.5 percent for in state students — over the past year. They also noted that the cost of housing has gone up.

“Sure, absolutely, that’s correct,” said Beard when those issues were brought up. “It’s not about total dollars. You know, everything in this world is about competitive nature.”

The Student Government Senate discussed the proposed raise at their Tuesday night meeting. A resolution authored by Senate President Stavros Papendreou to officially recommend that the “$51,320 be appropriated to other areas of the university.”

The resolution, simplified, states that the goals met by USF in the past year were the result of the work of many, not just President Genshaft.

The Senate passed the resolution with a vote of 39-8, with one abstention.

“This is not an attack on Genshaft; we recognized her achievements,” Papendreou said.

Senators hope the BOT will see their resolution as motivation to consider the voice of the students.

To be passed by the BOT, the raise needs a simple majority of the 13 members of the board.

Student Body President and BOT member Bijal Chhadva said he wants to hear what students think about the raise before Thursday.

“I have to get more student feedback, because I’m going to vote based on what the students want me to vote,” Chhadva said.