In a call lasting no more than 18 minutes, the decision to raise USF President Judy Genshaft’s salary by $16,320, with a $35,000 performance-based bonus, was approved by the Board of Trustees via teleconference Thursday. The decision was nearly unanimous, with all votes but one being affirmative.
BOT chairman Dick Beard proposed the decision and lead the discussion, beginning by listing several accomplishments he credits Genshaft with.
“Last year we started our research park, which was somewhat entrepreneurial for a university to do,” he said. “We were the first university in the Florida university system to have an independent accounting system up and running.”
After board member Rhea Law approved the motion and was seconded by board member Lee Arnold, student body President Bijal Chhadva read the resolution passed by Student Government on Tuesday night, hoping to convince the board of alternative ways of spending the money.
The resolution gave recognition to the significant contributions Genshaft has made in past years. It went on to state that the accomplishments justifying the raise are the collective efforts of the “president, the vice presidents and all other administrative staff.”
One proposed use of the funds, Chhadva said, would be to reimburse fees paid by international students to be competitive with other universities.
“Without a doubt, myself, the senate and the students truly recognize that we have a phenomenal president. However, I will have to vote no on the salary increase and the performance-based bonus,” Chhadva said.
Chhadva asked whether Genshaft had plans to leave the university if she did not receive the raise. The question was left unanswered.
“I don’t know if this would be a cause for her not to stay, but I hate for that even to be a question,” Law said.
At the teleconference, board member and Faculty Senate President Susan Greenbaum, who was in favor of the salary increase, explained the mixed feelings of the Faculty Senate.
“A number of people suggested, ‘We got a thousand dollars, she should get a thousand dollars’,” Greenbaum said. “I don’t believe I’m bound by the same obligations that Bijal is — to represent his constituency regardless of his own point of view — and I am going to take that prerogative.”
After the meeting, Greenbaum said she sympathizes with both the student and faculty concerns.
“We all have too few resources, I understand that,” she said.
Greenbaum added that as long as the president is working for the betterment of the university, she should be supported.
“I don’t think it would be too churlish to say that,” she said.
After the meeting, Chhadva felt he had done his job.
“I had to say what I had to say. This was our opportunity to voice our opinion,” he said. “They did acknowledge what I had to say.”
Before taking the votes, Beard had the last word.
“She is in a leadership position that is more than just doing a job. That is what this salary indicates,” Beard said.