On Tuesday the Student Government Association will review a resolution calling for an increase in faculty and staff salaries for the 2016-17 fiscal year.
The resolution demonstrates student support for an initiative that will include a faculty and staff salary increase in the budget for next year.
Faculty and staff have not received a significant pay raise in several years, said Cole McDowell, the author of the resolution.
“I saw an article in the Herald last September that said that faculty salaries may see a boost next year in the budget,” McDowell said. “I thought that this was a possibility and that Gary Ransdell and Ann Mead were interested in pursuing it, that it would be a nice gesture from the students to show that they also support it.”
The lack of a faculty and staff pay raise can be traced to several factors.
Budget cuts, funding reallocation and administrative prioritization all play a part, said Jay Todd Richey, the SGA president.
Richey placed most of the blame for failure to raise salaries on the administration’s choices.
“They [the administration] can do it every year if they want to, but they’ve chosen not to for a while,” he said.
The resolution is not a guarantee that there will be a pay raise. It is merely a suggestion from students to the administration. The choice to implement student’s suggestions rests with the administration.
McDowell expects them to deliver their decision near the end of this semester after next year’s budget is finalized.
Gov. Matt Bevin’s decision to enact budget cuts for this fiscal year will be one of the biggest problems the initiative will face.
“Other areas may take priority in the budget,” Richey said.
In addition to the call for a salary increase, McDowell attached a clause asking for salary increases to be guaranteed in future budgets.
“I think that’s kind of been what’s really detrimental to our faculty salaries because it’s never guaranteed,” McDowell said.
McDowell’s resolution already has the support of President Gary Ransdell.
According to Richey, Ransdell has expressed desire to see a faculty and staff salary increase.
McDowell said the salary increase affects students as well.
“I feel that this is a student issue because the quality of our education is completely dependent on the quality of the faculty that we have here. We’re going to attract quality faculty to [WKU] if we offer competitive salaries for our faculty.” McDowell said.
Richey said he believes a pay raise for faculty and staff is the least the university could do to demonstrate gratitude.
“The university would not function properly if it weren’t for faculty and staff members, so we need to make sure that they have the great opportunity to make the pay they deserve,” Richey said.