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Wilson’s pay increases despite UMass’ financial woes


Composed by Nick Bush

With a fee increase and a salary freeze still fresh in some members of the University of Massachusetts community’s memory, President Jack M. Wilson’s overall compensation level increased by 15 percent in 2008-2009.

A survey released Monday by the Chronicle of Higher Education finds that President Wilson’s compensation from the state increased from $473,200 in 2007-2008 to $546,000 last year, despite the fact that the University faces a budget shortfall as the Commonwealth struggles to balance its budget.

Wilson received a total of $546,000 in his compensation package for 2008-2009, with $425,000 allocated for salary, a $45,000 housing stipend, $25,000 in deferred compensation, $51,000 towards retirement, and the use of a car. Wilson’s package checked him in as the number 50 highest-paid public university leader of the 185 included in the survey.

In a statement, Robert J. Manning, Chairman of the University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees, said that the Board awards compensation it considers commensurate with attracting excellent administrators.

“The University of Massachusetts Board of Trustees seeks to set compensation at levels that are sufficient to attract and retain top administrators,” he said.

“We believe that strong and astute leadership is important to the 63,000 students of the University of Massachusetts system,” Manning stated, adding that the Board feels President Wilson has met their standards.

Manning explained that the University attempts to pay its chief administrators at levels around the 75 percentile of national administrators.

Manning further emphasized that part of President Wilson’s compensation increase came from him declining to accept a performance bonus in fiscal year 2008 which would have provided him with an additional $54,000. He also said that President Wilson took a two-week furlough in December, 2008, docking $13,076 from his pay. Wilson participated in the same furlough again last December, adding to another reduction of income of the same amount.

Further, Manning said, President Wilson was entitled a three percent salary increase this year, separate from the compensation increase he received, but said he would refuse the raise until faculty and staff salaries also increase.

Robert Connolly, a press spokesman for the University system, said that he believes what is actually relevant about the pay increase was that Wilson had not accepted previous increases.

“What is really new here and, perhaps, news is that President Wilson not accepting the salary increase that his contract allows during the current fiscal year,” he said.

President Wilson, chief of the UMass system, made the most of any UMass leader.

Chancellor Robert Holub earned $420,000 in total compensation, making him the 104th highest paid university leader.

The Chronicle of Higher Education’s survey found that about one in three public universities froze base salaries for executives, and about 10 percent cut their compensation packages. Although some universities cut executive pay, others continued to raise compensation and benefit packages. On average, public institutions increased their compensation packages to their executives by 2.3 percent from 2007-2008.

University presidents who earned significantly more than Wilson included Michael M. Crow, president of Arizona State University, M. Roy Wilson, president of the University of Colorado at Denver, Michael J. Hogan, president of the University of Connecticut, Patrick T. Harker, president of the University of Delaware, T.K. Wetherell at Florida State University, G.P “Bud” Peterson at Georgia Tech, John V. Lombardi at Louisiana State, Mary Sue Coleman at the University of Michigan system, E. Gordon Gee at Ohio State University, Nancy L. Zimpher at the University of Cincinnati, Michael D. McKinney, president of the Texas A&M system, William C. Powers Jr. at the University of Texas at Austin, Fracisco G. Cigarroa, president of the Texas system, John T. Casteen III at the University of Virginia, Charles W. Steger at Virginia Tech and Mark A. Emmert at the University of Washington.

Sam Butterfield can be reached at

One Response to “Wilson’s pay increases despite UMass’ financial woes”
  1. Debra J. White says:

    Michael Crow of ASU also has a multi million dollar litigation budget.
    He fires, demotes or demeans anyone who stands in his way that his bad boy behavior invites a slew of lawsuits that we the taxpayers have to pay for.
    Crow carried his bully behavior from Columbia where he served as vice provost. He tried to ruin the career of prominent professors Graciela Chichinlisnky and Peter Eisenberg. The result was a long long lawsuit and a favorable settlement for Graciela.
    See Chichilnisky vs Columbia.

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