ABOR To Vote On Proposal To Suspend Raises For University Presidents

Published: Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 5:18pm
Updated: Thursday, June 11, 2020 - 6:20pm
Christina Estes/KJZZ
Larry Penley, chair of Arizona Board of Regents, photographed on Aug. 1, 2019, at the ABOR office in Phoenix.

The coronavirus pandemic has created financial uncertainty for Arizona’s three public universities. That's, in part, because universities' budgets rely heavily on tuition for revenue, and its still unclear how many students will be willing to enroll in the fall. 

On Friday, the state Board of Regents will consider a series of cost-saving measures that include suspending annual salary increases for universities. The three presidents are scheduled to receive 3.5% salary increases by Sept. 1, but the board's Chair Larry Edward Penley said now might be a good time to do this. He said the university presidents agree.  

“They understand they have a responsibility to lead," Penley said. "One can’t not lead unless one is willing to basically accept what you must do for other people inside the institution."

“With our students, faculty and staff making sacrifices to help move our university forward through this challenging COVID-19 pandemic, accepting a pay increase is not an option” said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. “Our faculty and staff are working hard to set plans in place for in-person instruction this fall after an impressive and successful move to online instruction in the spring, and doing so with full knowledge the furlough-based salary reduction plan will take effect in July.” 

The board will also consider giving universities the authority to amend contracts for athletic directors and head coaches to include them into possible pay reduction or furlough programs.

In accordance with UA's mitigation plan, senior leadership and all head coaches are taking salary reductions, Robbins said.

"Director of Athletics Dave Heeke as well as head coaches Adia Barnes, Jay Johnson, Sean Miller and Kevin Sumlin have voluntarily offered to take 20% salary reductions," Robbins said. "We will overcome these immense challenges together with compassion and determination because that is the Wildcat Way." 

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