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The Daily Wildcat

The Daily Wildcat

 

Column: UA pay increases aren’t enough

Pay is going up for UA salary employees, but some are questioning if the raise is anywhere near enough.

Many students and employees at the UA noticed when graduate students and adjunct professors took to their bullhorns to demand a living wage. 

Many people also noticed when it was announced that the UA would be instituting an across-the-board pay raise for its employees, the first in more than three years.

These events may be correlated but they have very little causation. President Ann Weaver Hart has explicitly stated that this pay increase was planned long before the graduate student protests had even started.

The UA probably should have taken the protests into greater account when making the decision of how much to raise employee pay. 

Currently, the UA is ranked 15 out of 15 of its peer institutions for employee salaries by the Arizona Board of Regents.

While increasing base pay for UA employees is a step in the right direction, $500 doesn’t go far enough in closing the pay gap between the UA and other universities. UA employees are not just paid less than employees at their peer institutions—they’re also paid 15 percent less than the national average university pay.

Zachary Brooks, president of the Graduate and Professional Student Council, said these pay increases are important for improving employee morale. I could not agree with him more.

The UA has a responsibility to keep the spirits of its employees high. Low pay is not just a problem of failing to provide a certain standard of living to university employees. It also is a problem of not recognizing the hard work of your employees.

UA is a highly ranked institution and there’s certainly no doubt about its ability to compete nationally, but the UA could probably be more competitive in employee and graduate student recruitment if it wasn’t ranked last among its peer institutions for employee pay.

The Arizona state government has cut University funding in past years and it needs to play a part in increasing employee pay by raising state university funding. 

Graduate students and adjunct professors have been mounting protests on campuses across the country asking for better pay standards and a living wage. The issue isn’t one that’s isolated to the UA campus, but maybe the solution could be. The UA should hold itself to a higher standard and address issues with employee pay faster than the rest of the nation.

If other universities are failing to provide for their employees and graduate students, then the UA should step in to provide a better option.  

The UA is a university that excels because it recruits great employees. That’s a strength that should be built upon at every level. By recognizing the achievements of all the UA staff by raising the base salary pay yet again, the UA stands to improve the morale of the folks that work closely with students every day across the campus. 

The recent pay increases are a good start but UA is better than good starts, it’s a school of great beginnings.


Follow Scott Felix on Twitter.


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