*UC Davis Top Ten 2008 Earnings Total:
Leo Chalupa, Prof. of Ophthalmology and Neurobiology $373,595.90
Paul Griffin, Prof., Graduate School of Management $331,065.97
Larry Vanderhoef, Chancellor $323,916.00
Michael Maher, Prof., Graduate School of Management $289,673.40
Barbara Horwitz, Vice Provost of Academic Personnel $289,515.96
Nicole Biggart, Dean, Graduate School of Management $282,216.67
Stephen Kowalczykowski, Prof. of Microbiology $281,957.65
Kevin Johnson, Dean, UC Davis Law School $268,879.53
Enrique Lavernia, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor $267,366.72
John Roth, Prof. of Microbiology $265,908.04
*Excludes UC Davis Health System and School of Medicine
From lab assistant to Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, the salaries of all UC Davis employees in 2008 are now on reserve at Shields Library.
The UC Office of the President (UCOP) has disclosed employee pay for four years now in an attempt to make the university transparent to the student body and public. The university is required to release its employees’ pay under the California Public Records Act.
“As a public institution I believe we have a responsibility to share such information and would rather put it out proactively than wait for folks to ask for it,” said Stan Nosek, vice chancellor of administration in an e-mail interview. “[Even though] this is standard operating procedure, I believe it is very appropriate.”
The information is organized on a CD in the library, as well as a series of three bound books, which lists each employee alphabetically, their total base pay, total overtime and total gross earnings. The gross earnings account for those earnings not included in an employee’s base pay – such as pay for added or temporary responsibilities.
However many students believe that the information is not as transparent as it could be, given its location in the back of the library and its unavailability on the Internet.
“This is a public institution, yet why is it still so difficult to get this information?” said Maryam Taeb, sophomore international relations and economics major, director of University Affairs, and communications director of Lobby Corps. “It’s 2009, and everything is on the Internet anyway. If the regents are so transparent, why do we need to go looking for information about our own university?”
In response, the UCOP gave two reasons for the placement of the payroll books and CDs, which are in the libraries of every UC campus.
“[The first reason] is that we’re balancing the need to be transparent with the need to guard against unwarranted invasion of employees’ privacy,” said Paul Schwartz, director of internal communications for the UCOP.
“The second reason is to preserve the universities’ competitiveness. We don’t want to advertise everything we’re paying employees because it makes it easy for competing institutions to construct compensation packages that would lure people away from university,” he said.
Another concern accompanying the subject of employee pay is the high amount of compensation senior officials receive in the face of rising student fees. Regents respond that this is due to the competitive market for qualified individuals, who would otherwise be paid more at private institutions.
“As students, we’re not quite sure where our money is going,” Taeb said. “There’s a lot of mismanagement on the Regents’ parts – they just receive a check from the state, and then it’s up to them. Our fees are dramatically increasing, yet there’s not a lot we can do, other than be vocal. It’s absurd.”
Officials and students agree that the state’s budget cuts have severely limited the university’s resources.
The controversy appears to be a matter of definition of what is fair during these budget cuts, said Kelly Ratliff, associate vice chancellor for budget resource management.
“One of our main priorities is to keep a fair and balanced approach to the allocation of our funds,” Ratliff said “We believe that every department has cut back equally; they are all spending less money. It’s just that everyone’s definition of ‘fair’ is different.”
LAUREN STEUSSY can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.