Questions arise over faculty raises

It remains to be seen if faculty at Seton Hall will receive a two percent raise this year.

According to Dennis Garbini, vice president of Finance & Technology, the target date for raises is still early next year.

“The two percent salary increase for faculty and administrators was planned for January 2011 so we are not yet at the point that it can be said they have been held back,” Garbini said. “The increases had been planned for the January timeframe to assure the other budget assumptions were achieved.”

According to the Seton Hall Employee Handbook, “across-the-board pay increases (which are not based on merit or performance) usually occur in July.”

A 5 percent tuition increase, which went into effect beginning with the 2010 summer session, was set to help ensure money to a variety of initiatives.

Amongst these initiatives were the University CORE program, financial aid and a 2 percent faculty raise.

Garbini told The Setonian in April 2010 that money would be allocated for faculty raises since faculty did not receive a raise during the 2009-2010 academic year.

Roseanne Mirabella, professor of political science and public affairs in the College of Arts & Sciences, has been a member of the Faculty Senate since 1998 and has chaired the Compensation and Welfare Committee since 2005. From 2002-2005, Mirabella chaired the Senate.

Mirabella noted that faculty did not receive raises, or a cost of living increase which is also known as a cost of living adjustment last year, due to the budget situation. However, one is supposed to be granted this year.

Mirabella noted that COLAs differ from raises because raises keep Seton Hall competitive with peer institutions while COLAs are meant to keep faculty salaries current with regional inflation.

“This year the budget included a 2 percent COLA for faculty and administration, which was to be paid in January,” Mirabella said. “However, at this point we do not know if the COLA will be given.”

Mirabella also noted that the Faculty Senate has not received any confirmed information that the COLA has certainly been cut this year.

“The Senate is obviously concerned about this for if the COLAs are eliminated, we may fall further behind our peers in terms of median salaries,” Mirabella said.

According to Garbini, interim Provost Dr. Larry Robinson “addressed the faculty senate early last month and indicated to them that, due to missed revenue targets, including the total elimination of state aid for independent colleges, and increases in several expense lines, the two percent increases slated for January were in question.”

Because raises are conditional on good budget standing, Mirabella expressed that the budget does not appear to allow for raises. It remains unseen how bad the budget standing currently is.

“It seems doubtful, though we would hope that the administration and Board would recognize the need to keep the salaries of faculty competitive with our peer institutions,” Mirabella said.

However, research conducted by the Faculty Senate during Mirabella’s tenure as chair in 2005 proved that Seton Hall faculty members were underpaid back then.

“Based on our research, we found that faculty on the South Orange campus were paid far less than faculty on campuses at our competitor and peer institutions,” Mirabella said. “The administration took steps over a couple of years to provide significant salary increases to faculty.”

The raises which the University granted were based on the researched median salaries of faculty at those peer institutions.

In regards to the situation, Garbini said, “Dr. Esteban, Dr. Robinson and I met recently and will continue to monitor this situation before a final determination is made on the January increases.”

The Faculty Senate is scheduled to meet next on Nov. 5 at 1:30 p.m. in the Beck Rooms of the Walsh Library.

Samantha Desmond can be reached at samantha.desmond@student.shu.edu.

Author: Staff Writer

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