Faculty reacts to salary offset

By Brian Slupski

NIU faculty will receive a midyear salary offset which will be lower than they had hoped due to the state’s budget cut.

The offset designed to combat a rise in health costs, will amount to $150 for faculty. When talk of an offset began there were hopes that the offset might be as high as $300. But with the recent 3 percent budget recision those hopes were dashed.

Art Professor Gordon Dorn said, “The university is doing as much as possible under the present circumstances.”

But he added that faculty salaries should “be made a high priority” and an “aggressive approach” should be taken to restore low salary levels.

Dorn said to receive a higher priority “higher education needs to be more visible in Springfield.”

He said he felt the university was doing some nice things with the increment.

“The university should be complimented for coming up with an across-the-board figure for the offset. It shows a good deal of sensitivity and understanding to the issue,” Dorn said.

Accountancy Professor Patrick Delaney said in light of the budget crisis, the present offset is the best which could be expected.

“We do have jobs. How many people have lost their jobs and are on the streets because of the recession?” he said.

Delaney said there is still hope that the $150 across-the-board offset will become permanent and included in the faculties salary.

University Council Executive Secretary J. Carroll Moody said the $150 will be given to faculty at the end of the month.

“Then the hope or expectation is that by July the offset will be annualized and added to the base salary of the faculty,” he said.

The present offset would be for only half the fiscal year. If it were for the entire year the amount would double and might be added to the faculty’s base salary giving them a small raise.

Moody said the faculty haven’t had a raise in two of the last three years, and the one raise they did receive was just 2 percent.

“This is as much as the university can grant right now. Some people will still be disappointed,” Moody said.

Moody said a primary cause of Illinois’ financial woes is the regressive tax policy, which is based on a sales tax, instead of a progressive tax policy based on income tax.

Dorn agreed and said it is very difficult for the state to plan out its budget when it doesn’t really know how much money it will have.