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Students complain about University of Pittsburgh’s salary increases

By Yas Hatcher

Point Park News Service

Salary increases for seven top managers at the University of Pittsburgh Dec. 4 caused some students to complain that there is no reason for such increases during a time of rapidly increasing tuition costs.

“Sorry, but this insane pay increase makes no sense to me at all,” said Brad Johnson.

On Dec. 4 the University of Pittsburgh’s trustee compensation committee panel approved seven salary increases on the board of trustees.

All of the approved increases ranged from 3.3 percent to 15 percent for the university’s 2012-2013 fiscal year.

Mixed emotions of the salary increases flow through the school’s student body, but more seem to be disagreeing with the decision.

With Pitt’s success this year including progress in research funding, exceeding the university’s fundraising goal (which was set at $2 billion) and breaking the record of student applications on the Oakland campus, the school found it to be an appropriate time to provide the board with the pay increases.

The raising chancellor Mark Nordenberg’s, salary increased by $18,500 to $580,000. Amy Marsh, chief investment officer, received a $53,000 salary increase to $405,000. Patricia Beeson, provost and senior vice chancellor, with a $34,000 increase, brought her salary to $374,000. Jerome Cochran, executive vice chancellor and general counsel, received an $18,000 increase to $493,000. Arthur Ramicone, chief financial officer, received a $13,000 increase to $357,000. Jean Ferketish, secretary to the board of trustees and assistant chancellor, increased her salary by $8,000 increase to $216,000.  Arthur Levine, senior vice chancellor for health sciences and dean of the School of Medicine, was approved a $25,500 increase, bringing his salary to $787,500.

University of Pittsburgh student, Jesse Lazzaro believes that the salary increases were appropriate.

“People in their position already make a good amount of money, which they deserve for doing good work for Pitt,” Lazzaro said. “At a time with budget cuts and tuition hikes, I still feel they deserve it, because they do good things for Pitt and still don’t make as much as other board members at other universities.”

Other students are not as supportive of the salary increase decision.

“I don’t know much about the board members, but that’s the point,” expressed Brad Johnson, former Pitt student. “I never really saw any commitment from them to show their faces or support of the school during my time there.”

Johnson spent his time at Pitt as an athlete and found some “higher ups” to be more humbled by getting to know the students and student athletes during events.

“Why such the large salary if we, the students have never even seen your face?” Johnson asked.

A.J. Jones, current Pitt student feels some reservations concerning the salary increase.

“I just don’t understand why my tuition has to go up if the school has over $2 billion in fundraising, more freshman students than ever before and enough money to pay all of these people almost half of a $1 million, and some more,” Jones said.

Jude Champion, Pitt student, showed concern toward the tax payers having their money fund these raises due to the fact the school uses federal funding.

“If this university desires state and federal funding, [it] should be forced to cut their budget and operate under a salary cap for these highly paid individuals at the tax payers’ expense,” said Champion.

As students vary in opinions over the recent salary increase for the University of Pittsburgh’s board of trustees’ seven members, regardless of their stance, students seem to be watching very closely and keeping an eye on the situation.

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