I welcome Margaret Spellings’ recognition that for the UNC system “educating elites is ... simply not enough,” that it should “help many more people, particularly people of color and those from first-generation and low-income backgrounds.”
She might begin by examining her own $750,000 annual salary (15 times the median family income in North Carolina and in the upper 0.1 percentile nationally), not to mention her car allowance, rent-free house on Franklin Street, $35,000 moving expenses and $77,500 annual retirement compensation. The $225,000 more she’ll be earning than the previous UNC president (before he received a $75,000 parting gift) is by itself more than what 94 percent of American families earn.
This salary increase alone could pay for three new assistant professors. Or cover the salaries of part-time lecturers teaching 66 classes. Or, when added to the $570,000 in raises being given to UNC chancellors, could pay for 10 assistant professors or 17 full-time lecturers or 28 maintenance workers or the salaries of part-time lecturers teaching 230 classes, or full tuition for 93 undergraduates at UNC-Chapel Hill or 345 students at North Carolina community colleges.
Or it could give 1,060 state employees another $750 bonus.