The University of North Carolina’s Board of Governors raised the salaries for 12 of the system’s chancellors during a closed session meeting Friday, giving pay raises of 8 to 19 percent to the top campus administrators.
The salary amounts were released publicly Monday, with the heads of the state’s two flagship campuses receiving $50,000 and $70,000 raises. (Scroll down to view the entire list of raises.)
Five chancellors, all but one who were hired in 2014 or 2015, received no pay increases. The head of the N.C. School of Science and Mathematics, the prestigious public high school run by the UNC system, received a pay increase as well.
System officials would not release the salary information Friday, despite objections from several reporters at the meeting that the changes should have been disclosed publicly at Friday’s meeting.
Mike Tadych, a lawyer who works on public record and open government issues for the N.C. Press Association and media companies, told WRAL Friday that the salary information should have been acted on in open session, and disclosed immediately.
“At the end of the day, their ultimate decision needs to be voted on in open session,” Tadych told WRAL, adding that N.C. public records law does not allow public bodies to withhold salary information.
N.C. State University Chancellor Randy Woodson received a $70,000 pay bump, according to the information released Monday. His base salary of $590,000 is now the highest in the UNC system, and a private foundation connected to the Raleigh university will chip in an additional $200,000 each year for Woodson.
Carol Folt, the chancellor of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, received a $50,000 pay increase, and will now make $570,000 a year.
Other substantial pay jumps include UNC-Charlotte Philip Dubois, who is now making $387,500 after a $63,050 raise; East Carolina University’s Steve Ballard, who will make $385,000 in base salary after a $62,400 raise and Western Carolina University Chancellor David Belcher, who will make $335,000 after a $54,500 raise.
The legislatively-appointed UNC Board of Governors indicated the raises approved during a closed-session vote were to align with a policy approved earlier this year to increase the ranges of chancellor and top administrator pay.
But staff and faculty in the UNC system have seen little changes in their paychecks since the start of the national recession, with only nominal raises approved in some years as the legislature has tightened the university system’s budget and mandated more than $500 million in cuts to campuses since 2010.
UNC employees are, like all state employees, are slated to receive a $750 bonus this year.
It’s not clear if any on the 32-member board objected to the pay increases. N.C. Policy Watch has asked for more details about the vote taken Friday behind closed doors.
Sarah Ovaska-Few is an investigative reporter for N.C. Policy Watch and conducts investigations and watchdog reports into issues of statewide importance.