The Chronicle’s View: A much-needed pay boost for U

The U is falling behind its peer schools nationally, and it is time Utah state legislators do something about it.

When the next legislative session opens, U advocates will be fighting for a 2 to 3 percent increase in state funding to compensate state employees-the first such increase in two years.

The proposal is in response to the issues of economic inflation and is intended to supplement the salaries of state employees, like teachers and faculty in higher education institutions.

If the proposal is passed, state employees will be better equipped to maintain the quality of life they have become accustomed to.

It is illogical and unfair of state legislators to not implement such increases. For two years now-save for U President Bernie Machen’s decision to implement a minute pay increase last year, which came from a tuition hike-there has been no real inflation compensation.

This inadequacy is damaging to the high level of education the U has developed a reputation for.

Schools-especially higher education institutions-have a much more difficult time recruiting quality employees if there is an insufficient pay incentive. Other schools around the nation with the same level of research being conducted on their campuses, which also have a law school and a medical school-the U’s “peer” schools-are pulling ahead of our institution.

In order for the U to remain a highly competitive higher education institute, it is imperative that legislators ratify this proposal.

It is also imperative that the financial burden of this proposal befall legislators, not students.

Indeed, an increase in student tuition could provide the needed boost, but tuition is already much too high. College students cannot be expected to provide inflation compensation for teachers-it is not their job.

It is important to understand that while the U is constantly asking state legislators for more money-for buildings, for programs, and so on-none of that money will be of any use if the U cannot retain a high caliber teaching staff. A highly funded new program in a beautiful new building is useless without the right teachers.

Legislators need to realize how important the U is to the state of Utah. The revenue generated by the innumerable research facilities at the U alone is reason enough to keep employees and teachers happy.

And faculty happiness is really what this issue boils down to. Educators provide an amazing service for both their students and their respective states. People need to feel like what they are doing is appreciated, both on a conceptual and economic level.

People need to be adequately compensated for their services, and without the proposed cost-of-living increase, state employees simply are not.