By RUTH DALRYMPLE
In lieu of a raise this year, faculty and staff will be receiving Macy’s gift cards from the University of Mary Washington Foundation. According to the Free Lance-Star, “UMW professors haven’t received raises in more than three years, though they got one-time bonuses last year.”
An email sent by President Rick Hurley on Oct. 19 stated that all full-time faculty and staff will get $200 gift cards, part-time faculty and staff will get $100 gift cards, and graduate assistants will get $50 gift cards. In the same email, Hurley awarded extra one and one-half days of recognition leave to the winter break and a day of recognition leave during spring break.
According to the Vice President for Administration and Finance and Chief Financial Officer, Rick Pearce, the UMW Foundation wanted to give the gift cards this year because financially “they did better than expected at Eagle Landing.”
He explained that they asked for proposals from a number of department stores, and Macy’s was the only one that would give a deal with extra gift cards.
According to a March 17 article in the Free Lance-Star, the University had hired a consultant to look into the possibility of new raises for faculty. The study was scheduled to end this summer and was supposed to analyze the UMW faculty and staff salaries to that of comparable-sized universities and look at salary disparities based on gender and other circumstances.
According to Pearce, the study has not concluded yet, but should be coming out shortly.
A Jan. 10 Bullet article disclosed that President Hurley had considered raising tuition and fees as much as 25 percent to cover faculty raises but ultimately decided against it because of Gov. Bob McDonnell’s criticism of Virginia Commonwealth University’s decision to increase tuition and fees by 24 percent.
The Bullet reported on May 17 that UMW ultimately raised tuition and fees for in-state students by 8.8 percent last year, bringing the total tuition and fees cost to $8,806. Last year in-state students paid $7,862 in tuition.
The average in-state student who lives on campus and has a meal plan now pays $17,274 a year, according to the Bullet article.
According to a database made by Virginia Tech’s student-run newspaper, the Colligate Times, which compiles information of public salary from different college and university for 2009, associate professors at UMW make an average of $58,000 to $65,000 a year, and professors make from $65,000 to $117,000 a year.
Assistant Professor of political science Chad Murphy had conflicted feelings about the gift cards.
“My thoughts are that I appreciate the gesture by President Hurley to at least provide us with some acknowledgement – I’m aware of the budgetary issues the state and the university face, so I’m grateful for any token of appreciation from the administration,” Murphy said. “On the other hand, it seems that the university spends [student’s] tuition dollars on any number of items that don’t directly affect the educational experience at UMW.