The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

The student news site of Guilford College

The Guilfordian

Staff Editorial: Administration should implement fair wage plan

Last semester, there was an uproar of conversation and student-organized actions involving an unequal pay gap between administrators and the faculty and staff.

We have reported on the salaries of some of Guilford’s highest-paid employees, such as the president, vice president of advancement, vice president of admissions, vice president of finance and the academic dean. These salaries are more than double that of professors and staff members, and they have increased at a much higher and faster rate. For more than 10 years, faculty salaries have stagnated and currently are dead last among our peer and aspirant institutions. Staff salaries have fared better but are no higher than the 50th percentile compared with those at our comparison schools.

Not only is the gap jarring, the college continues to cut budgets for departments and raise students’ tuition to support the current unequal pay structure.

For an institution with core values such as equality, excellence, stewardship and justice, such a gap in pay is unacceptable. Change is long overdue.

We propose a fair wage plan for our community that would shrink the existing gap between administrators and other college employees. Such a plan would take the work of many creative minds, coming from various campus constituencies.

Although Guilford will likely need a plan tailored to our institution specifically, there are models we can draw from. For example, St. Mary’s College in Maryland proposed a wage plan that set a ratio between the highest and lowest paid workers and would still be adjusted for inflation and other market forces. They proposed setting lowest-paid employee’s salaries at 130 percent of the poverty line for a family of four, which would be $29,976.

Dr. Constantine Curris, a former president at three different institutions, endorsed such a policy in The Chronicle of Higher Education in 2009, and the plan has received much support at St. Mary’s.

When touring Guilford, President Jane Fernandes was questioned by a student if she would support a wage plan that tied the highest-paid employees’ salaries to the lowest. She nodded and said she would.

We urge Jane and her cabinet to make this a priority. Using ratios to curb Guilford’s unnecessarily high salaries and redirect the money saved into serving the community in fair and equitable ways will ease the financial burdens felt by many. It would bring us closer to practicing the core values we cherish so dearly.

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