Budget denies faculty raises

The UH System Board of Regents has approved a $1.3 billion budget for fiscal year 2010 that devotes additional funds for ‘national competitiveness’ and campus security.

However, little money will be designated for increased salary for staff and faculty.

The 2010 budget, which went into effect Sept. 1, is a 4 percent increase ($52 million) from 2009. About $997 million will be distributed to the main campus.

Board of Regents Chairman Welcome Wilson Sr. said that 2010 features a ‘bare-bones’ budget that reflects the economic recession.

‘Some difficult decisions were made, but this budget will allow us to make progress in achieving our goals of student success, national competitiveness and community advancement,’ Wilson said in a press release.

About $119 million, or 12 percent, of the main campus’ budget has been allocated to ‘national competitiveness,’ described by officials in Administration and Finance as the resources the main campus spends on conducting research.

In a December 2008 memo to UH’s vice presidents, President Renu Khator defined the goal of national competitiveness as ‘top-tier status.’

In contrast to the large national competitiveness allocation, faculty and staff raises were deferred.

Although one of the principles of the 2010 budget is to ‘continue to invest in the growth and retention of faculty and staff,’ the 2010 budget appears to have underfunded that investment.

Staff were not entirely overlooked. A one-time $300 bonus for faculty and staff members whose annual salary is $50,000 or less will be provided, according to a press release from Provost John Antel.

The decision to freeze raises may have been in the works since 2008.

Last year, during the budget planning stages, a memo was distributed to UH vice presidents requesting that they look for areas to cut funding. Executive Vice President for Administration and Finance Carl Carlucci and Interim Senior Vice President for Academic Affairs Jerald Strickland authored the document.

‘Because resources are so scarce, we encourage you to look for programs that you can ‘sunset,’ and thereby direct resources to a more valuable purpose,’ the document said.

One outcome of deliberations is a 5 percent budget reduction, totaling $5.75 million, for UH departments.

Although department funding was slashed and professors must wait until next year for salary increases, the Board of Regents approved an $800,000 branding campaign. The budget narrative claims that this is to draw in more resources.

‘Creating and disseminating the right message for the University of Houston is essential to attracting new students, private donors and the resources they bring to UH,’ the budget said.

The budget, however, does not specifically define ‘the right message.’

This fall’s tuition increases are expected to earn an additional $9 million in revenue, offsetting the $9 million in projected endowment losses. Officials in the Department of Administration and Finance denied that tuition was increased for this purpose.

‘The $9 million value of both was just a coincidence,’ officials said.

Despite concerns about campus crime, including one homicide, the Board of Regents allocated $400,000 of the $997 million budget toward improving campus security.

‘This year, a task force has been assembled to examine issues related to campus safety,’ a University spokesman said. ‘The $400,000 has been earmarked to fund task force recommendations once they are made.’

To view the UH System budget, visit

Leave a Comment