Pay cuts highlight unfair wealth distribution in the US

Gerald Sastra/ The Cougar

Gerald Sastra/ The Cougar

Recently, Renu Khator and the UH top athletic figures volunteered to have their pay cut by 10 percent for the next six months in order to help the University.

While it’s admirable of these people to give up some of their money, it shines a light on how impractical the wealth distribution in this country is.

If they can easily give up some money without consequences, it would make sense for the heads of colleges to be paid less so that the extra money could go to the University and its employees. 

It’s important to understand that most of the universities are taking pay cuts because of the loss in revenue from sports events. UH and other universities don’t really have any other option but to keep running; whether classes are online or in-person, faculty still have to get paid.

Looking at this from an efficiency point of view, this system doesn’t appear to be the most practical. When a national crisis happens such as COVID-19, CEOs and presidents of universities cut their own pay, or they watch operations in their institution shut down. 

Renu Khator earns over a million dollars a year while the basketball and football coaches both make over three million a year. A 10 percent cut from each will barely make a dent in their lifestyles. 

If it meant that workers would be able to have some cushion and security in the likelihood of a national crisis, then maybe university presidents and other top paid employees should have their pay lowered by 10 percent all the time. 

While a pandemic is not something that happens all the time, economic problems unfortunately do. It was only twelve years ago that we had the Great Recession of 2008. 

Inevitably, we will have another economic crisis and it may be useful to disperse more wealth into the UH staff and faculty than have it concentrated among a few individuals, especially with the growing wealth gap in the U.S

Skip the step of lowering our president’s and coaches’ salary when a crisis happens and just put that money into the University already. 

Even if a national crisis doesn’t happen, why shouldn’t there be more money put into the University? A 10 percent pay cut to millions of dollars would not affect these people very much.

If they invested a portion of their salaries into the University, we could pay our janitorial staff more, cheapen tuition and overall put the money towards what the University wants. 

We could have more money for green initiatives on campus such as building more eco-friendly buildings like Cougar Woods and more green spaces on campus. There are always uses for money on campus. 

There is, of course, the fact that coaches get paid so much because of the University wanting certain coaches in order to attract certain players and to whip their team into shape so that they can win games.

There’s always a high demand for coaches, so naturally they get higher salaries. This is a feature of capitalism, but that doesn’t change the fact that the money could be used for better things. 

I am not saying that Khator and our coaches don’t deserve good pay. Khator especially has done a lot for our school.

She has guided UH into receiving Tier One status, improved graduation rates, increased the University’s involvement in the Houston community and has countless other accomplishments. 

She clearly is one of the top paid public university Presidents in this country for a reason. 

However, it’s important to question whether or not the people that are in charge, the people who benefit from our money, should have it. 

We should always question where the money goes and what it could be used for, especially with the growing wealth gap in this country that has been lengthened by COVID-19. 

With no disrespect to our President and coaches, their salary should be lessened and used to help students, staff, faculty and the University as a whole. 

Anna Baker is an English sophomore who can be reached at [email protected] 

Leave a Comment