Fighting the downsizing of education at the University of Vermont.

Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Past Week's Headlines: Fogel Under Fire for Exec Bonuses, 100s Critical of Fogel's Leadership

This week finally saw the local press run with the story that UVM's President Fogel had rewarded himself and 20 other administrators with bonuses and extra pay totaling nearly $900,000 over the past four years. In the Free Press (story below), Fogel defended the bonuses as compensating administrators for taking on "extra responsibilities." And where was the compensation for lecturers who had scores of additional students added to their classes and advising added to their workloads and for staff who received no overtime for logging in extra hours trying to figure out where into the PeopleSoft system their department operating budgets had gone?

When Fogel faced angry students, staff, faculty, and UVM's softball and baseball teams at Thursday's "The Future of UVM" forum, his handling of the issues wasn't any better: Instead, he stressed over and again, that all of his decisions are to keep UVM "nationally competitive." He doesn't seem to understand that national competition--over student experience, access for Vermonters, and social and economic justice--is not a UVM community value.

WPTZ's "UVM Students Speak Out, Hundreds Critical of Fogel's Leadership":

Free Press story on the bonuses:

February 26, 2009
Faculty decry administrators' bonuses
Fogel expected to face tough questioning today

By Sam Hemingway, Free Press Staff Writer

Leaders of the faculty union at the University of Vermont charged Wednesday that UVM administrators have paid themselves nearly $900,000 in bonuses and extra compensation since 2006, including $264,196 in the current fiscal year.

“The juxtaposition of administrators getting additional pay and bonuses when people are losing their jobs just sticks in my craw,” said David Shiman, an education professor and head of the United Academics union.

UVM officials announced last week $10.8 million in budget cuts and a layoff of 16 staff workers in response to declining revenue projections. The cuts also included a number of full-time and part-time lecturers who will not have their teaching contracts renewed.

Union officials said they obtained the administrative bonus and extra pay figures from an anonymous whistleblower who Shiman described as “quite reliable.” The numbers, if true, show that 21 administrators received extra pay and bonuses over the past four years.

The top recipient of the additional money, according to the figures released by the union, was UVM President Daniel Fogel, who received $161,809 in extra pay and bonuses over the past four years, including $38,536 in fiscal 2009.

Provost John Hughes collected an extra $133,850 in the four-year period, and Marcus Diamond, vice president of development and alumni relations, received $85,000, the figures show. Hughes and Diamond recently disclosed they are stepping down from their posts.

Enrique Corredera, UVM spokesman, said Wednesday night the extra pay and bonus numbers released by the union appeared to be generally accurate.

“One thing to keep in mind is that the bonuses that are in effect this year were decided on early last year, months before the financial meltdown and the recession we are now facing,” Corredera said. He said the extra pay was given to administrators in instances where extra responsibilities were added to their workload.

Shiman and Nancy Welch, an English professor and a union spokeswoman, said the union plans to confront Fogel about the extra pay and bonus issue today at a forum titled “The Future of UVM” set to begin at 4 p.m. in Ira Allen Chapel.

“The sensible thing to do would be to have the administrators give back the bonuses and take back the layoffs,” Welch said.

According to a statement released by the union, the number of administrators at UVM making more than $150,000 a year has jumped from four in 2002 to 38 today. The union said the money paid to employ UVM administrators has increased tenfold since 2002, to nearly $7 million annually.

“All kinds of spending has to be looked at,” Welch said. “UVM can’t afford to lay off the bulk of the people doing the teaching.”

Corredera said UVM has frozen the pay of all administrators making more than $75,000 in the coming year but is not inclined to reduce salaries. “We have worked very hard the past few years to improve compensation for all UVM employees,” Corredera said.

Fogel might also face questions at today’s forum about claims by the outgoing dean of UVM’s well-regarded Rubenstein School of Environment and Natural Resources that he was forced out of his post by Hughes.

Lawrence Forcier, in an e-mail to Rubenstein School students widely circulated on the UVM campus Wednesday, said he was put on administrative leave, effective immediately, based on what he said were false accusations that he had created a hostile work environment at the school’s Aiken Center.

“I have served many years in academic leadership roles at UVM and have tried to reinforce the need for higher education to set an exceptionally high bar for integrity, justice and fairness,” part of Forcier’s e-mail said. “I intend to challenge any effort to cause me to ‘step down.’”

Corredera said he would not comment on the circumstances that led to Forcier’s removal as a dean. “It is a personnel matter I am not at liberty to discuss,” Corredera said.

He said UVM is hoping to name a new, permanent dean for the Rubenstein School soon, possibly within a month.

Forcier and Hughes did not respond to requests for interviews Wednesday.

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