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April 16, 2013

Daniels announces changes to Purdue wage proposal

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - Following the second meeting of the new President's Council on Budget and Affordability, Purdue University President Mitch Daniels announced changes in his original proposal for wage restraint as a contributor to holding tuition constant during the 2013-14 and 2014-15 academic years.

Instead of a freeze on administrative and professional pay at levels over $50,000, all employees - clerical and service staff, professional, administrative, and faculty - will be eligible to participate in a 1 percent raise pool. As in the past, deans, department heads and unit supervisors will have the option to apportion the 1 percent pool on the basis of merit. An account previously budgeted to deal with cases of exceptional faculty performance and retention will be folded into the pool of funds available for faculty raises. The final decision, while responding to concerns expressed by faculty and other members of the university community, results in somewhat greater savings than the initial proposal, about $7 million versus $5 million over the two years of the tuition freeze.

"Through the wealth of constructive feedback we received directly and through the faculty leaders on our new President's Council on Budget and Affordability, I'm convinced we have reached a far better outcome," Daniels said. "I'm excited not only by the way in which the council helped improve this decision, but also about the promise this episode offers for genuine, effective shared governance in making future difficult choices."

Council member David Williams, vice chair of the University Senate, said, "I have been at Purdue for 40-plus years, and I believe we made history with the manner in which we reached this decision, for it has to be the first time Purdue faculty leaders had a say in how the university budget would be shaped. It truly is an example of shared governance."

Patricia Hart, vice-chair-elect of the University Senate, added, "This solution represents the unanimous belief of the new President's Council that pre-eminence depends upon the valuable contributions of every member of our Purdue family."

Daniels thanked all those who contacted him directly, in employee forums or through council members with their reactions and suggestions. 

"As one would expect, a wide variety of faculty and staff opinions were expressed or reported," he said. "The council had a great discussion about equity across employee categories and how to signal to staff the high value we all put on their work. I was impressed by the strong faculty sentiment that they not be treated differently, but share at least equally in the cause of student affordability."

Mary Wirth, a council member and the W. Brooks Fortune Distinguished Professor of Analytical Chemistry, thanked all faculty and staff for their critical input.

"People would be pleased to know that we are a group that explains diverse campus viewpoints to one another in a congenial way," Wirth said. "I'm confident that the outcome will not only make Purdue more affordable to students, but we will also become even better in research and education."

Many administrators and faculty have indicated an interest in foregoing eligibility for their next raise or making a one-time contribution to the Student Affordability and Accessibility Fund, the pool of savings that must be assembled to replace what would have been delivered by Purdue's 37th and 38th consecutive tuition increases. Those inclined to forego eligibility for their next raise or make a one-time contribution will be enabled to do so by a simple, e-mail-based mechanism between now and May 3. Details will be communicated to employees at the end of this week.

Members of the President's Council on Budget and Affordability, are: J. Paul Robinson, chair of the University Senate; Vic Lechtenberg, special assistant to the president; Richard Johnson-Sheehan, chair of the University Resources Policy Committee; Larry DeBoer, chair of the Budget Interpretation, Evaluation and Review Committee; Jeff Roberts, dean of the College of Science; and Williams, Hart and Wirth.

Daniels said, "Maybe we at Purdue can prove that 'shared governance' not only can be made genuine in practice, but also can be made real without sacrificing the speed or the efficiency that the coming tough environment will require of successful universities."

Media contact: Chris Sigurdson, assistant vice president for external relations, 765-496-2644, sig@purdue.edu