Friday, February 28, 2014

SMCM Makes Headlines with Salary Cap Proposal

The past few years (and let us not forget the sit-ins circa 2006) many students and faculty have fought for a "living wage," a wage that someone can actually live on. Even in St. Mary's County, where the cost of living is relatively low, it's incredibly difficult to get by on minimum wage. The proposal, as outlined on their website, is to raise minimum salary above the federal poverty level for a family of four. This comes to about $30,000, which is significantly higher than the current minimum of $24,500 for college staff members.

Recently the 10:1 ratio proposal has made the headlines all across the nation, from the Washington Post to dozens of small college newspapers that are considerably better than The Point News. At our current minimum of $24,500 salary for staff members, this would place the president's salary at $245,000 ($80,000 less than the current salary). Currently the SMCM presidential salary is well below the average for college presidents, but of course SMCM is a small, public college, so that makes sense.

Hey yall keep in mind the only reason the current presidential salary is so high is because Maggie wanted to leave circa 2009, but the college couldn't find a good replacement so they upped her salary to make her stay and extra year before Urgo came on board~
And then they never lowered the salary back down to a reasonable rate. Check out the records in the library for more info~
 However about a week ago the proposal was defeated by the Faculty Senate 9-8. The meetings are closed, and even the SGA VP, who sits in on the meetings, was definitely asked to leave when discussion of this hot topic issue came up.

We do not know for sure why the proposal was defeated by the Faculty Senate. The proposals may have had some impact on faculty salary as well (???) or maybe they just do not want change? My inclination is that there are probably a few aspects of the proposal that did not sit well with the faculty (where can we see the proposal they voted on ???) but overall they may have been in favor of the idea. Having sat in on these meetings, they are definitely very interesting. I do not even know how to describe the meetings properly, but sitting in a room with two dozen highly intelligent and successful people is not only intimidating, but gives you the sense that they must
a. know what they are doing
b. have some House of Cards level backdealing going on
c. hopefully have the best interests of the college at heart

I hope to see the proposal passed in some form within the next year.


  1. What happened?? The economics of it are entirely off. The notion that someone who has taught at the college for years should see their wage lowered so as to be in line with their younger peers is delusional at best and disingenuous at worst. Moreover, in the broader context of the living wage campaign, raising wages will induce new applicants and push out those currently holding those spots.

    Consider our cleaning staff, they're predominantly elderly. If one were to raise the wage for the cleaning position, younger people would apply for the job. Factor in the tuition reimbursement that staff are eligible to receive and the prospect is even more appealing. Younger workers are more productive and generally have lower insurance claims. I get that these staff are on limited incomes and having a hard time getting by. However, in the face of higher wages, these staff would soon be out the door unemployed, and even worse off.

    As it stands now, the current presidential salary is below market averages, to get someone who is qualified and capable of leading an institution you need to pay the market price. To do otherwise is to seek an inferior candidate. As the saying goes, you get what you pay for.

    Those who argue "math for social justice" seem to lack a basic appreciation of market forces and cause and effect. When confronted with the above facts, they had nothing to counter these arguments with whatsoever. The proposition failed not on it's flawed merits but on its deluded reality. As written the plan will hurt rather than help the very individuals it is so intended to aid.

  2. Was the vote posted anywhere on-line? Is there any way to see how members of the faculty senate voted? It would be interesting to see if those who publicly supported the idea ultimately decided against the measure.

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  4. Senate meetings aren't closed -- there were guests there that day, including me. And no one was asked to leave. Voting, however, occurred by written ballot -- so no information would be available on how people voted.