Q. Why is the university spending so much money on building projects and landscaping when minimum salaries are not being met?
A. From Vice President for Finance and Treasurer Steve McAllister: "Most of the capital projects are funded through gifts made for specific purposes. For instance, the Stemmons Plaza project and landscape improvements are all part of the larger Colonnade project, and it has been funded through gifts. The same holds true for the Hillel House. In case of each of these projects, we could not proceed with construction until we had sufficient commitments to fund them. Not every project is funded in this way. When there is not gift support, the administration allocates dollars to those projects with the greatest need, keeping in mind that we must balance the allocations between people (faculty and staff compensation and student financial aid) and capital (Alpha Delta Pi Sorority, annual capital projects, etc.). While the University regularly allocates $3 to $4 million from the operating budget each year to capital projects, we also allocate dollars to improving compensation.Over the past two years, the University has supplemented salary pools by more than $350,000, targeting increases to staff falling below the minimum of the appropriate pay ranges as well as to long service employees with 15+ years of service whose salary/rate fell below the beginning of their market reference range mid-zone (halfway between range minimum and midpoint) . These supplemental funds were used for increases above normal pay raises. Over the coming years, the University is committed to making additional investments (currently planned for at least $150,000 annually) to ensure that each staff member's salary is at an appropriate level within his or her pay range based upon years of service and performance. In addition, we held health insurance premiums level for the July 2010 renewal by increasing the employer share of the premium. We recognize that there is additional ground to make up on compensation, but we have been steadily and proactively making adjustments over the last five years.
Q. Has any thought been given to providing additional parking in the area of DuPont?
A. From Chief Facilities Officer Mike Carmagnola: "Parking capacity system wide is adequate; however, there are specific areas where demand and capacity are out of balance. One of these areas is on the north side of campus near DuPont and the VMI border, where there is more demand than available parking. This situation is currently being reviewed and several options are being explored to improve and increase parking in this zone, including grouping it with the DuPont project. We will provide updates as decisions are made and information is available.