UVM Faculty Union Frustrated By Fogel’s Pay Package

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(Host) The faculty union at the University of Vermont is criticizing the pay package awarded to outgoing President Daniel Fogel.

Fogel will get 17 months of paid leave, at a salary of $27,000 a month.

The union says that’s too much, considering that many UVM staff members will see no pay increase next year.

As VPR’s John Dillon reports, Governor Peter Shumlin is also critical of UVM’s spending priorities.

(Dillon) President Fogel will step down Aug. 1st. After a 17 month leave, Fogel will return to the UVM faculty, where he’ll be a tenured professor of English.

It’s normal for top administrators to take time off before they return to teaching. But Fogel’s pay while he’s on leave – and his future salary as a professor – have upset the faculty union.

(Shiman) "It just seems so disproportionate and sending the wrong message to people."

(Dillon) David Shiman is an education professor and president of the United Academics union.

He says the $27,000 a month Fogel will get while on leave is exorbitant. And Shiman says that when Fogel returns to teaching, he’ll be paid $80,000 a year more than the best-paid professor in the English Department.

(Shiman) "The highest faculty member in the university, in the humanities, gets about $130,000. So President Fogel becomes the highest paid faculty member at the university, excluding the medical school. … That’s just again, so disproportionate."

(Dillon) The UVM public relations office referred questions about Fogel’s pay package to trustee chairman Rob Cioffi. The chairman said he stood by remarks he made last week when Fogel resigned. At the time, Cioffi praised Fogel’s record, and said he raised academic standards at UVM. Cioffi explained the decision to extend Fogel’s paid leave to 17 months.

(Cioffi) "We believe based on Dan’s tenure and successful tenure as president that he deserves that."

(Dillon) Governor Peter Shumlin is also a UVM trustee, and he isn’t entirely comfortable with some of the salaries paid to university officials.

(Shumlin) "Whenever you have expenses at a university that look more like corporate America that academic America that we used to know, I think you’ve got a challenge. I’m not picking on UVM because you can go to any institution of higher learning in the country and find this now. "

(Dillon) Shumlin said he wasn’t part of the trustee discussion on Fogel’s pay package. The governor said his priority is to keep tuition affordable for Vermonters.

(Shumlin) "I would rather see us – if I were running the show – building engineering schools than I would student centers. I’d rather see us hiring good people to come teach at the university because they believe in the university and believe in Vermont, not the notion that we have to pay them all kinds of money to get them when I believe we could get them anyway."

(Dillon) Fogel will also get a benefit package – including a housing and car allowance – that totals almost $55,000 dollars. The faculty union says that money could be used instead to hire a researcher or an assistant professor at UVM.

For VPR News, I’m John Dillon in Montpelier.


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