Faculty Senate justified in criticism of administration

The University Senate Council made headlines across the state for delivering a scathing memorandum to President Eli Capilouto detailing ways they think his administration is falling short in its mission.

The memo asked Capilouto for a point-by-point response to their criticisms, and given the strongly worded nature of the memo and its public nature, the special meeting was necessary.

Among the criticisms of the Capilouto administration was a lack of transparency, so it should be no surprise that the meeting was hosted in the Student Center Center Theater and live-streamed on the UK website.

However, hosting a forum where faculty could ask questions and Capilouto could explain his decisions is not enough.

Capilouto must take the recommendations of the faculty seriously and consider the needs of the faculty with all budget-related decisions moving forward.

Professors are extremely important to this institution and are taking on more responsibilities without pay raises. They went as far as accusing Capilouto of creating a “false crisis.”

The faculty questioned how Capilouto was allocating UK’s limited resources while laying off faculty.

There is no question UK’s budget is continually getting cut and tough decisions will have to be made.

However, new accusations from the faculty ask the questions: Who should be forced to feel the brunt of these cuts?

The Lexington Herald-Leader reported that some top administrators at UK have been receiving extra benefits.

The Herald-Leader reported that under the policy, UK pays an equivalent of 15 percent of their salaries into their retirement accounts. UK matches other employees’ 5 percent retirement amounts with a 10 percent payment. The extra benefit for administrators totals nearly $300,000.

If faculty, staff and students are all forced to make sacrifices during this time of budget cuts while the university attempts to grow, shouldn’t many of the highest-paid administrators take a cut in their extra benefits, which are additional to their already higher salaries, while their colleagues have received no increase in their regular pay?

Because UK is a public institution for which its employees’ salaries are public information, and these benefits for top administrators are not included in the salary numbers provided to both the Kernel and the Herald-Leader, the benefits give the perception that this public institution is conducting business behind closed doors.

The Herald-Leader also reported that Capilouto said the benefit would not be offered to future administrators, such as new General Counsel Bill Thro, who started this month.

To end this program for new hires is fair, but keeping it in place for others is not.

With a potential second round of budget cuts looming, UK must remember everyone should have to make sacrifices for improving this institution, crisis or not.

What ultimately might be most upsetting isn’t that these administrators had a better retirement plan, but instead that few knew about it.

But if more cuts are coming, our administration must remember that it is a part of the UK community and when it is time to cut from programs on campus — putting a heavier burden on students, faculty and staff — UK’s leaders should remember also to look at themselves.