LSU employees to get pay raises on some campuses

BATON ROUGE (AP) — LSU faculty and staff will see pay raises of up to 4 percent, under the first salary increase for campuses in more than four years, LSU System President F. King Alexander said Friday.

Exactly who will get raises, what type of salary increase people will receive and how much they will cost remains to be worked out.

But the announcement gave Alexander, finishing his first month as system chief, a way to build support from LSU employees and to address faculty pay complaints that have been growing louder as more of their colleagues find jobs elsewhere.

Alexander said most university employees will see a salary increase of some type.

“This 4 percent pool increase will affect the vast majority through merit-based increases on our campuses and we think will put us back on at least the right footing to start making some progressive gains in the academic marketplace,” he said.

LSU’s flagship campus in Baton Rouge will be offering recurring pay raises up to 4 percent that will vary depending on individual performance, personnel type and other factors. Other campuses will differ on whether they give — pay raises or one-time bonuses to faculty and staff.

A spokesman for LSU said details still were being decided.

The decision will be based on the financial situation of each individual campus. Alexander said money for the raises and supplements will come from internal efficiencies and enrollment increases that have generated new tuition revenue.

“We must use this as perhaps the new benchmark for establishing stable salary growth in years to come, to make sure our universities, all of our campuses, are as competitive as possible and the most effective institutions and not losing our students to other universities and not losing our talented faculty, research dollars and staff members to other campuses and early retirement,” Alexander said.

Professors and instructors line up month after month before the LSU Board of Supervisors to plead their case that they and their co-workers deserve higher salaries and that the inattention to the matter has created morale problems and driven faculty away from LSU.

They showed up again Friday morning, hours before Alexander’s announcement.

“What actions do you plan to take to shore up the crumbling infrastructure of the LSU faculty?” asked Nolde Alexius, an English department instructor who told the stories of three professors lost to other colleges since 2008, along with the expertise and grant funding they took with them.

Reza Pirbhai, an associate professor in the history department at LSU’s main campus, described his own story. He’s leaving Baton Rouge within two weeks for a position at Georgetown University.

“In the eight years I have spent here, LSU has provided little reason to believe that it values its faculty today or that it will do so tomorrow,” Pirbhai said.

LSU has lost 220 faculty members in the last five years, as salaries have stagnated and as the university system’s budget has been hit with repeated cuts that have spread across all campuses and study areas.

Gov. Bobby Jindal and lawmakers have stripped nearly $700 million in state funding from higher education since 2008, and only a portion of that has been replaced with increased tuition paid by students.

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