Regents Increase Chancellors’ Pay

When Howard Gillman received a promotion and became UC Irvine’s sixth chancellor two weeks ago, his salary received one as well.

His new $485,000 salary will be the third highest of the chancellors in the University of California.

Before Gillman’s appointment and salary were approved in an open session, they were first discussed in a closed one on the second day of the regents meeting at UC San Francisco.

Ahead of him on the pay grade are UC Berkeley’s Chancellor Nicholas Dirks at a close $486,800 and UC San Francisco’s Sam Hawgood at $750,000. Notably, Hawgood’s salary is considerably higher than his predecessor’s, Susan Desmond-Hellmann, as it carried over from his time as the medical school dean even before receiving a 13.8 percent increase when he became chancellor.

Gillman’s salary represents a 23.7 percent increase over Michael Drake’s outgoing salary and a 36.1 percent increase over his salary while he was interim chancellor and provost.

Additionally, he will also have an annual car allowance of $8,916. He will reside in the Tierney University House in University Hills, previously occupied by former Chancellors Drake and Ralph Cicerone. Automobile stipends and designated housing are benefits afforded to chancellors across the UC system.

Gillman’s salary increase occurred during a moment when the regents are attempting to raise chancellors’ pay to be more competitive with those of their analogues across the 62-member Association of American Universities, of which six UC campuses, including Irvine, are members of.

At the meeting, Chancellors Dorothy Leland of UC Merced and George Blumenthal of UC Santa Cruz both received 20 percent raises to bring their salary up to $383,160. UC Riverside chancellor Kim Wilcox’s pay received a 5.1 percent raise, matching that of her Merced and UCSC colleagues. UC Santa Barbara’s Henry Yang also received a 20 percent raise to $389,450.

With the question looming over the upcoming November meeting of whether or not student tuition will increase, critics have questioned the chancellors’ pay increases.

“It sends the message that the University of California is committed to increasing its status by increasing administrative salaries to attract the best and the brightest for those positions, while simultaneously ignoring how raising tuition will make the UC inaccessible to students who cannot afford the increased fees,” ASUCI Executive Vice President Sanaa Khan said.

When asked by the Orange County Register how he would respond to tuition increases, Gillman gave a nebulous answer. While he said that the current structure of tuition freezes while depending on minimal contributions from the state is not a viable long-term solution, he hoped that that conversation doesn’t have to come to increasing student tuition.

When asked about chancellors’ pay, a UC spokesperson answered for Gillman.

“We never think it’s a good thing for a chancellor, a newly appointed chancellor, to be put in a position of defending his or her compensation,” Steve Montiel said.

Montiel instead reiterated the regents’ overarching narrative of the uncompetitive nature of the UC chancellors’ pay.

A policy recommendation presented by UC President Napolitano and approved by the regents called for annual considerations of chancellors’ salaries in order to make sure they are competitive with those at comparable institutions. The ruler that these salaries will be measured against will be salaries at similar institutions in the AAU as well as schools traditionally used for comparison. Currently, chancellors’ pays are also compared to those in the 60th percentile of the market.

Despite having the third highest salary of any UC chancellor, Gillman’s pay is still in the lower third of chancellor salaries at AAU institutions.

“This is a market and we want the best chancellors for our campuses,” Napolitano said.

Regent Bonnie Reiss echoed Napolitano’s statement, saying, “We need to bring our chancellors’ salaries up to market value.” Her colleague, regent Russell Gould, referred to this initiative as “correcting injustices.”

The increase to chancellors’ salaries was approved almost unanimously, with Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom being the lone vote against it.