The UC System: A Mess of Unequal Pay

By Katrina Yentch
Staff Writer

In an article for the L.A. Times, writer Larry Gordon stated that UC Irvine’s new chancellor Howard Gillman claims, “he would strengthen ties with the Orange County community, at the campus medical center, in business and technology partnerships, the arts and K-12 schools.”
However, does this justify an annual salary of $485,000? Some would not think so, considering AFSCME 3299 recently went on strike demanding higher wages and the previous Chancellor Drake was getting paid $93,000 less than chancellor Gillman. We can affirm that the UC System is a mess of unequal pay and students are not the only ones who are concerned about this. Governor Jerry Brown, a UC Regent himself, “has been sharply critical of similar pay raises, did not attend the regents’ meeting in San Francisco and his office said he had no comment Thursday on the latest action.”
Many and most will ask, “What is the justification for this pay raise?” Although we understand that our campus is growing, both in size and respectability, it’s hard to imagine how much extra work that chancellor Gillman would have to do to earn an $90,000 increase in pay. Another question is how can someone, who just started their position, already get a secured pay raise before even starting? I understand the chancellor’s vast amount of prior experience in academia, but still, it is ridiculous that he preemptively will be getting a raise that he did not earn at UC Irvine. Yes, he was the Dean of USC’s College of Letters, Arts and Sciences, but that was at a private university. After being interim chancellor at UC Irvine for just a matter of months, how does the former dean of a division at a private university understand what’s best for all of UC Irvine, a public university?
UC President, Janet Napolitano, claims that the prestige of the UC System allows for a competitive salary amongst the chancellors, but does she take into account the thousands of other UC employees that help the chancellors do their jobs? We not only have to account for unions, such as AFSCME 3299, but we also have to recognize the large group of administrative employees who help the chancellors carry out their tasks. The chancellors do not work independently, so in theory, those who work alongside the chancellors should, also, have their salaries raised to maintain the prestige that comes with working for, and attending, the UC system.
Chancellor Gillman, along with the other new chancellors appointed to the UC system, is being paid more than chancellors who have been in their positions longer; this simply adds to the mess of unfairly paid employees. Minimum wage is $9, students still get their financial aid decreased and yet our tuition continues to rise. At this point, one has to wonder if a small percentage of the reason our raised tuition is in order to pay our chancellors.
Although Chancellor Gillman has reliable credibility and good intentions for the school, I simply don’t think it’s logical to preemptively pay him an extra $90,000 at the start of his job. When the system is squeezing out money from so many other resources to accommodate the chancellors and not the rest of the UC employees and students, it only magnifies the scrutiny that Gillman will be under within his first full year in the position. I guess this calls for a hearty and hopeful good luck to you, chancellor Gillman! Our wallets are depending on it.

Katrina Yentch is a fourth-year literary journalism major and can be reached at kyentch@uci.edu