Regents meeting centers on salaries for chancellors, athletic employees

SAN FRANCISCO — The University of California Board of Regents discussed chancellor compensation and mental health resources for students, among other topics, when it met on Thursday for the second and final day of its meeting this month.

Academic and athletic compensation

The most heavily discussed issue of Thursday’s meeting centered on compensation for chancellors and athletic employees.

The topic arose after the regents approved Howard Gillman, provost and executive vice chancellor of UC Irvine, as the campus’ new chancellor. He was serving as its interim chancellor and received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees in political science from UCLA.

The regents approved a base salary of $485,000 per year for Gillman, the third highest salary of the 10 UC chancellors. Gillman’s base salary is behind only those of chancellors at UC San Francisco and UC Berkeley, who earn the top salaries in the system – $750,000 and $501,404 per year, respectively. UCLA Chancellor Gene Block earns $428,480 per year.

Gillman’s salary is about 24 percent more than that of his predecessor, Michael Drake. Regents also approved a pay raise of up to 20 percent for four other chancellors at UC campuses, although Block’s salary is staying the same.

Despite the pay raises for some chancellors, a common concern among the regents is the market competitiveness of UC chancellor salaries.

To address this concern, Regent Monica Lozano introduced a policy that would allow the UC president to recommend an adjustment to chancellor salaries if they fall behind those of comparable institutions. She added that UC chancellors are in the bottom third of salaries when compared to their peers in the Association of American Universities.

“This is a pathway to give our chancellors what they deserve for the job they have done,” said Regent Norman Pattiz.

Regents also discussed compensation for athletic employees and whether or not the board should allow chancellors to approve athletic coaches’ salaries. Under the new proposal, if a coach’s salary exceeds $500,000, the contract would go to the UC president for review. Currently, the Board of Regents approves these salaries.

The board was divided on whether to relinquish this authority to chancellors.

“(The proposal) is consistent with other comparable institutions,” Lozano said.

However, other regents disagreed, saying that this authority should be kept with the regents.

“When we delegate responsibilities, we do it on delicate ground. The idea that we are giving up on the approval process makes me very uncomfortable,” Pattiz said.

Both Regent-Designate Rodney Davis and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, an ex-officio regent, urged the other regents to take caution when raising the salaries of athletic employees.

“Academic standards should come first,” Newsom said. “I question giving higher salaries for athletic positions rather than academic ones.”

Because the regents could not reach an agreement this meeting, they decided to table their vote on any action toward athletic employee salaries for November.

Mental health

Dr. Elizabeth Gong-Guy of UCLA and Dr. Regina Fleming of UC San Diego led a presentation for the regents about increasing student access to mental health services.

“The shortage of access to mental health services has impeded our ability to provide for the health of our students,” Fleming said, citing overdrawn resources as the main problem.

Gong-Guy, director of UCLA’s Counseling and Psychological Services, said an increased demand for mental health services has led to a backlog of patients waiting for care. As a result, it can take up to seven weeks for some students to start therapy, she added.

Fleming said academic stresses like grades and scores can lead to mental health issues such as anxiety and depression for students.

Last year at UCLA, the demand for student mental health services increased by 23 percent, Gong-Guy said. About 8,500 students, or about 20 percent of the total student population, were treated at UCLA for mental health issues, she added.

Compiled by Trevor Cleere and Eu Ran Kwak, Bruin contributors.

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Copyright 2018