A Proposal to President Kirk Schulz

Other Information:
RE:  Balancing the Washington State University Budget

We, the undersigned,  recognize that the state is requiring WSU to balance its budget.  Therefore, we offer the following solution to this requirement, as a way to
  • bring  the budget back into alignment, 
  • save the employment of valuable, low paid employees,
  • ensure that graduate students do not take cuts to their stipends, and
  • ensure that instruction and support services for students are not impacted.
We understand that Washington State University must find an additional $10,000,000.00/year for the next three years (total:  $30,000,000.00). 
The administration's current proposal for balancing the budget includes:
  •  a 2.5% cut to every academic department
  • eliminating two positions with Multicultural Student Services
  • eliminating WSU's entire Performance Arts Program, including all course offerings, theater productions, and the entire faculty
  • a 16.5 to 19% reduction in the stipends of graduate teaching assistants in Engineering and Architecture.   
We propose instead 
  • a reduction in pay by at least 30% for all administrators making $300,000.00 and above. 
  • a reduction in pay by at least 20% for administrators making $200,000.00 to $299,999.99. 
  • a reduction in pay by at least 10% for administrators making $100,000.00 to $199,999.99.  
With data found at http://fiscal.wa.gov/salaries.aspx, we have calculated that:

36 WSU employees make more than $300,000.00 a year.  At least 21 are administrators (chairs - president).  

3  of these WSU administrators already make more than the President of the United States (>$400,000.00).
Even with the proposed cut, 13 out of 21 of these employees would still make more than the Vice President of the United States (>$230,700.00).
Even with the proposed cut, all 21 employees would still make more than the Governor of the State of Washington (>$172,500.00). 
An estimated $2,360,430.00 could be saved by cutting 30% from the salaries of the 21 WSU administrators  earning more than $300,000.00.*      
104 WSU employees make between $200,000.00 and 299,999.99 yearly.  49 of these WSU employees are administrators.

All of these employees make more than the Governor of the State of Washington (>$172,500.00).  48 of them make more than the Vice President of the United States. Even with the cuts we propose, 32 of these administrators would still make more than the Governor of the State of Washington.

An estimated $2,356,040.00 could be saved by cutting 20% from the salaries of these 49 administrators.    
An estimated total of $4,716,470.00 could be saved just by cutting the salaries of the 70 administrators making over $200,000.00.

All would keep their positions and benefits.  
Nobody would be fired.
Nobody would be forced to use food stamps and other tax-payer funded subsidies to survive.  

We are hopeful that applying this cutting strategy across the board to all administrators in the system, along with a freeze on raises to these same personnel over the next 3 years , will generate well over half the amount needed to balance the budget ($5,000,000.00/year;  $15,000,000.00/3 years, while also ensuring that:
  • students get the full value of the education that they pay for, 
  • programs in the liberal arts are retained, and 
  • graduate students do not see their stipends reduced. 
Furthermore, we call for WSU administrators to publicly identify and cut other administrative overhead such as their own travel budgets, entertainment funds, start up allowances, and housing and relocation subsidies to balance the WSU budget. 

As indicated above, WSU administrators have proposed cuts to some of the lowest paid employees in the university including staff at the multicultural student center, the entire faculty in theater, graduate student stipends in engineering, and from every academic program in the university. These cuts impact both instruction and essential support services for students. The cuts also risk forcing longtime university employees onto state and federal taxpayer-subsidized programs such as food stamps and Medicaid.

We believe that all university employees--from faculty to facilities workers--are entitled to a living wage. The cuts we propose to the top of the university administrative structure, still ensure that all administrators retain a healthy salary, and everyone at WSU keeps their position. With the cuts we propose, Washington State University sends a clear message that the university's primary responsibility is to support its threefold land grant mission: research, teaching, and service.

Finally, we call for WSU's administration to commit to the kind of fiscal accountability and transparency appropriate to a publicly-funded land grant institution.

*We recognize that the salaries listed on http://fiscal.wa.gov/salaries.aspx may include internal and external grants and subsidies. This proposal is restricted only to salaries and internal WSU funding; we also recognize that not all administrative appointments are listed on this website. 

Current Number of Signers: