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Wednesday, July 30 2014 @ 06:16 PM CDT

UCF President Hitt receives raise despite student protest

Not everyone was on board with the UCF Board of Trustees’ decision to increase President John C. Hitt’s pay. Student groups showed up to the meeting Thursday to protest the raise. The Board approved a $26,500 base salary raise for Hitt, bringing his base salary from $463,500 to $490,000 — a 5.7 percent increase. This is the first salary increase he’s received since 2006, according to UCF.

UCF President Hitt receives raise despite student protest

Story by David Carriere
Knightbeat

Not everyone was on board with the UCF Board of Trustees’ decision to increase President John C. Hitt’s pay. Student groups showed up to the meeting Thursday to protest the raise.

The Board approved a $26,500 base salary raise for Hitt, bringing his base salary from $463,500 to $490,000 — a 5.7 percent increase. This is the first salary increase he’s received since 2006, according to UCF.

Public funds account for $200,000 of Hitt’s compensation; the rest is provided by donors and nonpublic funding.

Hitt was the ninth highest paid university president in fiscal year 2011, according to the Chronicle of Higher Education.

According to UCF, the raise was based on a comprehensive assessment of Hitt’s current salary by an individual consultant, Paul McConnell of McConnell and Company, and the Compensation and Labor Committee, which concluded that Hitt deserved the “modest increase.”

Members of the UCF Student Labor Action Project and several other registered student organizations stood protesting Hitt’s raise outside the meeting in the Live Oak Center in Ferrell Commons. They wore shirts that read, “Students in debt,” and held a sign reading, “We tightened our belts, you tighten yours. No $26,500 raise!”

At about 1 p.m., roughly an hour before the raise decision was made, the student protest members filed into the room to hear the decision. They quietly left after the raise was approved.

Curtis Hierro, a member of the Dream Defenders group, said he was frustrated with the fact that Hitt received a raise as students’ tuitions were raised again this year.

“If they understand what students are going through,” Hierro said. “They could use that money that they gave to Hitt for the salary increase; we can invest that for students here in programs like scholarships, other financial opportunities, stuff like that.

Some of the trustees spoke up in favor of Hitt’s raise at the meeting.

UCF Student Government Association President Cortez Whatley was the only Board of Trustees member to vote no on the increase.

Whatley told other members that although he commends the job Hitt has been doing for the university, he doesn’t think now is the best time for a pay raise.

“No doubt, we all know that President Hitt is one of the best university presidents in the state, a revolutionary leader and … one of the best university presidents in the nation. I think that in times of our budget cuts and the economic situation … this sends a very bad message to … students that I represent in my constituency,” Whatley said.

http://knightlynews.cos.ucf.edu/?p=11884

http://www.wftv.com/news/news/local/ucf-students-protest-university-presidents-propose/nS7H7/

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