OU’s Student Senate has formed a committee to investigate the way student tuition dollars are being used to compensate university officials.
Ohio University Student Senate members believe President Roderick McDavis is overpaid.
McDavis’ total compensation, which senate calculated after reviewing documents obtained through a records request, to be around $659,000.
The figure sparked a debate among attendees at Wednesday’s senate meeting.
McDavis’ total compensation includes a retirement plan, vehicle stipend, and other benefits. His base pay is $465,000.
Senate’s recently formed Administrative Accountability Committee gave the presentation. The group was formed following the fifth-consecutive tuition hike at OU, and pay raises for the 10 highest paid university administrators.
The committee was created to “explore the benefits and compensation” of top university officials, said Will Klatt, senate’s Governmental Affairs commissioner. He added that the committee would look into “structural sexism” within the university, as well as student employee wages.
“We have high expectations for the institution, and we’re looking at putting forth a new model that would be more equitable,” Klatt said. “There are thousands of students on this campus that are going to be graduating with an enormous amount of debt. At the same time, there are people working here now that will leave millionaires.”
The committee’s concrete goals remain somewhat unclear. Klatt said he and members of the committee are still working to determine what the group’s next moves will be, and who they will partner with to continue discussions about OU’s administration.
“What we’re looking for is a route forward that will lead to students, faculty and staff having a real seat at the table,” Klatt said.
The university is reviewing its employees’ compensation packages, said Stephanie Filson, director of external communications, in an email.
“We are currently in the midst of a university-wide compensation review with the end goal of making all Ohio employee compensation more market-driven across the board,” Filson said.
During the open-forum discussion that followed the presentation, several senate members aired their grievances with the way OU compensates its employees.
Some pointed to OU’s location in one of Ohio’s poorest counties as support for why university executives should be making less money. Others, including Klatt, avoided market justifications, grounding their arguments on ethics.
“There are thousands of students who are being paid unfairly, which amounts to labor theft,” Klatt said after the meeting.
Kevin Hill, a junior studying business and finance, weighed in on the discussion about administrative pay. Hill said he believes it is essential to compare administrative salaries at OU to those at similar institutions before jumping to conclusions.
“I have no problem with looking into salaries, but you have to benchmark them,” Hill said. “You can’t just look at a number and say, ‘overpaid.’ ”