Ottawa faculty criticize university for “redundant” executive pay

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The Association of Professors of the University of Ottawa (APUO) has revealed that the University of Ottawa’s Vice President of Research, Mona Nemer, is receiving additional pay on top of her executive salary. Working with Ontario’s public sector disclosure data (aka the Sunshine List), APUO was able to determine that Nemer receives $30,000 a year in addition to her base pay ($274,059). This stipend was paid out in a four-year lump sum in 2014, boosting Nemer’s salary to $392,059.

Quoted in the Ottawa Citizen, APUO President Jennifer Dekker said that this level of executive pay is unacceptable for a university claiming budgetary hardship.

“[The administration are] constantly barraging us with all these communications regarding a structural deficit, meanwhile you’re paying somebody this much extra money in a year,” said Decker.

The UOttawa pay scandal comes just months after it was revealed that Western University’s President, Amit Chakma, received almost a million dollars in pay in 2013-14, twice his contractual salary. Senior administrative salaries are supposed to be frozen in Ontario, yet there is increasing evidence that this requirement is being flouted through a variety of tactics, like special stipends, benefit payouts, and frequent promotions.

Together, these examples suggest a worrying lack of oversight and control over the salaries of senior university administrators in Ontario. It also demonstrates the value of detailed financial analysis of university budgets to faculty associations seeking to hold their administrations to account.

You can read the open letter from APUO to the University of Ottawa administration here.

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