UBC president resignation raises questions about administration salaries

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News broke last week that UBC President Arvind Gupta was resigning just one year into his contract. It was further revealed that Gupta would receive another full year of his presidential pay – almost $500,000. This is the latest incident around senior administrative salaries that suggests poor transparency and oversight of salary decisions at the highest level.

UBC faculty are working to get an explanation from the UBC Board of Governor’s for Gupta’s sudden departure. A resignation so soon in a presidential term will create significant uncertainty for the institution, and faculty are rightfully concerned with the process by which this occurred.

Gupta’s resignation follows such high profile presidential scandals as Western University President Amit Chakma’s double salary payout, in which he stood to receive almost $1 million dollars. Huge overpayments and sudden resignations hint at a larger problem in Canada’s universities: poor transparency that allow Board of Governors to negotiate with Presidents with no oversight from the campus community.
In a Globe and Mail article, OCUFA President Judy Bates said:

“We are concerned about the size of the [presidential] salaries and how they are negotiated. What we see is a series of incidents where presidents have been receiving additional payments as stipends, or payments out of certain clauses of their contract.”

OCUFA will be working with its member associations to develop strategies to improve campus oversight of senior administration salaries, with the goal of increasing transparency and improving university governance across the province.

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