- The Washington Times - Tuesday, February 21, 2006

Officials for the University of the District of Columbia have approved a 40 percent increase in undergraduate tuition over the next two years and a 6.4 percent pay raise for its highest-paid administrators that the UDC Board of Trustees rejected three years ago.

The pay raise, which would be retroactive to the date of the originally proposed salary increase in 2003, would give an additional tens of thousands of dollars to UDC’s top executives.

Meanwhile, UDC faculty are locked in arbitration with school officials over a new contract that would include a cost-of-living adjustment, officials say. Faculty members last received a pay raise — of 6.4 percent — in 2003, their first since 1998.

Undergraduate tuition for D.C. residents will rise from $75 per credit hour to $90 per credit hour this fall and to $105 per credit hour next year. Tuition for nonresidents will increase from $185 per credit hour to $200 per credit hour this fall and to $215 per credit hour next year.

“They don’t want this university to survive,” said UDC senior Dana Hollins, 26, a TV production major from Silver Spring. “I came because it’s an affordable place to come study. I don’t think it’s fair for them to raise it because I don’t think we’d get anything in return.”

Sydney O. Hall, president of the UDC Senate, said: “The reasons for the tuition increase to me were just woefully inadequate.”

“When I see the vast majority of our students are working and have families — to take a couple of thousand from them to me is indisputably wrong,” he said.

Faculty and student protests over the administrators’ pay raise in 2003 prompted the Board of Trustees to reject the increase and freeze the salaries of seven of UDC’s top executives because they were new to the school. Several of the executives are friends of UDC President William L. Pollard.

The 10-member board voted unanimously Jan. 17 to approve the executive pay raise and the tuition increase. Seven new trustees joined the board since the original pay raise was rejected in 2003.

The money for the pay raise has been included in the school’s budget since 2003, when D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams approved the increase as a “cost-of-living allowance,” UDC officials say.

Seven UDC executives — six of whom earn more than $100,000 a year — will receive the 6.4 percent raise. Mr. Pollard, whose $200,000-a-year salary is one of the highest in the D.C. government, will not receive the increase.

“The rationale [for the salary freeze] generally was that the budget was extremely tight back then,” said trustee Donald N. Langenberg, who was on the board in 2003.

“Now, with stronger support from the District and the tuition increase, we’ve got a little bit of money to spend on the largest category of expenses the university has, namely, people.”

The pay raise would bring UDC executive salaries in line with national university salaries, officials say. For example, the national median salary for a executive vice president was $145,000 last year. Ernest Jolly, who fills that position at UDC, earns $133,117 a year.

Enrollment at UDC, the District’s only public university, numbered 5,364 students in the fall, compared with 5,164 in 2004 and 5,241 in 2003, officials said.

The District recently provided funds for improving UDC facilities, which officials have used to repair campus bathrooms, among other necessities. Other long-standing problems such as falling plaster and peeling paint remain.

In addition to undergraduate tuition, graduate tuition for residents will increase from $198 per credit hour to $225 per credit hour this fall. Graduate tuition for nonresidents will rise from $329 per credit hour to $350 per credit hour this fall.

The tuition increase will be used to fund more repairs and upgrade academic programs and equipment, officials say.

Mr. Williams, who appointed Mr. Pollard in 2002, is satisfied with the actions of the UDC board, whose members he appoints.

“The mayor supports Doctor Pollard and believes he has made good progress at UDC,” said Williams spokesman Vincent Morris. “He’s not going to second-guess any decisions made over there by the president or by the board.”

D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat and chairman of the education committee, said she thinks the board did the right thing.

“Them approving the pay increase may not have been something that I would’ve done,” said Mrs. Patterson, who is running for council chairman. “But it is the purview of the board … to make that decision — so I have confidence that they have not made a mistake.”

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