On Friday, April 16, 2004, a new chancellor was installed at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington. The installation, which took place after Rosemary DePaolo had been serving as chancellor for nine months, was accompanied by a week of special events that included a speech by a former United States Senate majority leader.
In the midst of recent criticism that a) the university has been spending too much money on speakers, and b) the speakers always seem to be Democrats; the university hired George Mitchell (D-Maine) to speak for about an hour for the sum of $40,000. Mitchell?s fee shows that he really cares about hire education. I mean, higher education. It also serves as a reminder that the Democrats are the party of the people.
Given the billion-dollar state budget deficit, many are questioning the wisdom of funding such a ceremony, which will cost around $100,000, after all is said and done. Instead of all of the pomp and circumstance, many believe that our budget crisis calls for an administration that is less pompous and more circumspect in its use of public funds.
The students are particularly angry because news of the expense of the installation came shortly after news that their tuition will be increasing several hundred dollars per semester, effective next year. Several students have come by my office recently to borrow paper because the computer labs are out. Some of the labs are also out of toner. And, sadly, other labs have reduced their hours of operation because the university can no longer pay the salaries of those who run them.
All the while the university continues to spend money on forums centered on ?diversity? issues. Of course, these ?forums? feature university-funded speakers who just happen to share the political perspective of the liberal administrators. The speakers are paid to parrot the political views of these administrators while students? basic educational needs are being neglected. Some students would like to write a letter to complain but they can?t because the university is running out of paper.
Many faculty members are upset about the administration?s fiscal irresponsibility, although most lack the courage to complain publicly. While the professors haven?t had raises in four years, the salary for the chancellor continues to skyrocket in the midst of the state?s deep budget crisis. In 1993, the chancellor of UNCW made less than $100,000. Ten years later, DePaolo was given a starting salary of $205,000. Thus, the position has seen a pay increase of over 100% in just a decade.