Wilmington College board OKs up to $200K for staff/faculty salary pool with immediate distribution; approves annual 3% hike in salary pool for 5 years


News Journal report



WILMINGTON — Faculty and staff compensation “has been a popular topic for discussion this year at Wilmington College, and WC’s Board of Trustees addressed the issue at its quarterly meeting April 29 and 30,” according to a Wednesday news release from the college.

Board of Trustees Chair Rich Sidwell announced the board’s “approval of two steps proposed by the administration to improve the salaries of faculty and staff at the College.”

A faculty group said on Wednesday it is pleased by the action, and hopes it is the beginning of further remediation of salaries.

Sidwell said, “First, the board approved the reallocation of an amount not to exceed $200,000 in the existing budget for a salary pool for immediate distribution at presidential discretion to support the compensation of our valued faculty and staff.

“Second, it approved the projected budget with a 3 percent annual increase to the faculty and staff salary pool over a five-year period. The reallocated funds and annual increase will compound and yield, together with benefits, a more competitive compensation package.”

The college’s news release continued, “This action is an affirmation that faculty and staff well-being is an important measure of the College’s overall success and is in alignment with its Quaker values,” Sidwell said. “The board took these steps in a time of extraordinary challenges in higher education. They recognize with gratitude the fundamental importance of faculty and staff in the fulfillment of the mission of Wilmington College.”

The News Journal requested and received a comment from the Wilmington College Advocacy Chapter of the American Association of University Professors (AAUP). The chapter organized an on-campus April 20 teach-in which focused on what they said are substandard faculty salaries.

“The Wilmington College AAUP is pleased that its demand for a living wage for faculty and staff has begun to be addressed by the Board of Trustees and College administration,” the AAUP stated. “We appreciate that the voices of faculty, staff, and students have been heard and that the Board of Trustees and President recognize how important improving salaries is to the college’s future.

“We also value the time and energy devoted by the Board and administration to this first step in remediating salaries, which have not kept pace with the cost of living and inflation for over 15 years. We believe that this initial outlay is just the first step to improving conditions for all WC employees,” the AAUP statement concludes.

According to an AAUP letter to the editor that ran in the April 22 News Journal, Wilmington College faculty salaries on average are $8,518 below their peers at comparable institutions.

In addition to the AAUP local chapter, a students-led group named Students for Action and Solidarity publicly raised concerns last fall when it advocated and used nonviolent direct action campaigning for better compensation for WC faculty and staff, as well as supporting changes on three other campus community matters.

Contacted Wednesday afternoon, a Students for Action and Solidarity member said the group’s Organizing Committee would work to get the News Journal a statement about the announced compensation steps.

“The Organizing Committee of Students for Action and Solidarity is glad to finally see action taken by the Board of Trustees to begin to improve Wilmington College employee compensation. We look forward to witnessing more progress not only with wages as the AAUP has outlined but also through the raising of staff salaries, transparency in wages, and gender pay equity.

“But, this announcement does feel like a step in the right direction. We further hope to see more action in addressing the issues related to LGBTQ+ students, Title IX, and accessibility [improvements in access at two campus buildings for people with mobility issues],” the statement concludes.

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News Journal report