College presidential salaries will have limits

10/21/2005 6:41:59 AM
Daily Journal


By ANDY KANENGISER


Daily Journal





TUPELO - Boosters will see limits placed on their future salary supplements to Mississippi university presidents.


The state College Board on Thursday adopted a new policy saying private foundation supplements to school presidents must be less than their state salary.


The policy takes effect immediately.


In a statement, Mississippi higher education commissioner Tom Meredith said the new policy clarifies the relationship between the board, school presidents and university foundations. Meredith and board members could not be reached after the meeting in Jackson.


At least one Mississippi State University foundation member didn't object to the change. "As long as we keep it equal or slightly less, it would not be a problem,'' said Bryce Griffis of Starkville, a former College Board member.


Providing substantial supplements "makes it easier to hire presidents,'' said Griffis, who ended 16 years on the board in May.


In recent years, the board has encouraged alumni and others who contribute to foundations to enhance presidential salaries to stay competitive with pay nationwide. While pay for school presidents looks steep in the eyes of some lawmakers and other Mississippians, "it is not out of line in the marketplace,'' Griffis said.


MSU President Charles Lee has the biggest salary package. His $200,000 state salary is topped by $200,000 from the MSU Foundation. University of Mississippi Chancellor Robert Khayat also receives $200,000 in state salary, fattened by $160,000 from the Ole Miss Foundation.


"Our foundation is very supportive of me,'' Lee said, but declined further comment on the issue. Khayat could not be reached.


Pay for school presidents at universities and some community colleges exceeds salaries for a number of state leaders. Gov. Haley Barbour receives $122,600 annually.


Griffis said he expects MSU's foundation board to discuss the issue at a meeting on the Starkville campus today.





University president's compensation


SCHOOL STATE SALARY FOUNDATION
MSU $200,000 $200,000
Ole Miss $200,000 $160,000
Alcorn $175,000 0
DSU $175,000 $25,000
JSU $200,000 0
MUW $175,000 0
MVSU $175,000 0
USM $200,000 $50,000