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Oklahoma State president recommends raises for faculty, staff

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OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) _ Oklahoma State University President David Schmidly has recommended regents take money from planned pay raises for top administrators and instead increase the pay of the school's faculty and staff members.

In the executive session of the Board of Regents' meeting Friday, Schmidly recommended the board redirect about $5 million originally intended for his vice presidents and provost. The board will vote on the raises at its September meeting. If approved, the raises would take effect in October.

Schmidly's recommendation would give a 1 percent pay increase to all faculty members plus merit raises based on performance. The merit raises would average between 3.5 percent and 4 percent of faculty members' current salaries.

All staff members who received a satisfactory rating on their most recent job appraisal would receive a 2 percent raise plus additional raises on merit. The average merit raise would total 3 percent of staff employees' total current salaries.

Lionel Raff, president of the school's Faculty Council, said pay increases are necessary to keep top professors. Raff recommended regents use $10 million to bring Oklahoma State's faculty salaries up to the Big 12 average.

``We're losing professors because OSU has the lowest salaries in the Big 12,'' Raff said. ``We need to close that hole in the dam so we don't lose our bright young stars.''

Raff, who is a regents professor in the chemistry department, said four of the 16 faculty members in the department have resigned in the last six months. The professors had offers from Michigan State University, the University of Missouri, the University of Kansas and Texas Tech University.

``They walked out the door with $2 million to $3 million in research grants,'' Raff said.

Raff also thanked the board for hiring 26 new faculty members to help make up for faculty positions that were lost during budget cuts, but urged regents to adopt a plan to fill 74 remaining vacancies on the main campus in Stillwater.
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