Michael Young, the incoming University of Washington president, does not earn $723,595 a year in his current role as head of the University of Utah. This bears emphasizing, because The Seattle Times and a handful of other papers have reported that Young made just that for the 2009-10 school year, a figure taken from a confusing report in The Chronicle of Higher Education. And if you believe that Young's income was $723,595, then it seems like a short distance to match predecessor Mark Emmert's controversial annual compensation of $905,000.
So why did the Chronicle report earlier this month that Young's earnings were $300,000 higher? It's a matter of timing, Esplin explains. During the 2009-10 year, Young received a lump sum of $375,000 that was an accumulation of five years' worth of deferred income. Each year, a private foundation had put aside $75,000 for Young, which he was to receive if he stayed the full five years. The private money supplemented his taxpayer-funded income of $348,000. So his true yearly income is his base salary plus $75,000.
Esplin says he "complained loudly" to the Chronicle about its grossly higher compensation figure for Young. (Chronicle spokesperson Micheal Solomon said the publication actually provided two compensation figures this year for each university president it listed in its annual report on earnings, and only one of the figures included payments from deferred compensation. But the report doesn't indicate whether the payments were for one or multiple years.)
Therefore, it's still true, as we suggested when Young's name first surfaced as a candidate for UW prez, that there seems to be no need for Washington's taxpayers to shell out once again for an excessive salary.
Young, by all accounts a man of great decency and intellect, would have to have a lot of chutzpah to demand a $500,000 raise--especially in these economic times, which has the legislature brutalizing UW's budget and approving dramatic tuition hikes. (See UW meteorologist Cliff Mass' suggestion for how to become an instant campus hero by donating some of his salary for student scholarships.) And if Young did issue such a demand, the university would be well advised to turn him down.
UPDATE: Young joked at a news conference yesterday about the salary issue, saying "it's probably inevitable I'll accept less," according to a Times story today, which again cited the $723,595 figure.