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BHE gives raises to college presidents -- but some board members say they're still underpaid

The state Board of Higher Education has voted to give the college and university presidents raises of six percent.

But some board members say the presidents are still underpaid.

Board member Nick Hacker noted that the vice-chancellors and staff in the North Dakota University System office have received equity adjustments.

"For tow years, we have been talking about how our presidents are under-compensated, and not just by a little bit," Hacker said. "Some are significantly under-compensated. And here we sit — we made equity adjustments for everybody, except for those presidents. And it's far too long that we kicked this can down the road."

A study is being done to look at the salaries of the presidents. Hacker proposed that – once the study has been done, the Board needs to take some action --- or the equity adjustments given to the vice-chancellors be rescinded.

Chancellor Mark Hagerott said the proposal caught him by surprise.

"I can assure you that many campuses were giving equity raises to their staff to keep them, so they won't lose people," Hagerott said. "We have highly qualified staff (in the system office), and you've heard people praise them. This doesn't send a real strong retention signal to them."

The Board voted 6 to 2 in favor of Hacker’s proposal.

The Board voted to renew Hagerott’s contract for another two years.

The Board is also increasing his salary by 6 percent. That brings his salary to $424,035.

The vote was 7 to one. The lone “no” vote came from Jeffry Volk of Fargo.