EKU says no pay raises next year

Eastern Kentucky University President Doug Whitlock informed the university's faculty and staff via e-mail Monday that they won't be getting salary increases next year.

"I hope you will understand the realities of the economy's impact on our budgetary situation that necessitates this," Whitlock wrote. "The simple fact of the matter is that what new dollars we will have next year after the two percent budget cut and a four percent tuition increase will do no more than fund the fixed and unavoidable cost increases in utilities, insurance, etc., that the university must pay to keep open its doors."

EKU joins a growing list of Kentucky colleges and universities that are likely to freeze employee salaries for the 2009-10 academic year.

Whitlock said he will formally recommend holding the salaries at current levels to the Board of Regents.

University of Kentucky officials forecast earlier this month that raises aren't going to happen next year and that some job cuts are possible.

"At this point, I am unaware of any Kentucky university that plans to provide base salary improvement for the coming year," Whitlock wrote.

Whitlock said EKU administrators hope to "improve our benefits package, as well as find some possible one-time compensation benefits."

UK is employing a similar strategy by absorbing all the annual increase in health care costs for next year.

Still, Whitlock pledged to the university's 2,200 full-time faculty and staff that he hasn't forgotten that EKU reached all key salary benchmarks and goals a decade ago.

"We were the best-paying comprehensive university in Kentucky," he said. "I have no higher personal goal than to return us to those positions."