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By most accounts, UND now trails when it comes to faculty salaries, ranking 50th out of 50 states. That situation must change.  

The most recent Legislature knew of the ranking, yet still upped salaries a mere 2 percent. (Judy DeMers was a member of that Legislature). UND boosters may have to change their tactics in order to secure the raises faculty members deserve. Clearly the evidence presented to the Legislature so far hasn't been persuasive.

Gov. Ed Schafer said the universities may rank last in terms of salaries, but the state's near the top when it comes to per-capita spending on higher ed. North Dakota's small and comparatively poor population and already-strapped taxpayers will probably agree to pay if presented with hard data about the low salaries' effect on UND.

North Dakotan's need to know not only about this or that department having trouble recruiting. But also exactly how many candidates have turned UND down for positions. How many professors have left for other colleges? Who are they? What did the loss of their services mean for the university? And what are the dollar figures of the various salaries involved? North Dakotans also need to be aware or just how much money UND Administrators waste but not complying with published regulations which leads to financial losses and creditability problems.

North Dakotans must be convinced beyond a shadow of a doubt that the low salaries are hurting their university system. All of this puts school officials in a tough spot.

No more making do with less, or putting a good face on a bad situation. The fact is, recruiting's down, retention's worse, and educational quality is suffering. In short, UND Professors need a fat raise and UND must settle old yet unresolved disputes, salvage the school's creditability so all can move forward.

Reference: Grand Forks Herald, June 2, 1999