CU President Mark Kennedy to forego $200,000 bonus after outcry

After facing criticism from University of Colorado faculty and staff, President Mark Kennedy announced Thursday he will not collect the $200,000 bonus outlined in his contract as an incentive for completing parts of his job such as initiating a strategic planning process and reaching out to government leaders and donors.

Instead, Kennedy will donate $150,000 of that bonus to the endowed scholarship fund for first-generation students from rural communities that he and his wife, Debbie Kennedy, established, and he will forego the remaining $50,000.

“I recognize that the contract milestones that allowed me to reach my full salary distract from our work on the difficult budget situation COVID-19 is causing the university,” Kennedy said in a written statement Thursday.

CU campuses, like many higher education institutions across the state and country, are reeling from economic hardship due to impacts from the global pandemic, worsened by the fact that Colorado’s state funding for higher education is among the lowest in the nation. 

CU Boulder began executing layoffs in April, the Daily Camera newspaper reported.

A bleak, initial budget analysis for 2020-2021 forecast a loss of at least tens of millions of dollars for the university, with budget-balancing options including a reduction or elimination of planned compensation increases, employee furloughs and layoffs.

In late April, the Daily Camera reported Kennedy would receive  $200,000 in bonuses on top of his $650,000 first-year salary, which bumps up to $850,000 a year beginning next month.

More than 150 CU Boulder staff and faculty signed onto a letter to university leadership questioning why the system president was receiving a bonus in a time of financial turmoil.

CU Regent Glen Gallegos, the board’s chair, told the Daily Camera on Wednesday that the media characterized the money as a bonus when it was actually an “incentive salary” for “attaining performance objectives.”

“We have considerable work to do to ensure the University of Colorado meets the challenges ahead and continues to fulfill its mission of serving our students and our state, and I look forward to working to that end with all of those who care about CU and Colorado’s future,” Kennedy said in his statement.

Source: Read Full Article