Oregon university executives asked to endure pay cuts

EUGENE — Executives at Oregon's seven public universities are being asked to agree to pay cuts to help deal with the state's budget slide.

Statewide, both union and nonunion state employees are being asked to give up contracted raises or take unpaid furloughs to help close an $855 million budget gap, the Eugene Register-Guard reported Thursday on its Web site.

For the university system, that means another $37 million will be cut from its remaining budget on top of a $9 million reduction last year.

Forty Southern Oregon University employees, including President Mary Cullinan, volunteered to take a pay cut, according to SOU spokesman Jim Beaver.

"We had employees from the president all the way to janitors stepping up to take pay cuts," Beaver said.

The cuts would allow the university to create a fund that would absorb additional economic shocks that could be coming down the pipe this year, Beaver said.

"We also had several employees asking if they could make donations directly to the university," Beaver said.

Beaver said he did not know the exact percentage by which Cullinan agreed to cut her salary.

The university system is negotiating with unions over pay cuts but getting similar concessions from nonunion employees is trickier because most nonunion workers are either faculty on a fixed appointment or administrators on one-year employment contracts.

Universities can't change the terms of those contracts unilaterally, so they are seeking voluntary cuts.

Mail Tribune reporter Chris Conrad contributed to this story.

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