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WCU Faculty Asks Board Of Trustees For Cost Of Living Increase

Lilly Knoepp
WCU students went back to class on January 25th, 2021.

Today, Western Carolina University Faculty Senate presented the Board of Trustees with a request: they need a salary increase.

“They asked a lot of questions so that was super positive,” said Kadance Otto, chair of the Faculty Senate.

Otto said faculty hasn’t received seen their pay increase in line with cost-of-living since 2008.

“To me, a raise is something above the cost of living because that is something that is more than the average rate of inflation. So at bare minimum we are simply asking to keep up with inflation,” said Otto.

Faculty pay comes from the North Carolina state legislature since Western Carolina is part of the UNC system. The faculty and staff are state employees. Western Carolina acknowledged this relationship in a statement and thanked the legislature for being a good partner through funding of recent programs like NC Promise and other capital funds including the steam plant and new STEM building.

“Continued investment in higher education is exactly what our region and state need to create learning opportunities and propel economic development and we know the NC General Assembly has and will continue to demonstrate this commitment,” said a Western Carolina spokesperson in an email.

According to the statement, the legislature put salary increases into last year’s budget that change was never enacted. The legislature is back in session and working on the budget.

Otto said the next step is to get the support of the statewide UNC system faculty assembly.

Western Carolina University is a business sponsor of Blue Ridge Public Radio.

Lilly Knoepp serves as BPR’s first fulltime reporter covering Western North Carolina. She is a native of Franklin, NC who returns to WNC after serving as the assistant editor of Women@Forbes and digital producer of the Forbes podcast network. She holds a master’s degree in international journalism from the City University of New York and earned a double major from UNC-Chapel Hill in religious studies and political science.
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