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Resolution 12: Request for Report on Executive Compensation

09/16/2010

Whereas, The Commonfund Institute, which calculates the annual Higher Education Price Index (HEPI) figure, stated that administrative salaries and fringe-benefit costs showed the biggest increases.

Whereas, according to the HEPI figure, in 2009 Administrative salaries nation-wide increased by 5.4%, up from 5.0% a year earlier.

Whereas, the trend in higher education reveals a continuing climb in Administrative salaries, as faculty and staff salary increases decline.

Whereas, all available statistics from Cornell University’s IRS 990 form show that Cornell is following this nation-wide trend.

Whereas, Cornell University is in part a land-grant institution and as such, benefits from tax-payer money.

Whereas, all public institutions are required to publish the salaries of their employees in order to provide transparency to the tax-payer.

Whereas, publishing Administrative salaries would ensure that Cornell becomes more fiscally responsible, as it would be more responsive to financial pressures.

Whereas, Cornell University recently announced a steep, 7.9% increase in tuition for students in the land-grant colleges and an increase for students in the endowed colleges by 4.5%.

Whereas, President Skorton and Provost Fuchs have declared their support for reigning in Administrative salaries by voluntarily taking a 10% pay cut in 2009 amidst the financial crisis. But it is also worth noting that President Skorton received a 14.5% increase in salary from 2007 to 2008.

Whereas, a fiscally responsible Cornell should be prepared to justify its increases in Administrative salaries, and should be responsible to the New York tax payers who are subsidizing the institution.

Whereas, the Cornell Annual Report contains information about the state of the University, including its revenues, expenditures, assets, growth prospects, and leadership philosophy.

Whereas, the Cornell Annual Report lists the names and titles of the Universities top Administrators, which includes less than 50 individuals.

Whereas, a similar Annual Report on Executive Compensation will help to clarify the fiscal state of the University and will contribute to a more transparent human resources allocation, which is, by far, Cornell’s largest expenditure.

Whereas, such an action for the sake of transparency is small compared to the transparency enforced by public institutions in which all salaries are made public, not just the top Administrators.

Whereas, public institutions such as UC-Berkley, University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, University of Virginia, University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill, and many others, are still able to retain and recruit top Administrators despite their public disclosures of compensation.

Be it therefore resolved, that the Student Assembly recommends that the department of Human Resources release an annual report, hereafter known as the Annual Report on Executive Compensation, disclosing a Summary Compensation Table of all Administrators listed in the Cornell Annual and Financial Report.

Be it further resolved, that the Student Assembly recommends that the department of Human Resources include in the Annual Report on Executive Compensation, comprehensive disclosures of the philosophy and rationalization behind executive compensation policies in clear and plain English.

Be it further resolved, that the Student Assembly recommends that the Annual Report on Executive Compensation disclose the University’s specific policies with regard to performance-based compensation payment outcomes for all Administrators listed in the Cornell Annual and Financial Report.

Be it further resolved, that the Student Assembly recommends that the Annual Executive Compensation Report require disclosure of the ratio of the President’s total annual compensation compared to the median total annual compensation of all employees other than the President.  “Total annual compensation” for this purpose means the total compensation amount reported in the Summary Compensation Table.

Be it finally resolved, that the Student Assembly recommends that the Annual Executive Compensation Report be published on the Cornell University website for public viewing.

Respectfully submitted,

Andrew Brokman ‘11
At-Large Representative

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