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SFA regents vote to roll back president’s $85K raise

Published: Sep. 6, 2021 at 1:46 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 6, 2021 at 6:28 PM CDT
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NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KTRE) - Following concern and criticism for accepting a raise earlier this year, Stephen F. Austin State University President Scott Gordon asked for his old salary back. Regents granted the request at noon Monday in a special called meeting. The president and regents are still facing fallout.

In a video conferencing special called meeting SFA President Scott Gordon requested an $85,000 raise be rolled back. Regents approved.

“The board supports Dr. Gordon wholeheartedly and appreciates his leadership in rejecting his amended contract and requesting a return to his prior salary,” said Karen Gannt, SFA Regent’s chair.

Gordon will once again make $365,000 annually, an amount the regents began studying back in January.

“The board had reviewed compensation of presidents and chancellors at peer institutions and determined the compensation for the president at SFA was, in fact, too low,” explained Graham Garner, chief marketing communications officer for SFA.

Recently, President Gordon began a letter to the SFA community stating, “I am aware of the concern and criticism being shared about some compensation issues during this time of significant budget issues.”

As the president spent the day meeting faculty and student leaders, Garner spoke in the president’s behalf.

“I think recognizing that there was going to be some discussion about it and recognizing the timing than it was a decision to say, ‘we need to pay attention to the concerns people have and be responsive to that and make adjustments,” explained Garner.

Regents voted on the $450,000 salary and extended contract in April, Gordon stated, “before the picture of serious budget challenges became clear this summer.”

In a regents meeting Feb. 1, discussion focused on dropping enrollment and revenue. At the time, Dr. Gordon described SFA’s financial status, as “a very tenuous situation right now.”

The raise is rescinded, yet originally placed in the budget when furloughs, layoffs, and offered early retirements were happening.

Dr. Gordon states, “Our focus must be on the difficult task ahead of righting our fiscal ship.”

Critics say the contents of this year’s fiscal budget caused the tip.

The first faculty senate meeting is slated for Wednesday. A student protest is also in the works. We were told shortly before news time that President Gordon was meeting with students and student organizations about their concerns.

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