By MIRIAM MOELLER
Journal Staff Writer
MARQUETTE - Despite protest from some Northern Michigan University Board of Trustees, NMU President Les Wong rejected a $10,000 salary increase at a board meeting Friday.
“I think it’s just bad form ... I think it’s important to lead by example.” — NMU President, Les Wong
"I think it's just bad form," Wong said of taking a raise during such gloomy economic times. "I think it's important to lead by example. I think it's something that Phyllis and I can do to move this institution forward."
NMU ex officio board member Douglas Roberts said he believes Wong has done an incredible job and he deserves a raise.
"I guess I understand your feeling of the budget situation," said Trustee Larry Inman. "Hats off to you in terms of showing that leadership. (But) we also have to be cognitive of our team here maintaining a competitive range in terms of compensation."
In the end, the board accepted Wong's request to have his salary frozen at $194,000 for 2009-10.
Despite protest by NMU Board of Trustee Gilbert Ziegler, the board also approved its 2009-10 room and board fees for NMU students - up $204 or 2.75 percent for the school year.
"I have a problem with the financial increases," Ziegler said. "Seeing what's happened with Chrysler ... I just have a hard time that we're raising room and board."
Roberts said he understands Ziegler's position but also said he feels the increase is done at a time when it is still possible without dire consequences.
"It's good to have this discussion here and now," Trustee Brian Cloyd said, adding that he agrees with the increase. "We have to keep a balance between the quality we're providing and our watchful eye on cost."
In the end, the board voted unanimously to increase room, board and housing fees to approximately $7,840 annually. Last May, the board approved an increase in these fees of $416, up from $7,220 to 7,636.
In other business, the board: