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Big pay raise for Michigan State president

Dec 13, 2014

EAST LANSING    (AP) - The president of Michigan State University is getting a raise - whether she likes it or not.

  Trustees raised Lou Anna Simon's salary by 44 percent Friday to $750,000 and awarded her a $100,000 bonus. Simon has declined raises since 2007 and donated bonuses back to the university.

  Trustees say they greatly appreciate Simon's modesty and generosity. But they say it's important to keep compensation in line with presidents at other schools, especially when Simon decides to retire and the job opens.

MSU President Lou Anna K. Simon
Credit Steve Carmody / Michigan Radio

Joel Ferguson, the chairman of MSU's governing board, says trustees won't apologize for giving Simon what she deserves.

  Simon has been president for nearly 10 years. She says she respects the board's decision but still plans to give money back to MSU. She and husband Roy have donated more than $1 million, including her $125,000 bonus last year.

  Trustee Faylene Owen says she's "astonished and awestruck" by Simon's time as president.

  But the size of the raise was too much for at least one student. Duncan Tarr, a junior, says students attending the same board meeting pleaded for help in getting more counselors and money for a campus group dealing with sexual assault.