BELLINGHAM, WA -- Western Washington University officials are reacting to criticism for handing out big pay raises in the new contract between the university and its faculty union.
Governor Chris Gregoire recently sent Western President Bruce Shepard a letter taking him to task for approving "significant salary increases" during "the worst economic times in 80 years."
University spokesman Steve Swan says the pay raises are part of western's commitment to provide the best faculty for its students.
He added that Western's faculty hasn't seen a compensation increase since 2008. Gregoire added in her letter that she sincerely hopes "the faculty salary increases will not be paid for by the tuition increases Western imposed upon its students."
Swan says with 70 percent of the school's budget now coming from tuition, it "goes without saying" that the pay raises would be paid for in part by students.