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Thursday, April 18, 2024

So UF President Bernie Machen got almost ,300,000 in bonuses from the UF Foundation right before Christmas. It was approved by the UF Board of Trustees.

But has he been naughty or nice this year? Let's check Santa's list.

He failed to meet his goal of making UF a top-10 public school - in fact, UF regressed on the list. He helped raise tuition without immediate benefits. Even his Florida Tomorrow fundraiser failed to address the debt UF faces.

Don't forget, he gets his reward on top of bonuses for his car and his retirement, among other things.

In other lines of work, his reward wouldn't make sense. Why pay a fast-food worker extra cash for missing work half the time? Should a doctor get a bonus if his treatment made patients worse? Maybe a lawyer should get a new Corvette if he loses an important case.

So why give a university president more than a quarter of a million dollars if he hasn't even achieved his own goals? He should get a lump of coal under the tree.

In the long term, giving him so much money for so little effort sends the wrong message. If we're cash-strapped, why do the trustees have enough to spoil their president? Will the tuition increase Gov. Charlie Crist approved bring back the Bright Futures stipend that the Florida Legislature cut due to budget shortfalls?

I guess we'll have to wait until next year to see if university leadership changes its mind about giving the president such a big bonus. But at least the decision to give Machen all that money wasn't a unanimous vote. For a trustee who has a college named after him, Al Warrington means business.

There are a number of ways that ,300,000 could be put to better use while still rewarding hard-working people. For example, 4,000 high-achieving students who receive 100 percent Bright Futures could be reimbursed the ,75 they lost when the Florida Legislature made budget cuts.

Imagine what that would do for grades if the program remained in effect for extended periods of time. Students would put in a much greater effort in their classes if it resulted in more free textbooks. Speaking of which, good luck on final exams.

Vincent Gagliano is a sophomore majoring in physics. His column appears on Wednesdays.

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