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UNC System President Receives Bonus Larger Than His Base Salary

The UNC Board of Governors has approved a whopping $475,200 bonus for UNC System president Peter Hans, according to News & Observer. Considering that Hans’ base salary is $424,350, the Board of Governors more than doubled the compensation Hans would receive from his base salary alone.

Prior to his role as the UNC system president, Hans was the North Carolina Community College system president for two years, and held other positions on the NC Board of Community Colleges as well as the UNC Board of Governors. 

Compared to past UNC system presidents, Hans’ base salary is relatively low; when he entered the position in 2020, Hans had asked the board for bonus incentives to be incorporated into his contract to make up for the gap. The contract extended potential performance bonuses for Hans up to $600,000. 

Hans’ first bonus in November 2021 was $300,000; last year, his bonus was $451,200. 

The UNC presidential assessment committee conducts annual performance checks for the system president and helped determine how high Hans’ bonus could be; the committee met June 6 to assess the president’s performance.

At a UNC Board of Governors meeting, student aid, mental health resources and diversity of thought were cited as reasons for Hans’ increased bonus. Board chair Randy Ramsey praised Hans for his leadership performance, saying it took “discipline, humility and a whole lot of patience and hard work.”

Ramsey also cited Hans’ ability to traverse the political landscape of North Carolina, saying that Hans had “successfully advocated” for legislative budget priorities this year – despite the fact that state lawmakers haven’t settled on a budget yet – and created a welcoming culture across UNC campuses. 

“We’ve taken action to promote open discourse and protect diversity among all students, faculty and staff,” Ramsey said in the meeting.

Diversity has been a hot topic on UNC campuses, particularly after the recent policy instituted by the Board of Governors that bars the university system from asking job applicants to discuss their beliefs on “matters of contemporary political debate or social action.” The policy has led to a prohibition on asking for diversity, equity and inclusion statements from applicants, and critics of the policy have expressed worry that the policy will lead to self-censorship in the hiring process.

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