But disgruntled faculty and staff interrupted McCormick several times during the first half of his speech, protesting the two-year salary freeze that is preventing them from receiving their raises.
“There’s a lot being built and done, but I work hard — everything is going up but my paycheck,” said Dorothy Broxton, a custodian in the University’s Housing department, who held a sign that read “End the salary freeze!” outside the meeting at the Rutgers Student Center on the College Avenue campus.
Kristen Clarke, the New Brunswick campus’ student representative to the Board of Governors, asked McCormick if he knew what if felt like to stay up all night worrying about paying his mortgage bill during a question-and-answer session following the address.
“Faculty and staff run the University. Without them, Rutgers would do nothing and be nothing,” said Clarke, a School of Arts and Sciences senior. “You’re screwing people over.”
Members of the senate audience were taken aback by Clarke’s language, and Senate President Paul Panayotatos, an engineering professor, reminded Clarke that she is a senator.
“I’m not going to play nice when you’re playing with people’s lives,” Clarke said.
McCormick expressed his hope to settle the contractual issues this year that are continuing the salary freeze.