Fmr. UC president will get nearly $1.3 million

Tough Questions with Fran Barrett, President of UC Board of Trustees
Gregory Williams
Gregory Williams

CINCINNATI, OH (FOX19) - Former University of Cincinnati President Greg Williams is going to get nearly $1.3 million from the school during the next two years.

"Why? I mean that's ridiculous. You're leaving," student Nathia Jackson reacted to the news.

State Rep. Connie Pillich was disappointed in the decision saying in a statement, "It's really disappointing that the trustees would make such a decision while so many students and families are struggling with rising tuition costs. As the trustees vote to needlessly spend over a million dollars, the University is trying to decide how to fund $10 million for the Cintrifuse project and students are taking out more loans to pay a tuition that was increased by 3.5 percent this year. We need to harness young people's potential and skill in this state. This sends the wrong kind of message to students. They would have been better served by establishing a scholarship fund with money, or investing it in an actual program or area of study."

Other students responded with equal surprise.

"I think it's really disappointing the way they're going about doing it and the way he left us and the fact that they're almost rewarding him for doing that by paying him," Junior Ali Fretti said.

Some, however, argue more information is needed before they decide whether or not to support the Board of Trustee's decision.

"Out of context not knowing what his personal reasons were for resigning it's really hard to react to that amount," Student Body President Lane Hart said.

Hart says while he understands the amounts seem shocking to students, he argues the total looks differently when viewed through the eyes of the university.

"One of the things though that does kind of put it into perspective is the magnitude of the University's budget when we're talking about a billion dollar budget," Hart said.

Jackson, however, argues billion dollar budget or not there are a lot of other places the money could go.

"I feel like that's contributing to high tuition costs because we're paying out so much money to one individual," Jackson said.  "They could put that in scholarship money, grant money. They could invest it back in the school."

University trustees approved various payments to Williams Wednesday. He resigned suddenly Aug. 21, six days before the start of fall classes.

The payments include a bonus of $112,750 for last year, the maximum allowed under his employment agreement. A required $255,000 salary for his faculty position at the UC law school was also approved. In addition, trustees approved a consulting deal that will pay him $500,000 over the next two years.

Students had varied reactions Thursday to the news Williams will be receiving $500,000 for consulting on ongoing issues he had been working on before leaving the University.

"I just think it's a little ridiculous that they want his opinion so badly and they're offering to give him so much money when he just picked up and left off and just left us kind of high and dry," Fretti told FOX19.

"It's important that we are able to retain some of that institutional knowledge," argued Student Body President Lane Hart. "And apparently the board wants to contact him if there are any questions about outstanding projects."

"I understand about the projects, you would need him to come back to help but all the other things … he doesn't need all of that," student Nathia Jackson said.

Trustees Chairman Fran Barrett said the university was obligated to pay the retirement benefit and faculty salary. He said the consulting contract is a good deal, mainly because of Williams' expertise with the Big East Conference.

The deal also includes a $100,000 benefits payment and an optional $300,000 buyout incentive that can be utilized by the board next year.

The board also approved the continuation of Williams' current housing in a university owned property. A university spokesperson says the interim president has expressed no desire to move from his current residence.

Williams said he resigned for "personal reasons."

Copyright 2012 WXIX. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this story.