University of Texas to pay interim President Jay Hartzell $795,000

By Valeria Olivares, Texas Tribune

The University of Texas System Board of Regents approved an annual salary of $795,000 on Monday for the flagship’s interim President Jay Hartzell.

The board approved Hartzell’s salary during an online executive session. Hartzell, dean of UT-Austin’s business school, was named interim president in April after former President Greg Fenves announced his departure. The school has yet to announce steps to identify a permanent replacement for Fenves.

UT-Austin also released finalized fall plans Monday detailing students’ return to campus, with the stipulation that many guidelines would be subject to reassessment as the state’s COVID-19 response evolves. While the school is planning an in-person return, several courses will be either online only or a hybrid model with both online and in-person class sessions. These courses will all have the same tuition rates, according to the school’s website.

Meanwhile, all students and faculty will have to wear masks in common areas, with violators subject to disciplinary processes. This mirrors several other mask enforcement policies already detailed across other large institutions in Texas.

After five years serving as president, Fenves will step down Tuesday, prompting even more disruption for students, faculty and staff as they face a change in leadership during the pandemic. In August, Fenves will start his new job as president of Emory University in Atlanta.

In 2018, Fenves earned $762,220 as UT-Austin’s president. He also turned down a salary offer of $1 million when he was hired in 2015.

“I’m very proud of President Hartzell at UT-Austin and all of our presidents for listening closely to their students, alumni, staff and supporters,” Chairman Kevin Eltife said. “I’m proud of them for trying to work together with their community members to decide on the next steps in making our UT institutions even greater than they are.”

Board members said they believe they have an obligation to students to plan for an in-person return for the fall semester, citing student surveys that have shown many students said they will choose to pause their education if universities go completely online.

“Institutions were faced with a choice, and not a choice as simplistic as health versus fiscal viability, as some have suggested,” UT System Chancellor J.B. Milliken said. “In numerous discussions on the question of fall opening, the presidents and I have been remarkably unified.”