More than a year and a half after students asked UNM to provide a more accessible version of its salary book, the book is available online.
Director of University Communication and Marketing Cinnamon Blair said the Sunshine Portal launched May 25. The portal contains information on UNM’s purchasing information for contracts over $20,000, as well as UNM employee salaries.
Before the online version launched, the salary book was only available to the public in hard copy at Zimmerman Library for two hours at a time, and could not be removed from the building.
Former Daily Lobo editor-in-chief Pat Lohmann and GPSA each requested an online version of the book in the fall of 2010, but the administration denied repeated requests. The GPSA resolution “encourage(d) the Human Resources Department, the UNM administration and University Counsel to create and update a digital spreadsheet document of the UNM Salary Book.”
ASUNM also passed a resolution in the fall of 2010 in favor of putting the book online.
The following semester, GPSA passed a second resolution for an online salary database.
In February 2011, the Albuquerque Journal compiled the information into an online database for its website. And in May 2011, Lohmann, along with other Daily Lobo representatives, uploaded a version to the Daily Lobo website by scanning every page of the book.
In November 2011, the administration began developing the Sunshine Portal, a database that would include employee salary information, but student government and the administration grappled over how much the database should include.
The hard-copy version originally included student salaries, but UNM legal counsel recommended that student information be removed to comply with the Federal Education Right to Privacy Act (FERPA).
In February 2012, GPSA submitted a third resolution, requesting the salary book include student employee and graduate assistantship information, but the administration chose to take the legal counsel’s advice.
Last semester, then-GPSA President Katie Richardson told the Daily Lobo that the administration could consider listing student employee and graduate assistantship information by department or position rather than by student name.
But Blair said students may still be identifiable if the position they hold is in a smaller department. She said the law restricts access to student information by a third party unless the student gives written permission.
Blair said the University won’t include student salary information so long as the law remains the same.
“We had to make sure that we weren’t going to compromise any student information, but we wanted to make sure that we were being transparent about our accounting and the information for which people were asking and what it’s going to include,” she said.
Blair said the portal was put together by several entities on campus, including IT, Human Resources, the budget office and the Purchasing and Procurement Office.
“We weren’t mandated to put this up,” she said. “This is something that Dr. Schmidly thought we needed to do. It was just the right thing to do, but we needed to go through and make sure we weren’t going compromise any information.”
Blair said the Sunshine Portal’s first phase is complete. The second phase will include additional financial information and increased search capabilities and will be completed in June.
To access the UNM Sunshine portal, visit sunshine.unm.edu