The living wage proposal has a long history on the campus. Students and some faculty have been lobbying to increase the salaries of the lowest-paid workers for at least a decade.

"Originally, the focus was really members of the housekeeping staff and the grounds crew and people at that level," Bates said. "But it became bigger than that as we tried to figure out ways to rein in costs generally."

Implementing the plan would cost the college at least $270,000, proponents say.

Proponents are circulating the proposal on the campus in an effort to drum up support. The next step would be to present it to the faculty senate, Bates said.

Dillingham said he can't predict how the proposal would be received.

"Who knows whether it would be considered seriously or not?" Dillingham said.

Bradley Newkirk, a chemistry lab coordinator at St. Mary's and president of the staff's local union, said members support portions of the plan but not all of it.

"The idea of capping the president's and vice presidents' and associate vice presidents' wages, we are in favor of," Newkirk said. It's a proposal his organization has made during bargaining before, he said. But the rest would have to be analyzed and potentially negotiated.

"We don't want to get people's hopes up" that there would be an immediate $5,000 raise for the lowest-paid workers, Newkirk said.

A board of trustees vote would be required to implement the proposal. But as of yet, the plan "hasn't officially come to the board's attention," Harmon said. If it does, it would be given its due.

"The board takes seriously all proposals about compensation and cost containment and is also concerned about equity," Harmon said.

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