Cal State Board of Trustees created conflict among students after their Sept. 19 meeting with the decision to raise executive administration pay within the Cal State University system.
Michael Uhlenkamp, interim senior director of public affairs for Cal States, said that executive administrators, presidents and chancellors, received a pay raise of 2.5 percent. Cal State San Marcos’ President received a 10 percent raise, due to the fact that CSUSM’s president’s salary was already below the average president’s salary at other public universities in the state, such as those within the University of California system.
“The employees of the college are our most critical asset and it’s important that we adequately compensate them whether that be faculty, staff or administrators,” Uhlenkamp said.
Uhlenkamp also explained that Cal State administrators are paid less than their counterparts within and outside of the state of California.
“We know that if you are working at or leading a CSU, that you are going to be making less than if you were doing that same job at a different institution,” Uhlenkamp said.
As an example, the presidents of the Cal State system make anywhere from $200,000 to $450,000, with former San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman making $420,240. Our own President Jane Close Conoley has an annual salary of $336,538.
Uhlenkamp went on to explained that some CSU executive pay was supplemented through their college foundations, which the board folded into the state in order to avoid a conflict of interest with presidents sitting on the foundation boards.
Douglas Domingo-Foraste, Long Beach chapter president for the California Faculty Association, said he finds executive administration raises particularly troubling and that the majority of them aren’t essential to the university.
“If we on this campus get one more administrator, the whole ship is going to keel over,” Domingo-Foraste said.
Though he sees this as an important issue to bring to light, Domingo-Foraste said that only so much can be done since decisions are made within the Board of Trustees.
“If [the Board of Trustees] want to spend their money so every admin has a pony, they can.” Domingo-Foraste said.
He said he hopes the board doesn’t expect the California Faculty Association to roll over on faculty pay and student tuition, which was raised for the 2017-2018 semester during last March’s Board of Trustees meeting, for the sake of administrator salaries.
Courtney Yamagiwa, Students for Quality Education member, further expanded on this conflict with executive pay and tuition cost as a whole.
“Higher education has continuously been defunded, but they have enough money to vote to increase their own salaries for the campus presidents and all the chancellors. That’s only from state funding, not student tuition,” Yamagiwa said.
Additionally, Danielle Carancho, senator at large with Associated Students, Incorporated, is concerned that these administrator raises are not in line with the Board’s perceived need to raise tuition to balance quality and accessibility. This is due to the administrator’s pay coming from the state, while the state is cutting college budgets.
“[Faculty are] the ones that are giving us our education, they’re the ones that are teaching us and they’re the ones that are in the classroom everyday with us,” Carancho said. “I don’t believe that administration should be getting paid more because they already make a ton of money.”
She also elaborated on lobbying efforts put forward by ASI’s Lobby Corps during the California Higher Education Student Summit earlier this year being brushed aside in favor of the tuition hike.
“Just to know that our efforts went unnoticed or unheard, because they did end up approving [a tuition hike] just shows how little that they care about students,” Carancho said. “It’s kind of a slap in the face to then go and give admins a raise.”