It was quite exciting to see CSU Board of Trustees give in to public pressure last May when they backed off their policy of giving ten percent raises to campus presidents. After drawing student and faculty protesters outraged over the excessive salaries campus presidents continue to receive in a time of tuition hikes, enrollment freezes and cuts to courses, trustees did the right thing and put a freeze on those raises. Yeah, it was exciting to see, I thought they had finally seen the error of their ways and were at long last making the needs of the students a priority.
I suppose I should have known better, what you see isn’t always what you get. Can you believe those bastards have gone and found a way to give those raises anyway and still limit state funding. Damn them! They’re going to use supplemental funds from nonprofit campus foundations. These auxiliary sources include things like the campus bookstore, student newspapers, and privately funded foundations. So they raid these auxiliary sources for presidential pay raises but not to help reduce tuition or other student fees or costs. The sole purpose of these auxiliaries is to serve the university. I guess pay raises for campus presidents fall into this category. I tell you, it certainly isn’t right, is it even legal?
The board continues to claim that the only way to have the best leadership on the campuses is to offer competitive salaries, benefits and other compensation such as a housing allowance which ranges from $50 – $60 thousand a year. And get this, there is no limit on how much a president can receive in private compensation! What a bunch of BS! These clowns earn $258,000 – $350,000 and more the longer they remain on the job.
What the hell do these presidents do anyway to earn such a high salary? Sure he’s the CEO and provides overall leadership and guidance for the university as well as managing the human and financial resources to run the university. He’s also expected to symbolize the best qualities of the university system and represents the campus best interest. You’d think a campus president would have a passion for the role of public higher education, but that doesn’t appear to be the case. It’s seems to be all about the fat paycheck and the perks!
A person with a true passion for higher education and all it represents would not in good conscience take a big pay hike while the future of the states education system hangs in the balance. If the governor’s tax initiative fails in November, California education will take a serious blow. CSU’s will be faced with tuition and fee increases, employee pay and benefit cuts, (not presidential ones) and even enrollment reductions. Other possibilities could include additional per unit charges for units above a full load and a substantial increase of up to $1000 on the amount paid by non-resident students. A worse case scenario has an enrollment reduction of about 6000 students throughout the CSU campuses, eliminate up to 750 faculty positions and a 5.25% pay and benefit cuts system wide. It could get really ugly.
The plea has been made for campus presidents to reject the raise. Guess we’ll have to wait and see if any of them comply. I hope they do. It would be saying a lot about the integrity of these administrators and prove that their priorities are not misplaced. In my district we haven’t seen a pay raise or cost of living adjustment in several years and if the governor’s tax initiative fails we will be forced to take furlough days. The picture ain’t pretty. Turning down ‘presidential perks’ will not save the system, but it’s a step in the right direction. It is supporting the cause and sends a message to colleagues and students alike that we are all in this together.
The Education System in California has been suffering, for some time now. Something needs to be done quickly, no more smoke and mirrors. The time has come to rethink our options. Special projects and programs like the bullet train for example need to be put on hold until California is of its crutches and back on its feet. The cost of higher education is a spiraling out of control and will soon be available only to the haves and not the have not’s. Pull that train over governor Brown and put the Educational Express on the fast track. It’s the right thing to do…