By Katherine Valadez |Staff Writer|
Students who are tired of rising tuition may soon have the opportunity to have more of their voices heard on the Board of Trustees that oversees the 23-campus CSU system.
Sen. Leland Yee, D-San Francisco/San Mateo, announced a bill on Feb. 15 that would diversify the CSU Board of Trustees.
The legislation would increase the number of students and faculty trustees as well as add non-faculty employees to serve on the board.
“For too long, we have seen the Board of Trustees fighting for their top executives,” Yee said in a press release. “No longer will the Board of Trustees be an exclusive club of just wealthy Californians, but instead it will be representative of the entire CSU community.”
Currently there are 25 trustees who serve on the board. Two trustees must be students and only one must be a faculty member.
Yee’s bill would double the current number of student trustees to four and would ensure that at least three faculty members and two non-faculty employees serve as trustees.
“The CSU Board of Trustees has been far too isolated from the real world consequences of their decisions,” said Lillian Taiz, president of the California Faculty Association in a press release. “We need a Board of Trustees that provides voices to those in the trenches and knows what it’s like to be a student, staff member or faculty at the CSU.”
Under the present law the governor appoints 19 of the 25 trustees.
While the governor would still appoint 19 members, under the new legislation at least nine of the 25 trustee appointments must be students, faculty and non-faculty employees. The bill also would remove conflicts of interest by prohibiting CSU employee trustees as well as the chancellor from participating in any subcommittee dealing with collective bargaining.
Yee’s legislation comes after years of tuition fee increases across the CSU system, while board members vote for increases of compensation for executives.
Last year, the board raised fall tuition by 12 percent and voted to hire the new president of San Diego State at a $400,000 salary, which is $100,000 more than his predecessor.
In response to the public pressure following that decision, the board voted to cap the salaries of newly hired presidents at 10 percent of that of their predecessor with a ceiling of $325,000 in funds.
The board’s decision was “not enough,” according to Yee, who said that he believes the cap for incoming presidents should be at five percent of their predecessors.
According to the CSU website, the Board of Trustees oversees 412,000 students and 43,000 faculty members in its 23 campus system. It is the nation’s largest university system.
The California State Student Association is currently conducting a search for the next student trustee.
Students that are appointee serve a two-year term during which the student trustee is a non-voting member until the second year of the term.