By Melissa Benton |Staff Writer|
Senate Bill 755, introduced by Senator Ted W. Lieu, would limit CSU president salaries to 150 percent of the salary of California’s Chief Justice.
According to the National Center for State Courts, Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye currently earns $228,856. This means that CSU presidents could earn up to $343,269.
SB 755 would require that the CSU Board of Trustees discuss tuition or salary increases in an open session.
It also would stop pay increases or bonuses to campus presidents if student tuition was raised in the last three years.
This change to the bill was introduced because of San Diego State University (SDSU) which received a new campus president on July 5, 2011.
President Elliot Hirschman received a starting salary of $400,000. This is $100,565 more than former SDSU president, Stephen Weber, who received $299,435.
SDSU also raised tuition costs for Fall 2011 by 12 percent or an extra $294 per semester for SDSU students.
All of this followed after the California Legislature and Governor Jerry Brown approved budget cuts of $650 million to the CSU system for the 2011-2012 school year.
Senator Lieu said he believed a cap was needed on these salaries.
“CSU trustees should not be spending limited state resources granting $100,000 raises for executive positions,” said Lieu on his website. “We must limit salaries to a reasonable level that is consistent with California’s and CSU’s fiscal conditions.”
Marcia Marx, president of the CSUSB chapter of California Faculty Association (CFA), agreed with Lieu.
“This shows how out of touch the Board of Trustees and the chancellor are with what we’re doing here as faculty, students and staff,” said Marx. “They need to cap this. Even the Governor is outraged that servants in the public sector are doing this in these economic times.”
CSU’s Chancellor Charles B. Reed and the CSU Officials oppose the bill, offering information comparing other universities’ presidents’ salaries to the salaries of CSU presidents.
According to the handout from the Special Committee on Presidential Selection and Compensation, CSU presidents are paid significantly less than comparable universities.
CSUSB’s president, Dr. Albert Karnig, has a base salary of $290,000 when compared to Ball State University in Indiana at $580,000 or Portland State University at $377,000, respectively.
This bill would not include a cap on the salary of Chancellor Reed, who currently earns $421,500.
CSU Spokeswoman and Assistant Vice Chancellor, Claudia Keith, told the San Francisco Chronicle that Reed, campus presidents and vice chancellors have not received a raise since 2007.