The Daily Aztec
San Diego State's Independent Student Newspaper
Sterling Alvarado


July 12, 2011

Hirshman’s $400,000 salary is approved by CSU Board despite Governor’s letter

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Written by: Sandy Coronilla

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Antonio Zaragoza/ Photo Editor

This morning, the California State University Board of Trustees approved the $400,000 salary of new San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman despite Gov. Jerry Brown’s letter to Chairman Herbert Carter asking the board to rethink the criteria for determining administrators’ salaries.

The letter sent today calls attention to the hard hits and “painful sacrifices” that CSU faculty and students have had to endure because of the recession.

“It is in this context, and prompted by the salary decision you are about to make today, that I write to express my concern about the ever-escalating pay packages awarded to your top administrators,” Brown wrote.

The meeting held in Long Beach set off a Twitter firestorm by higher education reporters and advocates in attendance.

Despite Brown’s letter and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s comments addressing the relatively high amount of the salary on a day when the board also apporved a 12 percent tuition hike, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed encouraged the approval of Hirshman’s salary.

Read Gov. Brown’s letter here

“This system has not increased compensation for executives for four years,” Reed said, according to a tweet by the California State Student Association.

SDSU Associated Students Vice President of University Affairs Mina Azim, present at the board meeting, said she is glad to learn Carter will be moving forward with the reevaluation.

“I understand why President Hirshman’s salary was approved as the CSU strives to set a competitive edge to ensure the excellence of our leaders within the CSU. Dr. Hirshman will provide excellent leadership to SDSU,” Azim wrote.

The CSU Committee on University and Faculty Personnel approved the $350,000 salary. The compensation package includes a $1,000-per-month vehicle allowance and reimbursement for moving costs as well as for expenses incurred in selling Hirshman’s Virginia residence. In San Diego, he will occupy a house provided by the university.

The salary will also include $50,000 from San Diego State University Foundation sources, for a total of $400,000 — an amount higher than that of former SDSU President Stephen L. Weber, who was compensated $299,435 annually according to university records.

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Sandy Coronilla


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  1. Ernesto Gomez

    Elliot Hirshman has already demonstrated his lack of leadership by accepting this salary. Real leaders (for example, Washington at
    Valley Forge) suffer with the troops (in this case, faculty and students).

  2. Testie

    Can anyone please dial Weber and ask him if he’s still interested in coming out of retirement? He was cheaper and qualified. This guy appears over-qualified for the job. Minimum wage ring any bells Mr. HIRSHMAN???

  3. B K

    People should be OUTRAGED!!! Two increases in the past two years for the tuition at Cal State campuses (10 & 12%). How can they justify one person in the educational system making as much as the President of the United States?!!! I keep hearing “we have to be competitive with the other schools!” That is such a frudulent case – each school uses that excuse to leap-frog over the other. Outrageous GREED!!! United to stop the greed – its destroying the United States as we know it.

  4. brokenschool

    This is soooooo typical. Big fat raise for all! Yeah! Maybe after our country is internally destroyed, the government can take over :)

  5. Fefe

    If it is his choice of moving to CA, he should be paying for his own relocation expenses. Every body need to drive to work, why should he get extra $1000 car allowance? Eveybody who want to live under a root has to pay rent or mortage, but not him, just because he is president? This is a bad start. He is already abusing the students. Not mentioned, but his meals will be reimbursed when he travel. With all these expenses paid for, he can live on min. wage salary.

  6. Alexander Marconi

    Tru leaders do not require such high compensation given the current times. A deal should have been made to compensate based on performance. Start with a $200K base then give bonus as that person brings in the goods to the school. All higher up admins should work on a commission basis.

  7. Dennis

    wow! seems like the salaries go up for important people. SDSUPD, dont look for a pay raise anytime soon. But that shouldn’t be a surprise, havent had one in 6 years!

  8. Dennis

    Wonderful I’m
    Glad there is money to give a 100k raise to this guy but the sdsupd has not had a raise in 6 years! And continue to be the lowest paid. Oh and apparently no one is supposed to know because the chief there has told all the employees they cannot say anything or they will get reprimanded. Can someone remind me if this is still the United Stantes?

  9. Vnapc

    Don’t forget the SDUS football coaching staff:

    The football coaching staff is comprised of 10 people whose combined annual salaries equal $2.275 million.

    The focus of schools is to make money, not to educate the students. This type of continual rate increase has gone on for 15+ years.
    The schools appear to be unwilling to stop the spending, much like our local, city, state and federal governments. Unfortunately it leaves the students who graduate, saddled with debt and low salaries (if they can find a job). Those who don’t graduate usually can’t pay back the student loans and their credit is completely ruined for years, and possibly, their entire lives. Isn’t greed wonderful?

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