The California State University Board of Trustees voted 11-3 on March 20 to increase the salaries of two CSU presidents by roughly 10 percent.
Cal State Fullerton President Mildred Garcia will now receive $324,500 a year, while Cal State East Bay’s Leroy Morishita will receive $303,660. Each president will also receive a $12,000 car allowance and $60,000 for housing annually.
The decision angered students protesting outside the meeting, who represented those who face further tuition hikes and enrollment cutbacks.
Gov. Jerry Brown spoke in opposition of the pay increases.
“The colleges, and not just those, but a lot of public employers, think they have to give pay raises. I don’t think so. Because the average person has not gotten a pay raise, and the kids have been paying more in tuition.”
CSU administrators defended the raises, as they said they are necessary to attract the best presidents possible to the CSU system. According to CSU trustee Lou Monville, last year the two presidents in question, “brought in $343 million in external resources back to this institution.”
The 23 CSU presidents’ combined salaries consume $7 million of the approximately $2 billion CSU budget. This equates to 0.35 percent.
Many who defend the raise said compared to universities across the United States, the CSU schools still have a lower average presidential salary.
In response to the decision, Senator Leland Yee (D-San Francisco) introduced Senate Bill 967 to the Senate Education Committee, which would prohibit pay raises for both CSU and University of California administrators within two years of a tuition hike or budget cut. The bill did not pass the committee. Instead, the Board of Trustees are constrained by the 10 percent limit on presidential salary raises.
The decision became even more controversial because at the same meeting, the trustees discussed how to assess the $200 million cut that will occur if Brown’s tax initiative fails this fall. All but eight CSUs may have to wait list all applicants to the Fall 2013 semester, and the Cal Grant system will be further hurt. Some schools may enact unit caps on students.