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May 8, 2012

CFA protests CSU trustees meeting

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Written by: Hutton Marshall

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Donning red shirts reading “I don’t want to strike, but I will,” approximately 150 faculty members from San Diego State to Humbolt State rallied at the California State University Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach to protest the CSU Board of Trustees meeting.

According to a press release sent out by the California Faculty Association, the CSU trustees will be looking to revise their recently instated policy allowing a newly hired CSU executive to receive a salary increase no greater than 10 percent of their predecessor. This policy was implemented after the widespread criticism SDSU and other CSUs received after paying President Elliot Hirshman 33 percent more than his predecessor, Stephen L. Weber.

The proposed change would cap the amount of money state funds contribute to salaries of newly hired CSU president., Although the capped salary increase would remain at 10 percent, only non-state funds could pay for these raises. The funds that would go toward these salary increases would come from the private donation-funded foundations at each CSU School.

“So what the CSU is proposing is to actually freeze what presidents would get from the state side of CSU, tuition funds or anything like that, at the level of the predecessor,” CSU media relations manager Erik Fallis said. “So it’s actually a more strict policy than the prior one.”

Currently, Hirshman receives $350,000 in state funds and $50,000 from foundation money. Faculty protesters call this move by the trustees a “shell game.”

“They say (the money for presidential salaries) comes out of a different pot, but all these pots affect students negatively,” CFA spokesperson Brian Ferguson said. “The foundations do things like fund student activities and scholarships, and although the raises would no longer come from the state-generated funds, it still comes out of money that would as a result no longer be spent on students.”

Meanwhile, the bargaining process between CFA and CSU administrators remains unresolved. Their respective bargaining teams convened last weekend, but the discussion ended when the CFA walked away from the table.

“We sat down with them trying to come to an agreement last week, they walked out of those contract negotiations yesterday, and frankly the only issue we thought was still unresolved when they walked was how much in state taxpayer and student tuition dollars went toward paying their president and committee action chair to do union and political business,” Fallis said.

He said the bargainers had come to an agreement on faculty pay.

“The faculty union has been lying about where we were about that issue,” Fallis said. “In fact, they sent a proposal forward on April 6 that essentially took that issue off the table. But they’ve been making statements on the contrary.”

On the other hand, Ferguson said the bargaining teams still have several unresolved issues.

“The CSU says issues are resolved, in as much as they’re no longer willing to talk about them,” Ferguson said. “There’s 40 articles in our contract, and I think they’ve only agreed on 13 or 14 of them.”

Ferguson lists job security for lecturer faculty and making sure faculty rather than administrators determine class sizes as important issues yet to be agreed upon. He also claims faculty salary remains unresolved.

“There seems to be a fundamental disagreement between the sides on what it is we’re talking about,” Ferguson said. “We’re hopeful, but not optimistic. The fact that the administration has said they want to talk and want to talk often is a good sign though.”g

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Hutton Marshall



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