CSU to limit salary increases for new university presidents

The California State University Board of Trustees officially adopted a policy that will place a limit on the compensation that newly-hired campus presidents can receive.

Under the new policy, CSU presidents are only able to receive 10 percent more than their predecessor’s base pay.

“It doesn’t necessarily mean the president that comes in will receive a 10 percent increase…that is just the limit,” said CSU spokesman Erik Fallis.

The CSU is currently looking for presidents for four of its campuses: Cal State Northridge, Cal State San Bernardino, SF State and the California Maritime Academy. The new compensation policy will be implemented for the incoming presidents.

The new policy comes in the wake of a decision by the board to grant a $100,000 raise to incoming San Diego State University President Elliot Hirshman, which was criticized by Gov. Jerry Brown and the Budget Analysts Office.

SF State President Robert A. Corrigan is currently eligible to make up to $298,749 for the 2011-12 academic year. That means whoever replaces him next year could receive a $29,000 bump in pay.

The move is a step in the right direction, according to Wei Ming Dariotis, president of the SF State chapter of the California Faculty Association, but she thought the timing was unfortunate.

“I’m glad that the Board of Trustees responded to public pressure and agreed to put a cap on executive compensation,” she said in an email. “I do wish, however, they had decided to do this before hiking student fees 12 percent on the same day that they voted to increase the salary range for campus presidents by $20,000.”

Some students agreed that the cap was a good place to start.

“It could be a lot worse,” said Marion Brown Jr., a liberal studies major. “We’re getting all these cuts and all these tuition hikes. If the new president is going to be making an extra $30,000, hopefully they’ll do a better job.”

Others are conflicted about the potential pay raise.

“If they are just going to be sitting in their office all day, that seems like a lot,” said Morgan McGehee, a nature of conflict major at SF State. “But if they are actually working to make the educational experience better, I say we give them as much as they need.”

But McGehee’s opinions are not shared by everyone at the University.

“The CSU has forgotten its mission,” said Bobby Farlice, an Equal Opportunity Program adviser. “The trustees are business people, they aren’t educators. The president of a university should never be making more than the president of the United States.”

The policy was recommended by CSU Board Chair Herbert Carter.

“The new compensation limits and more relevant tiered list of comparator institutions will give stakeholders a good benchmark of where presidential compensation will be set as we move forward,” said Carter in a press release. “Our continued goal is to recruit and compete for the best leadership possible, but also within articulated budget guidelines.”