Times are lean for the California State University system-faculty are ready to strike, and tuition is going up 10 percent. Lean, that is, unless you're a top university executive.
All 23 presidents, the chancellor and his top three lieutenants have received two raises during a 14-month period totaling a 23-percent pay hike between 2005 and this year. Here in San Diego, SDSU President Stephen Weber is earning almost $41,000 more a year than he was before the pay increases, bringing his annual salary to $272,214, according to CSU executive-compensation records. On top of salary, presidents are entitled to $12,000 for vehicle expenses and as much as $60,000 for housing. But wait, there's more: The chancellor and 10 of the presidents, including Weber, enjoy complimentary housing.
“Faculty salaries pale in comparison to the CSU executives,” said Adam Keigwin, spokesperson for state Sen. Leland Yee, who represents parts of San Francisco and San Mateo counties.
Full-time CSU faculty salaries average $71,000 a year. Still, said Lisa Cohen of the California Faculty Association, at least they're better off than the 12,875 part-time teachers who earn less than $43,000 a year. “It is important to look at all faculty because the CSU administration prefers to hire part-time faculty so that they don't have to pay benefits,” Cohen said. Part-time faculty comprise more than half the teaching force at CSU schools.
Disputes with CSU over salaries, class size and tenure have professors, librarians and counselors poised for what would be the largest higher-education-faculty strike in U.S. history. And students are taking a hit to the wallet, too, with registration fees rising $316 a year, starting this fall.
The problem, Yee said in a written statement, is that high-level university executive salaries are decided in secrecy and without public discussion. In February, he proposed a bill that, if passed, would mandate public meetings to discuss CSU and University of California executive pay and perks. Currently, those meetings are exempt from state open-meeting laws.
Keigwin described the system as a “get-rich factory for executives.”
A call to a CSU spokesperson had not by returned as of press time.