Board also considers cuts
Kelly Puente, Staff Writer
Posted: 07/17/2012 11:05:33 PM PDT

The Cal State University Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved pay increases for three new campus presidents, including Cal State San Bernardino President Tomas D. Morales, in a day-long meeting in which they also considered massive budget cuts.

As student and faculty protesters gathered outside, trustees met at the Chancellor’s Office in Long Beach to consider plans to offset the 23-campus system’s severe budget crisis and a potential $250 million loss in funding. Options include a possible tuition increase, cutbacks in enrollment and system-wide salary and benefit reductions.

On the issue of presidential salaries, the board voted 10-4 in favor of a compensation plan for four incoming presidents.

Two presidents are slated to receive 10 percent raises over their predecessors, while a third will earn 9 percent more. A fourth president will earn 3 percent less.

Faced with public criticism over presidential raises in times of severe budget cuts, the board in May adopted a controversial compensation policy that set a raise cap of 10 percent, but stipulated that the amount of the raise must be paid for by private campus foundations.

CSU Chancellor Charles Reed said the foundations will raise money solely for presidential compensation and no funds will be diverted from student scholarships.

The board approved an annual salary of $324,500 for CSU Northridge President Dianne Harrison, $319,000 for CSU San Bernardino President Tomas Morales and $325,000 for San Francisco State President Leslie Wong.

The salaries do not include contributions from foundations or housing allowances.

Admiral Thomas A. Cropper, the new president of Cal Maritime in the Bay Area, will receive a salary of $250,000. All four will receive a $1,000 monthly car allowance.

In response to the public criticism, Reed commended all of the CSU presidents’ hard work, noting that San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman, who was criticized when he was hired last year with a $400,000 compensation package, has managed to raise $71 million in donations for the university.

“(Elliot Hirshman) has been criticized and I have been criticized and it is totally wrong,” Reed said. “These are tough jobs and we ask these presidents to do the impossible. They work 24/7 and they have outstanding teams.”

As trustees met, dozens of student and faculty demonstrators flocked to the meeting to voice their frustrations over budget cuts and tuition hikes.

Among the demonstrators was Cal State Northridge student Matthew Delgado, who was one of a handful of CSU students who went on hunger strike this year in protest of the system’s cuts and hikes in tuition.

Delgado said he went to the meeting to show support for faculty and fellow students.

“I think it’s horrible what (the CSU system) is doing,” he said. “I’m paying higher tuition for classes that I can’t even get in to. So many students are struggling.”

Speaking before the board, Cal State Los Angeles student Nakia Brazie, 26, urged the presidents to donate their raises in the form of student scholarships.

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