It’s the first week of school and students are frantically running to classes in which they’re not registered, trying to avoid a six-year-long college career. They hesitantly ask if they can add the class. The professor answers, “No problem.”
Although this is a hypothetical situation, it’s one way CSUN could use the $30,000 annual raise President Jolene Koester is scheduled to receive if approved at the Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday in Long Beach.
Students, faculty and staff members have criticized the 6.75 percent for staff and 11.8 percent for top administrators, raise because they believe the money could be used for more urgent priorities, such as more classes and professors.
“The money belongs in the teaching and learning of the students, period,” said professor Theresa Montano, who serves as president of the CSUN chapter of the California Faculty Association.
Montano said she believes the salary raise is an insult to students who have bared sitting in packed classrooms and paying increased tuition fees.
Last year, the CFA had its own battle with the board while negotiating the salary in its contract. Montano said the CFA fought an arduous two-year-long battle against the chancellor’s office to get their raise.
“They claimed they were broke and now they’re talking about their own raises. It’s ridiculous,” Montano said.
The CSU’s executives are given raises and perks based on what other institutions are paying their comparative administrators, the action item report by the Committee on University and Faculty Personnel headed by Chancellor Charles B. Reed and Committee Chair Debra S. Farar indicates.
Included in the list of comparison institutions is the University of Southern California, a school that charges an annual $36,000 in tuition and fees compared to CSUN’s $3,350.
Although the state and federal government contribute to the CSU system, there was still a 10 percent fee increase for students who enrolled for the 2007-08 school year, the California Legislative Analyst’s Office Web site shows.
President Koester’s annual salary is currently more than $265,000. Koester and other CSU presidents also receive a $60,000 annual housing allowance, a $1,000 a month vehicle allowance, health benefits and a retirement package.
Dennis S. Dillon, vice president of representation for the California State University Employee Union, said he has a problem with the salary raises.
Salary raises being distributed among faculty, staff and the Management Personnel Plan staff, which is comprised of the campus president and executives, is something Dillon said he agreed with. But the lack of balance between faculty, staff and MPP staff members’ salary raises “really bothered” him, he said.
The MPP is given a salary raise every year, and with the benefits and retirement package that’s already been promised, Chancellor Reed’s claim of a 46 percent lag between MPP staff’s current salary and where it should be is really about 10 percent, Dillon said.
This past weekend, the California State Student Association voted 10 to 3 to oppose the executive pay increases.
CSUN Associated Students President Adam Haverstock said, “This shows that an overwhelming majority of schools are opposed. This isn’t just exclusive to Northridge.”
Haverstock said he thought the CSU executives have lost sight of why they went into the field of education if they think they need salary raises when the system is allegedly strapped for cash.
“(Koester) does a great job,” Haverstock said, “but not a $30,000 great job.”
– CSU Board of Trustees vote to give executives raises
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