The following is an opinion discussed with and agreed to by the editorial staff of the Daily Sundial. The majority of the staff agrees with what’s written here and believes that it’s a topic worthy of public discussion. Any responses to this editorial can be sent to the opinion editor at email@example.com.
Today the Board of Trustees are scheduled to vote to “update their compensation policy” in Long Beach. A press release from the Chancellor’s Office released Sept. 7 shows that the trustees will consider an increase for top level administrators averaging 11.8 percent. For CSUN’s President Koester, the pay increase would give her a $29,775 raise, bringing her total salary to $295,000.
CSUN students just shouldered a 10 percent tuition increase this semester. It’s hard not to feel a little insulted.
This isn’t to say that CSU executives like Chancellor Reed and CSUN president Koester don’t deserve a large income. They run a multi-million dollar operation, and that’s a lot of pressure and responsibility.
It’s also true that CSU executive salaries do lag behind other college institutions. The agenda for today’s meeting shows that 2006’s deficit between CSU executives and other university executives was 46 percent, although Dennis S. Dillion, vice president of representation for the California State University Employees Union, contested that number in today’s paper, estimating it to be closer to 10 percent. It’s not right to be paid poorly for a difficult job, however, at $265,225, or $337,000 in the case of Chancellor Reed, that’s hardly slim pickings. Even in Los Angeles county, one could live pretty comfortably on that amount, even if university executives didn’t receive housing and transportation allowances, which they do.
The problem is that our CSU executives aren’t the only ones who are underpaid. Professors remain underpaid, receiving far less than their counterparts, not only in other parts of California, but also less than professors recieve in other parts of the country, where the cost of living is much lower.
We also know a good job should be rewarded with raises. It’s just a question of how good a job the CSU executives have done. For example, CSUN failed to meet its full-time enrollment target for transfer students this semester. Why vote for an approximately $30,000 raise when one of our targets went unmet?
It seems that the board couldn’t have picked a worse time to give executives another salary increase. While students are still griping about another tuition increase, professors are still underpaid and our university is supposedly broke. Where is the sense in voting for a pay increase for executives? It seems odd that in the time of a budget crisis, the CSU trustees were able to find the $808,533 in proposed raises.
Instead of using this money for executive increases, the board could decide to give the money back to the students in refunds, open more classes or give our faculty and staff members better raises. Imagine how many more classes could be opened with $800,000, not to mention the other annual increases CSU executives have been receiving.
But question is: will the board make the right choice?
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