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Cal State trustees approve new pay plan for campus presidents

May 9, 2012 | 11:57 am

California Faculty Association protest

The governing board of California State University on Wednesday agreed to freeze state-funded salaries for new presidents but allow campus foundations to boost that pay up to 10% more.

The action by the Board of Trustees was in response to criticism from students, faculty and lawmakers over a recent series of sometimes steep pay raises for new executives at a time when the system has hiked tuition and reduced enrollment because of state funding cuts.

Chancellor Charles Reed has argued that competitive salaries are needed to attract top talent. University leaders said they hoped that asking individual campus foundations rather than taxpayers to foot more of the bill will address concerns.

But during the public comment period, dozens of students and faculty said Reed and trustees placed more importance on compensating presidents than on the sacrifices they had made.

The speakers included several students who are on a hunger strike demanding a moratorium on tuition increases, a roll-back of executive compensation and greater free-speech rights on campus.

"We're tired, our bodies are tired but our spirits are strong," Natalie Dorado, 25, a Cal State San Bernardino student, told the board. "We will continue to fight to claim what is ours, to stand in solidarity with campus presidents, faculty and other students to claim our university."

The students held signs that read, "Gone Fishin for My Education," and "Execs Swim in Money, Students Swim in Debt."

Several students briefly disrupted the meeting, shouting "Reed, Reed stop the greed, give the students what they need."

Some, who did not stop chanting after they were warned, were removed by campus police.
Public anger over executive compensation was sparked in July, when trustees awarded the new president of San Diego State a salary of $400,000 -- including $50,000 from the campus foundation. The amount was $100,000 more than his predecessor.


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Photo: Faculty members and others march at a demonstration and rally, featuring an unflattering characterization of Chancellor Charles B. Reed, by the California Faculty Assn. outside a meeting of the Board of Regents of the California State University in Long Beach on Tuesday. Credit: Reed Saxon / Associated Press