CSU starts to see the light on pay
Facing criticism on many fronts -- including from The Times' editorial board -- California State University trustees backed down Tuesday from their long-planned, much-amended and nevertheless unacceptable proposal for setting salaries for campus presidents.
Instead, they adopted a last-minute, alternative proposal to cap the salaries of new presidents at no more than 10% above what the new hire's predecessor made. And that doesn't include the hefty $400,000 pay for the president of San Diego State University that caused such a ruckus last summer. At this point, the cap would be $325,000.
This sounds like a reasonable interim proposal, but the trustees still haven't come up with something that represents an equitable and smart policy for hiring good people without giving away the bank. Too bad so much time was wasted on the ill-conceived proposal that fell apart. It compared salaries at CSU with those at universities with medical schools, law schools, bigger endowments and bigger research budgets.
Meanwhile, let's hope that the two bills in the Legislature that would regulate pay for Cal State presidents are either withdrawn or die quickly. The provisions in those bills are more arbitrary and problematic than the proposal that died Wednesday. The trustees may have been less than nimble at devising a reasonable way to pay executives, but legislators know even less. Control of academia by politicians is seldom a good idea.
Photo: San Diego State's Elliot Hirshman. Credit: San Diego Union-Tribune