How much is enough for a Cal State president?
The California State University trustees reportedly approved pay increases for the presidential posts at two campuses, in each case boosting them above $300,000. It seems an odd choice just as the university is talking about freezing enrollment and nixing practically all spring admissions next year. Not because the university could accept 20,000 more students with the money it could have saved on pay raises -- more like five of them -- but because the message to the public is apparently supposed to be that the university simply doesn't have an extra cent to spare, except when it wants to.
Executive pay at public colleges and universities has been a continual topic of discussion recently. Cal State trustees say their system already pays less than comparable schools across the nation, but the state Legislative Analyst's Office has reported that CSU compared itself with universities that were out of its league.
Another valid question is whether Cal State has to compete very hard with those other schools. The new president of Cal State Fullerton was picked from Cal State Dominguez Hills, where she earned $295,000 a year plus perks. And no one has offered a reason for her 10% raise to almost $325,000 for shifting to a campus a few miles east. Seeing how broke Cal State is, would she leave the system altogether because $295,000-plus just isn't enough money?
Photo: Students walk past the Music and Theatre Hall at Cal State Los Angeles. Facing uncertain budget prospects, Cal State officials announced plans to freeze enrollment next spring at most campuses. Credit: Barbara Davidson / Los Angeles Times