CSU presidents’ salaries are now state funded after some received supplemental pay from private sources

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Since Jan. 1, CSU presidents’ salaries have been required to be funded by the state, the CSU Board of Trustees decided in a meeting on Sept. 19, 2017.

The use of funding from private foundation sources as supplemental salaries for CSU presidents was originally adopted in 2012 to save tax dollars during the recession.

Concerns have since arisen about the funding being a conflict of interest, because most presidents also sit on foundation boards for their respective campuses.

In November 2015, CSU Board of Trustees approved a plan to restrict pay for new campus presidents, eliminating the use of private foundation funds from salaries.

The only residing presidents with part of their salaries coming from private sources prior to 2018 were Jeffrey Armstrong from San Luis Obispo, Leslie E. Wong from San Francisco State, Dianne F. Harrison from Northridge and Tomás D. Morales from San Bernardino.

CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White was previously approved for supplemental pay from foundation funds.

These presidents continued to receive supplemental pay because they were appointed prior to 2015, and the 2015 plan only affected new CSU presidents at the time.

White and the four CSU presidents who were previously received supplemental pay are currently being paid by the state, as decided in the Sept. CSU Board of Trustees meeting.

When the previous 2012 compensation policy was adopted, the presidents were each allowed a 10 percent increase in their pay derived from private funds. At the time of their appointment,
each of the presidents received roughly 10 percent of their pay from private funds.

During the 2018 shift in funding for CSU presidents, a 2.5 percent increase was additionally proposed for all executive employees, with the exception of Sally Roush, interim president of San Diego State, who has the highest of the CSU presidential salaries with an annual state-funded base pay of $428,645.

The presidents currently earn an average of about $300,000 annually, with CSUF president Fram Virjee earning $356,431, according to his 2018 appointment letter.

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