Cal State University executives received a 3 percent salary raise at a July 24 board of trustees meeting.
CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White, five vice chancellors and the 23 campus presidents will receive the same compensation increase.
The salary increases were proposed by White. Garrett Ashley, vice chancellor, was the only CSU executive to receive an additional 9.6 percent raise after having two additional titles added to his portfolio responsibilities with no pay increase: state government relations function and alumni relations function.
Gov. Jerry Brown’s approved $92.1 million budget increase for the 2018-19 year made the salary increases possible, according to a CSU budget report.
Although the raises are already approved, members of the Students for Quality Education and the California Faculty Association urged the trustees at their Tuesday meeting to prioritize students and faculty going forward.
“For the first time in many years, higher education funding has been taken seriously in the state of California,” said Rafael Gomez, the associate vice president of the California Faculty Association. “I’m asking all of you to please reexamine the approach you have taken in terms of the budget. What we really need is more students in the classroom and more tenure-track faculty in the class.”
Gomez said the budget money was given with the expectation that it would be used to increase student enrollment and the number of tenure faculty members.
Susan Green, Chico State professor and California Faculty Association treasurer, said to the trustees during the meeting that Students for Quality Education and the California Faculty Association activists helped secure the $364 million in CSU funding in the first place.
“You’re welcome,” Green said to the board of trustees.
The increase that was voted on and approved for the administration at the board meeting was a similar percentage to what was given to all the employee groups, with the exception of the faculty, who will receive a larger 3.5 pay increase on Nov. 1, said Mike Uhlenkamp, the chancellor’s office spokesman.
Uhlenkamp said salary increases are only considered when there is room in the budget.
“When the budget is good, then we negotiate contracts with our represented employees that lock them in to giving them raises over a number of years,” Uhlenkamp said.
Emily Hinton, CSU student trustee, sent out an email encouraging student government representatives to get more involved in CSU board meetings, as they add student voices to the conversation.
In the email, Hinton said that the increase was “planned and budgeted for ahead of time and was given in order to address the increasing cost of living and keep up with the rate of inflation.”
Liz Sanchez, Students for Quality Education member and Cal State Fullerton graduate student, said they want the board of trustees to stop with the salary increases for executives altogether.
“As of right now, there are students who do qualify for financial aid and still obtain loans because of the cost of living,” Sanchez said. “I think it’s a slap in the face the fact that they want this money while we are truly suffering the costs of living.”
Andrew Flores, California Faculty Association intern and CSUF student, said students need more representation at the system level and more support from the CSUF Associated Students.
“We still should be out here as students. It’ll be a lot better for the work that we do to unionize as students. And so far, our student government is falling short on that,” Flores said.
Sanchez said there should be a board of trustees meeting “shutdown” in order to send a direct message.
“They’ve seen us yell on the outside. They’ve seen us cry on the inside of the meeting. We’ve brought statistics. We have brought our own personal narratives and nothing has changed,” Sanchez said.