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In July 2011, California State University trustees announced they were hiking tuition at state schools by 12 percent. That same day, the trustees announced they were also upping the salary for incoming SDSU president Elliot Hirshman by $100,000 compared to previous campus president, Stephen L. Weber.

In response, State Senator Ted Lieu proposed a bill that would limit pay raises for California State University presidents, require trustees be more open when doling out raises, and give priority to those administrators already in the CSU system.

The representative from Long Beach announced his amendment to Senate Bill 755 on January 4.

“CSU trustees should not be spending limited state resources granting $100,000 raises for executive positions,” stated Lieu. “We must limit salaries to a reasonable level that is consistent with California's and CSU's fiscal conditions.”

Specifically, Lieu's amendment states that CSU campus presidents should not earn more than 150 percent than California's top judge takes home, which is $228,856 a year. Instead, Lieu wants to cap salaries for campus presidents at $343,269. In addition, Lieu's amendment includes a provision that prohibits state trustees from raising salaries within three years of any tuition hikes.

A legislative committee will review the bill in the next week.

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Visduh Jan. 7, 2012 @ 9 a.m.

That cap isn't all that much of a cap. It would not prevent big boosts for many or most of the CSU campus presidents as it now stands. And the system could probably get around it by using donated funds ($50K of Hirshman's pay is from such a source). It seems that in tough times, all must tighten their belts, except for those at the top of the pyramid. Just keep in mind that the new president's pay is pale in comparison with the pay of the head football coach. His pay is huge, and whether or not the Aztecs won or lose, he pulls down a princely salary.

Actually, that last provision about raises within three years of tuition hikes is the part with real teeth. The justification stated for these big and growing salaries is that "other universities" pay even larger salaries. Generally, there is no evidence provided for that claim. Nowadays, even the richest of the private universities (think Harvard, Duke, etc.) are cutting back because the income from their multi-billion dollar endowments is shrinking. The current trend is not likely to reverse soon, and all must learn to do with less.


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