How much money should a CSU president make?

July 10, 2011

The debate over how much money a California State University president should be paid flared up again with word that the new president of San Diego State University will make $100,000 more annually than his predecessor. [LA Times]

Dr. Elliot Hirshman, in a move scheduled to be approved Tuesday by CSU trustees,  will be paid an annual salary of $400,000—$350,000 from the state and an additional yearly supplement of $50,000 from the campus’  nonprofit foundation.

Many lawmakers, students and faculty were incredulous at the salary recommendation and its timing, coming after the Legislature and governor approved a spending plan last week that cuts $650 million from Cal State, with additional reductions possible.

On the same agenda Tuesday, the university’s governing board will consider a recommendation to increase annual tuition by 12 percent — or an additional $294 a semester for fall 2011. That would be on top of a previously approved increase of 10 percent. Over the last decade tuition has tripled, to $4,884 a year for undergraduates in the university system.

A study commissioned by the chancellor found that CSU campus presidents are underpaid compared to their peers, receiving on average only about 52% of the pay of chief executives at similar institutions. Current presidents have not received a raise since 2007.

Trustees faced scrutiny last January when they agreed to pay the new president of Cal Poly, Jeffrey Armstrong, $350,000 in state-funded salary, plus a $30,000 annual supplement from the campus foundation. Until that point, according to a lawsuit filed by the faculty association, the salary schedule for the system’s campus presidents had ranged from $223,584 to $328,200.

The suit, filed in April, alleges that the chancellor and trustees violated California’s open-meeting laws by failing to provide public notice of the increase in the maximum salary range.


Seems like the question should be “Are CSU Presidents worth their salaries?” – Of course that is loaded, but still a more pertinent question than how much should they make.


I don’t know any of the CSU presidents, but it seems to me like their main job is really about fund raising for the university. I know that Warren Baker made Cal Poly millions of dollars in his era. I would think that paying a person $350,000 per year who runs a campus with several thousand employees and 16,000 students is a pretty good deal. Try finding a CEO that will work for that in the private sector with the same responsibilities.


I think we should draft a proposition limiting the maximum wage or salary paid by the California taxpayer to a state, county, or city employee. At a time when both state and local governments are seriously hurting budget-wise, the amount we pay out to the administrators at the top of the pile is complete ludicrous.


The governing board’is buying a cozy relationship with the new chief in the future. That’s OK in the private sector, kinda, but it’s nothing but a bribe paid by taxpayer’s here.


Just what does a CSU President do anyway???


It is a sign of the times…

They will ask for as much as they want, whether they are worthy or not.

In the private industry, performance and accountability are the measure of ones worth, yet in academia and the public sector no accountability or performance is required to dish out ever higher salaries and bennies…


The difference here is their “peers” in Private Industry have to actually show accountability and produce a measured outcome, not just attend gala events for cocktails with dignitaries.

Academia is just sliding further and further into the cesspool. I’ve lost pretty much all respect for most those involved.


From the story:

A study commissioned by the chancellor found that CSU campus presidents are underpaid compared to their peers, receiving on average only about 52% of the pay of chief executives at similar institutions. Current presidents have not received a raise since 2007.

This is the daisy chain strategy that has resulted in many State, County and City workers salaries going out of control. The real story is that if the CSU Presidents get a raise, then the Chancellor can argue that his salary needs to be raised. The Chancellor wants a raise.

This is the same scheme the City Managers used to raise the City employees’ and their own salaries. Once the higher paid City employees were getting paid almost as much as the City Manager, the City Manager then goes to the City Council and say he needs a raise.

The Chancellor, like the City Manager, has a complete conflict of interest in negotiating salaries.


The pay scale for administrators in Academia and the Public sector are beyond silly. I used to here these same folks puff up and tell us how much more they COULD make in the private sector…I would naturally ask, “why stay? why not enrich yourselves??” They’d scoff and say something like how they ‘love education” and want to ‘help students.’ How noble these administrators are!

The truth is, they would find it very difficult to find employment other than on a board of directors of a major publishing house ( they sell text books… get it?).

The raise in tuition is not the real issue…. California has one of the least expensive programs around… whether or not it is worth it is another question. The real key is to pull administrative salaries downward … so, where are the California elected representatives on this issues? Oh, I think they are still licking their wounds caused by the supreme court bouncing out their unconstitutional video game law.

Maybe they will resolve the hot button transgender bathroom issue and w will all be saved?

California public administrators need to be taken to the woodshed!