Cal Poly under fire for using foundation funds for executive pay
September 30, 2011
Leaders at the state’s public four-year universities need to proceed carefully when it comes to using private dollars to supplement compensation packages for executives as is the practice at Cal Poly, lawmakers told California State University and University of California officials at a Senate Education Committee hearing this week. [CaliforniaWatch]
The hearing was prompted after CSU trustees decided this summer to pay $400,000 to San Diego State University’s new president – about $100,000 more than his predecessor – on the same day they voted to raise student tuition by 12 percent.
On Wednesday, legislators and the Legislative Analyst’s Office also called into question CSU’s decision to supplement the new president’s $350,000 state pay with $50,000 from the campus’ nonprofit foundation, California Watch said.
Leaders at CSU have supplemented executive pay using private funds on three other occasions, California Watch said.
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo President Jeffrey Armstrong’s $380,000 salary includes $30,000 from the Cal Poly Foundation. San Jose State University President Mohammad H. Qayoumi’s $353,200 salary includes $25,000 from the SJSU Foundation, and CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed’s $451,500 salary includes $30,000 from the CSU Foundation, California Watch said.
“Those same funds could be used for other things that benefit the university,” said Judy Heiman of the Legislative Analyst’s Office to California Watch. “So it is still a trade-off when the university chooses to use those foundation funds for executive compensation rather than, say, for programs to improve student retention or student success.”
Another bone of contention noted at the hearing was the list of institutions that the CSU’s compare themselves with when deciding whether salaries are above or below market.
“I think they’re rigged,” Brown said to The San Diego Union-Tribune. “You’ve got to deconstruct them. They create a false paradigm that ensures that college presidents are always ‘underpaid.’ ”