Special to Mustang News
Cal Poly President Jeffrey Armstrong promised to move forward with plans to increase staff and faculty salaries at a listening session Thursday afternoon.
During the Q&A session, which comprised the majority of the event, staff and faculty voiced similar concerns over the fairness of their compensation compared to other universities, between the Cal Poly colleges and between genders on campus. Armstrong and University Provost Kathleen Enz Finken told attendees that their voices were heard and that they are doing everything they can to be transparent and address this pressing issue.
The session filled Julian A. McPhee University Union (UU) room 220 with faculty, staff and students.
In the Q&A portion of the event, English professor Johanna Rubba said Cal Poly staff and faculty feel demoralized and want to see action.
“I want to see gender gap in salaries closed and I want more money devoted to faculty salaries,” she said. “It’s got to be there somewhere. If you can hire more administrators and give them big salaries, you can raise faculty salaries. We’re worth it.”
Armstrong said salary increases are a priority for Cal Poly.
“This is (the) No. 1 priority for us: to increase the salaries of our faculty and staff. We cannot continue to have Cal Poly be the excellent university it is today into the future if we don’t do that,” Armstrong said.
$2.5 million has been allocated for salary adjustments, $500,000 of which is being processed now. Come July 1, $1,000,000 will be implemented for the fiscal year, $500,000 will be given the following year and the final $500,000 will be incorporated after that.
In comparison, the 20 highest-ranked administration employees received a total of $147,000 in salary increases from 2013 to 2014, according to data from the Sacramento Bee State Worker Salary Database.
Here’s how those numbers break down:
Armstrong said the $2.5 million salary increase isn’t enough.
“We need two, three times $2.5 million, easy, to move where we need to move,” he said.
Where we need to move, Armstrong said, isn’t only toward an increase in pay.
“It’s not just (about) paying more, it’s also (about) hiring additional faculty and staff to make class availability even better,” he said.
Though the state has given money to Cal Poly, Armstrong said it isn’t enough and that he is trying to come up with ways to get more money in order to satisfy the staff and faculty’s financial needs.
“I want you to know that we are on the same page,” Armstrong told the audience. “We are striving to put additional resources (and) additional plans into place so that we can do more.”
Armstrong said student success depends heavily on faculty and staff success, and he recognized that increased salaries will help faculty and staff be more successful.
“Our success is dependent on your continued commitment to be the best you can be, and we need to equip you and reward you so you continue to do that,” he said.
“If we have the opportunity to do more, we obviously will,” Enz Finken said. “And we will be trying to work on a more long-term plan that would address the concerns overall of this campus.”
Graphics by Celina Oseguera and Shelley Westerson.