The CSU Board of Trustees approved an average 13.7 percent salary increase for all CSU presidents, bumping Cal Poly President Warren Baker’s salary up by more than $33,000 to $286,896 annually.
Some Cal Poly faculty members were angered over the board’s decision, especially in the wake of an 8 to 10 percent student fee increase.
Even before the salary raise, Baker made more than any other CSU president. With the salary increase, he keeps that position, making $9,000 more than any other president.
“As the president of the CFA (California Faculty Association) and a member of the faculty, I was outraged. I was completely outraged,” said Manzar Foroohar, CFA Cal Poly chapter president and history professor. “We have been in negotiations for a contract for faculty since the last increase. And we were fighting for a few dollars just to increase the faculty salary. Most of us have not gotten any raises for the last three years.”
Baker’s housing allowance was also raised from $37,000 to $60,000 and he was given an extra $1,000 in car expenses. Most CSU presidents were given $50,000 to $60,000 in housing allowances.
Larry Kelley, Cal Poly’s vice president for administration and finance, said that the CSU presidents have not had a pay increase since about 2000. He said that the presidential salaries were increased in an effort to elevate CSU salaries to the national averages of other universities.
“This is the first step in a five-year plan to help close the salary gaps for each of the employee groups,” Kelley said. The “employee groups” include faculty and staff, which will see a 3.7 percent salary increase retroactive as of July 2005.
“Look at this education system – it’s going down the drain because we are losing faculty and we cannot recruit new, high-quality faculty,” Foroohar said. “. . . Then we went to this trustees meeting last Thursday and they voted to increase on average 13.7 percent for campus president salaries. In just one minute they decided to do that.”
“. . . The average CSU presidential salary of $217,751 lags behind the average $325,502 CPEC (California Postsecondary Education Commission) comparison group salary by 49.5 percent,” wrote the Committee on University and Faculty Personnel on Oct. 27.
“If we have that much money, why don’t you raise faculty salaries so we can recruit new faculty and offer classes that the students need to graduate?” Foroohar said. “On the one hand, you’re raising student fees and on the other hand you’re cutting classes so they cannot even graduate on time.”
Social Science Department Chair Harold Kerbo was critical of the presidential salary increase, noting that it perpetuates a gap between those at the top and bottom of America’s social hierarchy.
“My expertise in this area is that I’m a specialist in social stratification and inequity,” Kerbo said. “This is a trend that’s been going on since 1980 … every year since 1980, we have had more income inequity – a gap between the top and bottom. It has gone up every year.”
Baker’s 13.2 percent salary raise was not the largest among the CSU presidents. The CSU Northridge president received a 22.9 percent hike followed by Fullerton at 22.7 percent.
“I want them to show me one case of a president who left a CSU because of low salary,” Foroohar said, referring to numerous Cal Poly faculty who have left because of low salaries. “They keep saying that they have to raise the president’s salary because they want to keep them here. Do you think President Baker would leave for another job because he didn’t get $60,000 in housing and loans?”