CSU proposed campus president raises

Courtesy PhotoSan Francisco State University President Leslie Wong has a salary of $298

Courtesy PhotoSan Francisco State University President Leslie Wong has a salary of $298

Amid an ongoing budget crisis, a proposal to increase the salaries of three California State University campus presidents, including San Francisco’s, by 10 percent more than what their predecessors were paid is being questioned.

The 23-campus CSU system stands to lose $250 million in funding if Gov. Jerry Brown’s tax measures are not approved by voters in November. The public universities already cut $750 million from their budgets last year.

Because of the budget crisis facing California, CSU trustees in May 2011 agreed to increase salaries for new presidents only using funds from individual university foundations, said CSU spokesman Mike Uhlenkamp.

He said the policy acknowledges the crisis yet keeps California competitive and able to bring in qualified individuals to run the universities.

“It’s a financial challenge,” Uhlenkamp said. “But that makes it all the more important to have individuals who are able to help us persevere and get through this challenge.”

The salary proposal is expected to be discussed Tuesday at the Board of Trustees meeting in Long Beach.

The California Faculty Association — the union representing 23,000 CSU faculty, counselors and librarians — said the pay increases, even if from private funding, are poorly timed.

“From the faculty perspective, it’s kind of a bad example of how we spend our money at a time when fees of students continue to go up every semester,” union spokesman Brian Ferguson said.

San Francisco State University hired Leslie Wong this past May, following Robert Corrigan’s announcement that he would retire after 24 years as president. Wong has served as president of Northern Michigan University for the past eight years.

In addition to Wong’s $298,749 salary, he will get $26,251 from a university foundation fund, a $60,000 housing allowance and a $1,000 monthly car allowance, according to the salary proposal submitted to trustees.

By comparison, the pay of presidents from the San Bernardino and Northridge campuses are proposed at $290,000 and $295,000, respectively. Interim presidents’ salaries at Dominguez Hills ($295,000), Stanislaus ($270,000) and Monterey Bay ($270,315) also are being considered in the proposal.


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