Originally published March 20, 2012 at 8:21 a.m., updated March 20, 2012 at 5:11 p.m.
Despite plans to freeze enrollment next spring at most of its campuses to combat state funding cuts, the California State University Board of Trustees today approved salary packages for two campus presidents that are 10 percent higher than their predecessors.
Concluding its two-day meeting in Long Beach, the board on an 11-3 vote approved a $324,500 base salary for Cal State Fullerton President Mildred Garcia, and a $303,660 base salary for Cal State East Bay President Leroy Morishita.
CSU officials have said competitive salaries are needed to attract competent university leaders.
But in a time of dwindling budgets, the raises drew criticism from union officials, students and even Gov. Jerry Brown.
"The colleges ... a lot of public employers think that they have to give pay raises, and I don't think so, because the average person has not gotten a pay raise, and the kids have been paying more in tuition," Brown told reporters in Sacramento. "So I think they have to find ways of attracting people, and they have to widen the pool."
The pay increases were capped at 10 percent under a rule the trustees enacted in January -- a move that came after the board was widely criticized for approving a $100,000 salary boost to the new president of San Diego State University last year.
Cal State officials Monday announced plans to freeze enrollment next spring at most campuses to deal with $750 million in funding cuts in the 2011-12 fiscal year and to wait-list applicants the following fall pending the outcome of a tax initiative on the November proposed by Brown.
If those tax initiatives fail, it would trigger another $200 million in funding cuts for the CSU system.
"The university system is still a half-billion dollars in the hole, and if this trigger cut goes into effect, we will be at the same level of state funding as 1996, but serving 90,000 more students," said Robert Turnage, CSU assistant vice chancellor for budget.
Cal State's campuses customarily receive roughly 70,000 applications in the spring. Under the plan now being considered, most of Cal State's 23 campuses will not accept new students. But eight campuses -- Fullerton, Los Angeles, Channel Islands, Chico, East Bay, San Francisco, San Bernardino and Sonoma -- will take a few hundred transferring from community colleges for the spring 2013 semester.
The alternative to cutting back on students would be to raise tuition again -- a step that has drawn bitter criticism in the past.