State Sen. Ted Lieu sent California State University trustees a letter today asking them to rescind yesterday's decision to pay the new president of San Diego State $100,000 more than his predecessor.
"You, your chancellor, and your administrators will no longer be able, with a straight face, talk to the Legislature about CSU budget cuts when you just gave a massive raise for one of your administrative positions," the Democratic senator from Torrance wrote to CSU board chairman Herbert Carter.
"Your actions have also damaged the reputation and judgment of your chancellor, who supported the salary increase, and the majority of trustees who voted for it. The board's actions send the clear signal that it cares more about lavish salaries than educating students. The students, faculty and people of California deserve better."
Lieu wrote that he was "struck by disbelief" that the board of trustees would increase salary by 25 percent at the same meeting it increased student tuition.
On Tuesday, trustees approved a 12 percent tuition increase for the fall that comes on top of a 10 percent raise they had approved last year. Minutes later, they approved a compensation package for Elliot Hirshman, who began earlier this month as the president of San Diego State, that includes a salary of $400,000. Hirshman's predecessor, Stephen Weber, earned an annual salary of $299,435.
Earlier Tuesday, Gov. Jerry Brown sent a letter to CSU trustees saying he was concerned "about the ever-escalating pay packages awarded to your top administrators."
"I fear your approach to compensation is setting a pattern for public service that we cannot afford," Brown wrote.
Lieu's letter backed up Brown's argument.
"Your rejection of Governor Brown's letter shows to me that you are completely out of touch with the economic and political realities facing California," Lieu wrote.