The Senate Education Committee Wednesday rejected legislation that would have curbed pay increases for college administrators, just a day after trustees of the California State University System gave 10 percent boosts to two university presidents.
Sen. Leland Yee (right), D-San Francisco, argued that his measure, Senate Bill 967, was needed to send a message to trustees that hefty raises are inappropriate while student fees are being increased and enrollment is being curtailed.
But just four members of the Democrat-controlled committee, two short of a majority, voted for Yee's measure and three voted against it.
The bill would prohibit trustees from increasing any monetary compensation of an university executive officer for two years if fees were rising or state appropriations for the system were being reduced. It also would cap the salary increase for any new executive at 5 percent of that paid to his or her predecessor. And it would ask University of California regents to abide by the same rules, although the UC system is constitutionally independent.
On Tuesday, CSU trustees, meeting at the system's headquarters in Long Beach, approved raises for the presidents of CSU East Bay and CSU Fullerton, despite complaints from students and faculty members and public criticism by Gov. Jerry Brown. The 10 percent increases were the maximum allowed under a board policy.
A university official conceded to the Senate committee Wednesday that the raises were "bad optics...bad juju" in light of budget cuts and enrollment restrictions. Critics of the bill said it would set a bad precedent of micromanaging university affairs.
""It is another sad day for our students," Yee said in a statement after the committee action. "Unfortunately, the Education Committee has sent the completely wrong message. Rather than stand up for students and faculty, they protected the 1 percent and condoned CSU's bad behavior. CSU students and California taxpayers deserve better than the status quo."