Photo: University of California at Berkeley

Some state lawmakers want to bar California State University and the University of California from giving top administrators raises during bad budget years. But the bill they backed died yesterday in the Senate Education Committee.

The bill by Sen. Leland Yee would have also prevented pay hikes within two years of a student fee increase. Sen. Loni Hancock (D – Berkeley), who supports strict caps on university executive pay, says that by rejecting the bill lawmakers are sending the wrong message.

“It is a terrible situation when we’re turning students away, we’re raising student fees, and we’re giving salaries that appear more in line with corporate executive compensation. And if that’s the reason people are here they really shouldn’t be here.”

The committee did approve a bill by Sen. Elaine Alquist (D – Santa Clara) that mirrors a new CSU policy in which campus presidents cannot earn more than 10% above their predecessor. Sen. Alan Lowenthal (D – Long Beach) calls that reasonable. “There is a role for the legislature without micromanaging and without being overly restrictive.”

Earlier this week, Cal State trustees put that policy in action by granting the maximum 10% pay hike to the new presidents of Cal State Fullerton and Cal State East Bay. It was another blow to students who are angry over the executive pay issue and say they’re the ones being hit hardest by university cutbacks. Adding insult to injury: Also this week, CSU trustees voted to freeze enrollment for the spring semester.

Dead in Committee: Bill to Cap Salaries of Top University Administrators 22 March,2012Ana Tintocalis

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