Public Perception and Presidential Compensation in the
California State University (CSU)

AS-3043-11/FGA (Rev)

RESOLVED: That the Academic Senate of the CSU (ASCSU) recognize the importance of hiring and
retaining highly-qualified presidents to provide strong campus leadership in the California State University (CSU) system; and be it further

RESOLVED: That the ASCSU urge the Board of Trustees to try to improve the public’s understanding
of such hiring decisions by adopting a clearly defined policy on presidential compensation that establishes formal guidelines for the determination of compensation for campus presidents; and be it further

RESOLVED: That this resolution be distributed to the Board of Trustees of the California State
University, campus presidents, and campus senate chairs.

RATIONALE: It is important that the California State University (CSU) hire and retain highly qualified presidents to provide strong campus leadership at a time when the system has to deal with ever-increasing enrollment demand in a time of declining resources. An essential part of the recruitment process is the ability of the CSU to offer
compensation packages to attract candidates of the necessary caliber in the national
academic marketplace. Data from sources such as the Mercer Report (CSU Board of Trustees March 2011) and The Chronicle of Higher Education (April 3, 2011) indicate that compensation for CSU campus presidents is at or below the national average for
comparable institutions.

Public perception, however, is otherwise, particularly in a time of state budget shortfalls, major cuts to the CSU budget, and repeated tuition increases that have posed a serious hardship for many students (e.g., “With pay hike, has CSU gone fully tonedeaf?” Sacramento Bee, July 14, 2011). Such perceptions run the risk of undermining support for the CSU as it competes for scarce public resources.

In order that the CSU be able to meet the dual challenge of recruiting strong candidates
while managing public expectations it is important that the CSU have a clearly identified policy on presidential compensation based on guidelines that are competitive, clearly articulated, and reduce the perception that such decisions are unjustified or arbitrary. The current political environment makes it important that the Board of Trustees, logically its Special Committee on Presidential Searches and Compensation, undertake the responsibility of developing such a policy as soon as possible.

Approved – November 3-4, 2011

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