President Hirshman to receive salary boost

Megan Wood, Photo Editor

by Quinn Owen, Senior Staff Writer

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San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman’s compensation will increase to $412,000 after the California State University Board of Trustees approved a 3 percent salary increase for CSU executives.

Hirshman’s salary is now set at $400,000, which includes a $50,000 supplement from the Campanile Foundation. Housing and a $1,000 car allowance is also provided for the president.

These numbers make Hirshman the highest-paid university president in the CSU system. He is the second-highest compensated CSU executive after CSU Chancellor Timothy White, who makes $410,000 with a $30,000 supplement and housing expenses provided.

This pay increase comes the same year as the implementation of the Student Success Fee. The then-proposed fee sparked student-lead protests during the grand dedication of the Conrad Prebys Aztec Student Union last spring.

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Director of Public Affairs Michael Uhlenkamp said the system-wide pay increase was appropriate despite individual universities increasing costs.
“The three percent pay increase is fair and competitive compensation,” Uhlenkamp said.

 

He said university tuition and executive compensation are two separate issues.

Hirshman makes more than the average University of California chancellor. In the UC system, chancellors head the individual UC schools and on average make $312,000 according to the University of California website.

The CSU system has not increased tuition for students since 2011. However, SDSU students have seen an increase in fees in the past 10 years, including the Student Success Fee.

The CSU Board of Trustees does not have influence over the implementation of university-specific financial decisions such as the Student Success Fee, but the CSU Chancellor is required to approve them.

Uhlenkamp said the system must provide competitive salaries to attract highly skilled administrators and said executives haven’t received a salary increase since 2007.

“We want to have the very best people in place at our universities,” he said.

Hirshman was hired in 2011 and started with an unprecedented $350,000 annual salary. Supplemental compensation brings the total to $400,000.

At the time, the salary was a $100,000 more than Hirshman’s predecessor, Stephen L. Weber, who was compensated $299,435 annually in 2011, according to the CSU’s website.

UntitledGov. Jerry Brown objected to Hirshman’s starting salary. Brown wrote a letter to the CSU Board of Trustees Chairman that condemned high levels of compensation for CSU executives. Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom also voiced his concerns over excessive CSU executive compensation at the time.

SDSU spokeswoman Beth Chee said Hirshman’s salary increase is a decision made at the CSU level and said it “is not appropriate” for the university to comment.

The Campanile Foundation, the organization that provides Hirshman’s $50,000 supplemental compensation, also declined to comment.

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