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CSU system agrees to give faculty 5 percent salary increase

by Jamie Ballard, News Editor

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After several months of dispute over faculty salaries and the threat of a systemwide strike, the California State University system has agreed to grant faculty not only the requested 5 percent salary increase, but a total 10.5 percent in general salary increases over a three-year period (fiscal years 2015-16, 2016-17 and 2017-18).

“I am delighted that we have reached a tentative agreement with (California Faculty Association),” CSU Chancellor Timothy White said. “Nobody wanted there to be a strike. It’s a very good thing that we were able to avert that interruption and invest in both student success and in our faculty.”

CFA President Jennifer Eagan agreed.

“This militant activity was not what we wanted to do,” she said. “It was evidence of an economic crisis. And this raise, while it may not make faculty rich or end economic problems, it will alter the course of our relationship with the CSU and signal that we can work as a team. We feel that the CSU truly values the faculty, along with the students.”

In a media conference call with White and Eagan, White reported the salary increase’s overall cost to the CSU would be approximately 200 million over the three-year period. This accounts not only for the salaries, but also the associated benefits.

The first set of increases will come during the summer. There will be a 5 percent General Salary Increase on June 30, 2016, for all faculty on active pay status or on leave, and a 2 percent General Salary Increase on July 1, 2016.

White said that this 7 percent is coming from a variety of sources.

There is a 2 percent budget increase that was intended to be spent this past year, but was not spent because negotiations were in progress. There was another 2 percent from the initial funded increase that was not awarded in 2015-16. The CSU also budgeted a 2 percent increase for the 2016-17 year. The sources for the remaining 1 percent of the funding are still being settled.

“There are other ideas and known sources that are still a work in progress, but we are confident in the outcome,” White said.

CSU Public Affairs Director Toni Molle said there are no plans for a tuition increase this year or next.

The CSU had previously said in order to give faculty the requested 5 percent, it would be forced to cut operating expenses at the universities.

White said this is no longer the case.

“Those documents were based on a funding solution for the 5 percent and the SSI being paid out in the current year,” he said. “Now that we have a multiple-year tentative agreement in place, those numbers are no longer valid.”

In an email to all San Diego State students, staff and faculty, President Elliot Hirshman’s office wrote, “We recognize that this has been a difficult time for our faculty, staff and students, and we appreciate the collaborative spirit that has guided our campus discussions on these challenging issues. In recognition of the critical contributions of our faculty and staff, SDSU has committed significant campus base funding to support the referenced compensation increases for faculty and staff.”

Specifically, SDSU has committed approximately $2.5 million in campus funding, which is approximately 1 percent of the 5 percent that will be allocated on June 30.

“We will allocate these funds from our university operating fund which consists of state appropriation, tuition, and cost recovery revenues,” wrote SDSU Chief Communications Officer Greg Block. “The referenced funds were being held as a reserve in the university operating fund in preparation for next year’s budget contingencies and will not be re-allocated from other current uses.”

Editor’s Note: This story was updated to include information from President Elliot Hirshman’s office and the CSU Public Affairs Office. 

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