Hirshman’s $400,000 salary is approved by CSU Board despite Governor’s letter

by Sandy Coronilla

Antonio Zaragoza/ Photo Editor

This morning, the California State University Board of Trustees approved the $400,000 salary of new San Diego State President Elliot Hirshman despite Gov. Jerry Brown’s letter to Chairman Herbert Carter asking the board to rethink the criteria for determining administrators’ salaries.

The letter sent today calls attention to the hard hits and “painful sacrifices” that CSU faculty and students have had to endure because of the recession.

“It is in this context, and prompted by the salary decision you are about to make today, that I write to express my concern about the ever-escalating pay packages awarded to your top administrators,” Brown wrote.

The meeting held in Long Beach set off a Twitter firestorm by higher education reporters and advocates in attendance.

Despite Brown’s letter and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom’s comments addressing the relatively high amount of the salary on a day when the board also apporved a 12 percent tuition hike, CSU Chancellor Charles B. Reed encouraged the approval of Hirshman’s salary.

Read Gov. Brown’s letter here

“This system has not increased compensation for executives for four years,” Reed said, according to a tweet by the California State Student Association.

SDSU Associated Students Vice President of University Affairs Mina Azim, present at the board meeting, said she is glad to learn Carter will be moving forward with the reevaluation.

“I understand why President Hirshman’s salary was approved as the CSU strives to set a competitive edge to ensure the excellence of our leaders within the CSU. Dr. Hirshman will provide excellent leadership to SDSU,” Azim wrote.

The CSU Committee on University and Faculty Personnel approved the $350,000 salary. The compensation package includes a $1,000-per-month vehicle allowance and reimbursement for moving costs as well as for expenses incurred in selling Hirshman’s Virginia residence. In San Diego, he will occupy a house provided by the university.

The salary will also include $50,000 from San Diego State University Foundation sources, for a total of $400,000 — an amount higher than that of former SDSU President Stephen L. Weber, who was compensated $299,435 annually according to university records.