CSU trustees battle scrutiny

by Ana Ceballos

The lack of funds in the California State University system general fund forced Cal State students to face yet another tuition hike for the upcoming fall semester, but questionable spending in executive compensation and perks by the CSU Chancellor’s Office opposes the validity of cutting enrollments, class sizes and increases in tuition.

An investigation was conducted by CBS affiliates in Los Angeles, revealing more than $750,000 was spent on catering, private car services and other amenities. Another recent investigation by California Watch revealed the CSU system is spending at least $300,000 to remodel a free house for the new president of CSU Fullerton.

“Student fees are skyrocketing, enrollment is being capped and class sizes are exploding yet the Chancellor’s top priority is executive compensation and perks,” CFA Associate Vice President Jonathan Karpf said in response to the investigation. “This 1 percent mentality is unacceptable when it comes to California’s public higher education system.”

In addition, CSU trustees are holding meetings this week discussing new policies to furthermore compensate CSU executives. One of the proposals consists of using CSU foundation money to supplement the $300,000 state-funded salaries for campus presidents, which means the new policy would allow unlimited amounts of funding to go toward this purpose.

The foundation money used for these supplements comes from private donors, and these donations are often used for scholarships and academic programs. This money is not taxpayer money, according to CSU leaders.

As of now, CSU Chancellor Charles Reed receives these supplements along with three other campus presidents. When investigators confronted Reed, he defended the spending despite the challenges the CSU currently faces.

“This is exactly why students and faculty members are so frustrated with Chancellor Reed. His response to these outrageous expenditures shows once again that he is completely out of touch with what is happening on the 23 CSU campuses around the state,” Karpf said.

As controversy stirs, faculty are rallying outside the CSU Board of Trustee meetings being held in Long Beach.