Another great issue to talk with!
By Michael Goldstein
By Dennis Romero
By Sarah Fenske
By Matthew Mullins
By Patrick Range McDonald
By LA Weekly
By Dennis Romero
By Simone Wilson
According to Vance Peterson, the foundation's president, during the search process for a new CSUN president, "there was a conversation among the executive committee, who wanted to know what we could do to be helpful. The chair contacted the chancellor and said, 'Let us know if we can be helpful.' "
Ultimately, the CSUN Foundation agreed to add to the future presidents' salary the 10 percent allowed by the CSU Trustees' new loophole, believing it might draw in a higher-quality leader.
Peterson emphasizes that the offer was made before Dianne Harrison, then the university president in Monterey, was chosen to lead CSUN.
Using private funds to bolster schools' critical positions, however, could blur the hazy line between public and private partnerships. Right now, the CSUN Foundation covers less than 5 percent of the school's budget, Peterson says. That portion could grow. And as the outside donors become woven into the infrastructure, the tensions could become greater between a campus scrambling to meet its basic needs and a foundation operating in its name that behaves more like a private-sector organization than an arm of the teetering state of California.
For example, with $99 million in assets, the CSUN Foundation spends what looks, from a distance, like eye-catching amounts on overhead and fundraising.
In 2011, while it spent $890,236 on student scholarships, the CSUN Foundation paid $462,000 to the Northern Trust company to administer its assets.
Another $728,098 of CSUN Foundation's expenditures were for "hospitality."
Peterson defends the foundation's hospitality expenses, which he says were used largely for alumni events that act as "investments in future revenues from private sources." The payment to Northern Trust, which he says provided the foundation a 21.9 percent return on its investment, was "very well spent."
Carl Robinette, a graduating senior who was editor of the Northridge student paper, the Daily Sundial, says that at CSUN, with classes being slashed due to state budget cuts, some students must wait years to graduate because they can't get the credits they need.
"Graduations are delayed, financial aid is being lost because there's requirements of how much you have to be taking. International students have lost residency status because they can't get enough units to fulfill residency requirements," he says.
Robinette personally supports the raise for Harrison, saying it's a "big job" and saying he recognizes the need for a "nationally competitive salary."
Nonetheless, he says, the trustees' argument that huge presidential salaries were required to hire or retain Harrison and the other presidents is seen at CSUN as "a fallacious argument."
Ultimately, "People see this raise as a fight against students," Robinette adds.
But to his way of thinking, "the main thing attacking students is state funding — and the board's budget decisions."
Another great issue to talk with!
So, it isn't the CSU executives who give themselves $300,000 to $400,000 per year salaries (and up) that are the problem. Nor the fact that they give themselves $5,000 per month housing allowances and $1,000 per month car allowances over and above their salaries--no, that's not the problem either. It is, as "Bemis" (who, I take it, presumes to speak for the entire public) states: "overpaid professors and staff" that are the real problem.
How, Bemis, do you read an entire article (but you didn't actually read it, did you? Reading isn't really your forte, is it?) about the obscene increases in executive pay in the CSU system and come to the conclusion that the problem is the people who make much much less? Staff members make between $30,000 and $50,000 per year (with most salaries at the bottom of that scale, and only a very few at or above the top of the scale), while professors make anywhere between $30,000 and about $90,000 per year--with doctoral and other advanced degrees and years of training and experience. Ah, but for you, all employees are merely malingerers, with your "back to work" comment. And you hate unions because union employees are overpaid, don't you? But people who make nearly half a million dollars a year are not overpaid, and sure, throw in free houses and cars as well. You see "the hijacking of public institutions," but you are too addled by Limbaugh-esque pro-rich propaganda to see the cause of it.
And this is how the people who *are* hijacking the system will continue to get away with it. Because they have people like "Bemis" convinced that it is the teachers and staff who are the problem, not the executives (oh no, *never* the executives).
I'll give a fourth choice, the people's choice: (A), cut the useless courses and their overpaid professors and staff: it may be true that every sociology, psychology and ethnic/gender studies class ads some barely perceptible "value" to society; but not enough to justify the hijacking of public institutions that is occurring at the state colleges and the UC; we know the colleges and universities won't do it--they're hooked on expansion and tuition raises: so give the choice back to the taxpayers--the so-called "stupid" people who pay for it all. Put it up for a vote-the top 10 courses and departments to cut! You'll see whites, blacks, hispanics and everyone else agree on what to cut: the soft, mushy courses only a dedicated and vocal minority support;. (B), The admin budget of a campus, direct and indirect, is not to exceed 3% of its gross revenue from all sources averaged over the 5 preceding years; (B-1), any Administrator who won't work at a frozen salary no higher than a professor's tops salary ought to be shown the door; (C), no more pensions! Eliminate those that can be done away with: Colleges did just fine without them until the 70's: (D) stop the building! Incessant building on every campus needs to stop! No more pools, rec facilities, gardens, faculty lounges, etc. (E), stop subsidizing "research" in the non-science courses unless a "professor" has been there 8 years: then he gets 2 months and its back to work. Don't like it? Fine. Bye (F), ban any and all unions in and on state college campuses and get rid of those things that add no value, and drive up costs.
@Bemis I initially agree with the notion of cutting useless courses. However, I would also argue psychology, sociology nor gender/ethnic studies fall into the paradigm of useless courses. In fact, those very subjects may very well help with the immense amount of misunderstanding in society today. Colleges, universities and their students/graduates may be better served adding classes around 'making your major work for you". Getting a degree is only the battle---figuring out what to do with said degree and becoming successful is the war. Just a thought! While I may not whole-heartily agree with all of your ideas; I applaud you for putting thought into the crisis. Brainstorming from different points of view are vital! Hold Strong Cali!
@Bemis two things: 1) putting the financial burden on student and faculty is not really acceptable and not really necessary. 2) the incessant building, if I'm correct, is another result of private money being the main source of income for the school. When private entities donate cash, they get to say where it goes - and it appears that if they don't, the BoT figures our where to put it. Okay I lied, one more thing: the unions are not useful because they have no say on anything. Today they can spend time and resources on voting for something and the administration goes the other way; it's pitiful. The CSU system is not functioning like an entity with one brain, making decisions to further its goals (survival and education). There is a group of people making 100s of 1000s in salaries and benefits to make decisions that don't effect them much, and then there are the people who work and go to school there and the two seldom agree. As for a solution.. how about a new rule where private donor don't get to allocate where it goes? student, faculty and staff unions - the ones who have to use it every day - should have some decision-making power.
Time to replace the board of trustees! They are apparently out of touch and you just can't fix stupid!!!!
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