Ortiz defends salary at open forum

By Andrew Canales

Cal Poly Pomona students and faculty filled Ursa Major in the
Bronco Student Center on Tuesday night for the quarterly Pizza with
the Presidents.

At the open forum, University President Michael Ortiz and ASI
President Jonathan Jianu fielded questions including the seemingly
never-ending tuition increases, CPP’s drive to become
carbon-neutral, and even their respective cereal choices.

Associate Vice President for University Relations Ron Fremont
was the emcee for the night, collecting student questions from the
comment box, as well as the questions posted on Twitter and
Facebook, respectively.

Questions arose regarding the salaries of staff members, and
Ortiz specifically.

The question came from Twitter via @DemarcoAG.

Using the hashtag #askOrtiz, he tweeted:

“Do you think its fair that your salary is over $200,000/year
during these tuition hikes & our financial crisis?”

Ortiz told the crowd that his salary is justified because of the
number of hours he works during any given week, and also because of
the pivotal role his wife plays in his job without earning a cent
in salary.

He silenced the room with a question of his own.

“How much is it worth to you, as a taxpayer, for someone to have
the responsibility to call a parent up and say, ‘I’m sorry, Mrs.
Smith, I know you entrusted your son to my care, but last night he
blew his brains out in the engineering building?’ That’s happened,”
said Ortiz. “I’m not saying that I’m dissatisfied with my salary.
What I am dissatisfied with is that people don’t give a crap what I
do; they only look at the number.”

There has been word circulating regarding the possible tearing
down of the CLA Building in favor of the construction of a new
building in its place.

Ortiz explained that this is indeed true, but necessary because
of a fault lying beneath the base of the structure. Due to safety
concerns, the building will be demolished, but not before a new
state-of-the-art replacement is erected.

“We changed our plans from seismic retrofit to building a
building that will replace the CLA Building,” said Ortiz. “It was
approved by the Board of Trustees. What we’re going to do is build
the best student services building in the state and it will be
focused on what your needs are.”

The event lasted about 15 minutes longer than the scheduled time
and questions were also answered via Twitter by Director for Public
Affairs Uyen Mai.

Pizza with the Presidents

Jonathan Cruz / The Poly Post

Pizza with the Presidents

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