CSU’s budget cut causes faculty to lose part of their raise

By Matthew Acosta, Sept. 27, 2022

This summer, Governor Newsom and California legislators made last-minute changes to the CSU budget which resulted in a reduction of funding from $311 million to $211 million which ultimately decreased faculty raises.

The $100 million cut curbs staff members’ raise increase from 4% back down to 3% amid rising of national inflation. This change comes as after the California Faculty Association fought for salary increases along with the bonuses related to COVID-19 all while the CSU Presidents received significant raises.

“The 4% was already nothing, so 3% is insulting especially given the inflation that we all have to deal with as people who provide for their families,” said CFA member and Associate Professor of Communication, Sunny Lie. “But here’s the President with a $100,000 bonus and here is me who has sacrificed blood, sweat and tears for seven years and I can barely provide for my family of one child.”

California has one of the highest annual surplus budgets in the country and currently holds $97.5 billion in surplus. The $100 million needed to grant California State University staff their full 4% raises would have amounted to 0.1% of that budget surplus.

In the July statement, CFA President Charles Toombs wrote, “Time and time again, the Governor has turned to our faculty to advocate for his priorities. Yet, when faculty work tirelessly to keep the CSU afloat through COVID-19 pandemic and Title IX scandals, he would rather turn the other way.”

This budget cut comes just months after the CSU had to handle its own scandal in regard to former CSU Chancellor Joseph Castro’s Title IX case, in which he was paid a $400,000 settlement package.

Cal Poly Pomona faculty and staff worked tirelessly over the spring to fight for the 4% pay raise.

“We were hugely disappointed, we did fight really hard to get that in the contract and we did not like the language from the contract that made it contingent on the budget,” said Gwen Urey, the elections committee chair for the Pomona CFA chapter. “It could have been worse if we hadn’t done all that fighting.”

This budget cut has heavily affected the CSU staff, however, not the CSU Presidents. The part of the budget that went unaffected was the minimum 7% raise for each of the 23 CSU Presidents.

For CPP’s President Soraya M. Coley the raise is even higher with a 29% increase in her annual wage going from $340,247 to $440,544 according to CSU Board of Trustees 2022 meeting in July.

“It appears that the Board of Trustees don’t seem to work hard enough to secure our funding but yet they did give another round of executive raises,” said Nicholas Von Glahn, president of the CPP CFA chapter. “I have no problem with the President getting a raise, I think everybody deserves a raise, it’s the disproportionate that I don’t understand.”

Sharon Wu | The Poly Post

The CSU declined The Poly Post’s request for an interview.

The next step for the CFA in the longstanding battle is to prepare for the upcoming bargaining in spring of 2023. This will include things such as adjustments due to the cost of living as well as looking for salary increases due to inflation.

Over the past five years, salary raises have drastically varied, with some faculty receiving a maximum of 11%, administration roles receiving between 7% and 13% and President Coley receiving her 29% salary increase.

Gov. Newsom is currently considering whether to assign a bill that would require the CSU to give staff wage increases over the next 10 years.

The CSU Board of Trustees did hold a vote Sept. 7 to request $530 million from the state which includes $261 million for faculty and staff raises, however this still falls short of what is fully needed to completely fulfill staff and faculty salary increases.

“We do have re-openers so our contract through June 30, 2024, is up for the compensation article which we are re-opening to bargain another raise for the summer of 2023,” said Urey. “That will be a big fight and we will go into that with even less trust than we had before.”

Feature image by Sharon Wu

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