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CSU presidents are not underpaid

September 21, 2007

Re "Cal State trustees OK executive raises," Sept. 20

In spite of the assertions of some California State University trustees and the data from the California Postsecondary Education Commission, the presidents in the Cal State University system are not underpaid. CSU presidents do not have the duties or responsibilities of many of their counterparts at "comparison institutions."

Unlike presidents of private institutions, CSU presidents do not have to raise the significant funds that ensure their institutions' survival, nor do they need to worry about their ranking in U.S. News & World Report to recruit students. Unlike their counterparts at major research universities or sports powers, they do not have to recruit academic superstars or winning football coaches to protect their institutions' standing or fend off powerful alumni.

Most important, they do not have to deal directly with the Board of Trustees or a legislature, as do presidents of universities that are not part of a system. The CSU has a chancellor who has those responsibilities and is well paid to exercise them.

If the CSU is having difficulty in recruiting presidents -- and we are not even provided anecdotal evidence to make that case -- it may have less to do with salary and more to do with how presidents are treated in the CSU organization.

Vince Buck

Fullerton

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