CSU, Long Beach, News

Conoley & CSU executives’ salary increase creates disdain from faculty

Long Beach State president Jane Close Conoley received a 28% or $106,227 salary increase in July, California State University board of trustees voted to give university presidents equity and compensation adjustments.

The California Faculty Association, which represents most CSU faculty, has voiced their disagreement with the decision after faculty received a 3% raise. They plan to continue expressing their disdain during Tuesday’s board of trustees meeting.

President Conoley was unable to comment on the issue.

CSU public affairs senior director Mike Uhlenkamp cited the November 2019 policy stating that the board of trustees review the campus president’s performance every three years. As part of that review, they decide if a compensation or salary assessment is warranted.

CSU board of trustees agenda showing the raise each university president will receive.
CSU board of trustees agenda showing the raise each university president will receive. Photo credit: Vincent Medina
CSU board of trustees agenda showing the median salary between university peer groups.
CSU board of trustees agenda showing the median salary between university peer groups. Photo credit: Vincent Medina

“We’re not trying to set the bar, we are trying to pay our university leaders, just like we’re trying to pay any other members or employees at the CSU at an appropriate level,” Uhlenkamp said. “So for us to be able to retain and recruit the best and the brightest individuals, we have to be able to offer appropriate compensation.”

The CSU tries to pay university presidents the median compensation compared with other university presidents across the country.

For the CSULB the peer group, consisting of CSU campuses and universities of similar size across the country, the median salary between presidents is $498,269.

Uhlenkamp said that he does not understand why faculty are upset over Conoley’s raise.

“You cannot compare faculty compensation because the jobs are different. [President Conoley] is overseeing a university with 30,000 plus students,” Ulhenkamp said. “It is a complex, dynamic institution, almost like running a small city. It’s different from being a member of the faculty.”

CSULB anthropology professor and CFA executive board member Ron Loewe said he felt “grotesque” over Conoley’s “massive” equity adjustment.

“If equity is based on her salary, compared to other presidents, maybe,” Loewe said. “In terms of the administration versus faculty, I think it’s very inequitable and unfair.”

CFA leadership negotiates the salary for the faculty, which includes the 4% pay increase in July 2021.

This year faculty received a 3% raise, according to the anthropology professor.

“Why does Conoley deserve a $106,227 raise,” Loewe asked. “She’s a nice person, it doesn’t have anything to do with her personality. But, as far as I know, she’s very hands off when it comes to advocating for faculty.”

CFA plans to protest and give public comments during Tuesday’s CSU Board of Trustee’s meeting.

“We want more equitable distribution of funding for faculty salaries,” Loewe said.

The CSU Board of Trustees’ meeting will be at Dumke Auditorium at the Office of the Chancellor in Long Beach on Tuesday and Wednesday. Public session starts at 9:30 a.m.

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