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Keeping an eye on executive pay

“UC regents have odd sense of ‘injustice’ when it comes to pay” read the headline of an editorial in the Los Angeles Daily News in late September.

The article criticized the regents for voting to raise the pay of three of the lowest-paid UC chancellors 20 percent, to over $383,000.

“The board trotted out the old argument about pay hikes being necessary to keep the university’s indispensable leaders from being lured away to more lucrative jobs,” said the editorial, and “UC President Janet Napolitano — who last year accepted a starting salary lower than her predecessor’s — got into the act by saying the chancellors ‘are paid far less than leaders of other public universities in other states.’”

Media response continues

The influential online magazine Slate also poked fun at the regents for the move, saying “comfort yourselves in the knowledge that every chancellor in California has been raised from the depths of pretty rich to really quite rich.” The only regent voting to oppose the move, reports Slate, was “valiant lieutenant governor Gavin Newsom.”

Other media outlets were also critical. In an opinion in the Merced Sun-Star, two lecturers in UC Merced’s Merritt Writing Program say the disparity between chancellors and other staff “who are also working very hard is unjustifiable,” and suggest that those executives “be the first to show America that pay equality in today’s world is possible.”

Editors at the San Diego Union-Tribune, noting that UC offers “no convincing evidence” for raising chancellors’ salaries, argue that UC leaders are oblivious to the “pay-tuition link.”

Meanwhile in the August UC regents meeting, during a session to confirm four new regents, UCLA’s Daily Bruin and UCB’s Daily Californian reported that students and faculty members objected to what they say was Governor Jerry Brown’s lack of consultation over the appointments, as well as the fact that all four nominees were businesspeople rather than community, labor or academic leaders.

The UC Council of Faculty Associations had asked the Senate Committee charged with confirming the appointees to reject them. Three of the four were donors to Brown’s campaign, the Daily Bruin reported.


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