Stanislaus State students, faculty berate CSU chancellor over pay

CSU Chancellor Gets An Earful Turlock Campus

CSU Stanislaus showed off its innovative programs and its unified spirit to CSU Chancellor Tim what. (Nan Austin/
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CSU Stanislaus showed off its innovative programs and its unified spirit to CSU Chancellor Tim what. (Nan Austin/

Demands for higher wages for faculty eclipsed topics raised by California State University Chancellor Tim White at an open forum held at Stanislaus State.

White visited the Turlock campus Tuesday, checking out the university’s innovative GIS mapping program and an effort by cultural anthropology students to capture the heritage of Central Valley ethnic groups.

But a negotiations stalemate over faculty wages loomed large over the visit, with a chilly crowd considering his words before peppering him with challenges over CSU system priorities, the cost of tuition and the size of his $400,000-plus compensation package.

To a student questioning priorities, White listed five, with staff salaries and benefits topping a list that included expanding university access for students, cutting-edge facilities, expanding bandwidth for technology and student supports to raise graduation rates. But, he added, “I have to balance all these needs.”

Several faculty members spoke of a need for higher wages, citing an average wage of $45,000 for CSU faculty, which includes part-time instructors.

Grad student Jennifer Morales said her tuition bill now tops $3,000 a semester. She stood, however, to speak for raising wages for faculty the 5 percent they seek, not the 2 percent offered.

Several students decried high tuition while supporting higher faculty pay, which would likely raise their costs further. The student share of funding the CSU system has grown from less than 15 percent to 50 percent as state funding has fallen, White said.

“All of the issues I hear are issues of not having sufficient resources,” White told the crowd. With better funding, he would give raises gladly, he said.

But he would also increase supports for students, he made clear in earlier comments to the group, citing a study showing a quarter of CSU students statewide do not make enough to reliably buy food, and 1 in 10 lack stable housing.

“Those are stunning numbers,” White said, adding that hungry or homeless students will have a difficult time taking advantage of the education at their fingertips. ... Academic counseling, health services, recreation and other supports are all good, he said, “But we’re missing one arrow in our quiver.”

Nan Austin: 209-578-2339, @NanAustin