Elliot Hirshman, UD‘s erstwhile, young-man-in-a-hurry, colleague – whose negotiation of a massive raise over his predecessor’s salary at a Cal State campus really pissed people off – is back in the news.

Hirshman left DC for the $400,000 a year presidency of San Diego State (whose condition at the moment UD would characterize as sports-corpse):

It was that $400,000 salary – awarded in July to the new president of San Diego State on the same day the trustees raised tuition by 12 percent – that lit a match under the already heated topic of executive pay.

California has cut about $1 billion from CSU’s budget in recent years, tuition and fees have doubled since 2007, and hundreds of instructors and courses have vanished.

Meanwhile, San Diego’s new president, Elliot Hirshman, accepted a salary that was $100,000 higher than the outgoing president, a raise of 34 percent.

Indeed, ever since July Elliot hasn’t been able to preside much over the school, his remarkable dedication to the bottom line having alienated pretty much everyone before he was able to draw one presidential breath. No fewer than three state legislators have introduced bills capping the system’s executive compensation this way and that way.

Elliot and the generous Cal State trustees have tried sitting all of this out, hoping the controversy would go away, but no such luck. The pressure has built, threatening to unseat the chair of the trustees himself, so the trustees have finally folded.

California State University trustees voted today to limit salaries for new campus presidents, and to consider economic realities before making salary offers.

The new plan, approved unanimously by the trustees in Long Beach, caps a president’s base pay at 10 percent of what the prior president earned, but allows it to be supplemented with private money.

You want that private money thing in there so that you can guarantee corporate interests an opportunity to exploit the school.

Elliot must be dreading the next round of negotiations on his salary. Surely the school doesn’t expect him to be satisfied with $400,000 next year.

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5 Responses to “Elliot Redux”

  1. Michael Tinkler Says:

    I find these private moneys amazing…”oh, we’re not wasting state money on this million dollar remodeling of the presidential mansion, it’s from a foundation!” That’s the administrative equivalent of blaming everything bad about sports on a booster foundation.

    Perhaps that’s one thing that’s systematically more honest at private institutions – since we know that ALL the money is basically private.

    (love “sports-corpse” — I’m picturing the Walking Dead, though)

  2. Mike S. Says:

    Yup, there’s always a catch isn’t there? Today it’s the private supplement to the salary, tomorrow something else. God forbid we should hire someone who wanted to the the job for its own sake rather than inflated ego and paycheck.

    The ruling class in the US is historically illiterate. You can only crap all over the peasants for so long before they reach for the pitchforks and torches. Looking at that Brown U/G-S compensation committee post from yesterday… how many years will pass between the crash of late 2008 and the beginning of vigilante justice (in the face of DoJs willful neglect of its duties)?

  3. AJ Says:

    Michael, I’m confused by this:

    Perhaps that’s one thing that’s systematically more honest at private institutions – since we know that ALL the money is basically private.

    No, you don’t want private, corporate contributions at private schools. Accepting such corporate grants really monkeys with what the private school can teach, think and research. You hope that your alumni are successful and grateful enough to make personal unrestricted gifts to the endowment, with the school’s operating expenses coming from the income of the endowment portfolio in a very public, transparent manner.

  4. University Diaries » Texas Christian: The New San Diego State Says:

    […] (a school with many and varied scandals over the years – sports, drugs, presidents with, er, money issues) showed back in 2008, with its guns and brass knuckles and cocaine and all, it does […]

  5. University Diaries » Few American Universities Have a History as Sordid as San Diego State. Says:

    […] was so greedy an outraged state legislature and outraged citizens forced the SDSU trustees to make some changes. Bankrupting themselves through sports? An earlier president seems to have spent his entire term […]

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