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  • pringleBy Brendan Pringle, Foundation Activist at Cal Poly State University-San Luis Obispo

    The Cal State University professors can whine all they want about administrative greed and about the impact of cuts to education, but the students are the ones that ought to be complaining.

    The U.S. Department of Education reports that approximately “8 percent of students who entered repayment of their loans defaulted on them,” and youth unemployment remains excessively high. Yet, no one wants to try to solve this rampant problem at the university level.

    Do Higher Teacher Salaries Help Students?

    The California Faculty Association (CFA) continues to demand its promised salary increase under the notion that it will help the students. But is a salary increase really going to make the quality of education any better for the students? 

    In CFA’s defense, administrative greed is absolutely disgusting and must be checked. Just last February, the CSU Board of Trustees voted to increase the salary range by $20,000 for campus presidents without any public notice. In addition, administrative salaries have risen at a much higher rate than that of faculty salaries.

    However, pensions have remained untouched for all CSU employees, while other state employees had to step up their pension contributions from 5 to 8 percent. Shouldn’t all government employees have to pay their “fair share”?

    When College Costs Go Up, College Executives are Rewarded

    Meanwhile, California legislation seeking to end the absurd inflation of university executive salaries enters the legislature with a lot of steam, but eventually putters out when the vote comes along. One such pending bill would prohibit pay raises for top state university administrators when student fees are increased or during bad budget years. It would also bar new executives from receiving more than 5 percent of their predecessor’s pay.

    This would be a good start, but only makes a dent in the problem. Universities create new administrative offices and vice presidents year after year. Wouldn’t it be cheaper to simply hire more assistants or secretaries if the burden is too great? Administrative cronyism creates unnecessary offices so that favored professors may receive higher pensions after retirement.

    At least salaries are transparent, but employee benefits and reimbursements are often hidden from the public eye. A recent public audit of former CSU Vice Chancellor for Information Technology David Ernst’s expenses between July 2005 and July 2008 revealed that he received a total of $152,441 in reimbursements.

    Apparently, Ernst was reimbursed for $39,135 in unnecessary travel expenses (he reportedly spent $475 a night at a Shanghai hotel), $26,455 in meal expenses and $43,288 to make the trip from his home in the Bay Area to his office in Long Beach, “despite university policies to the contrary.” During this audit, Ernst “learned his lesson” and left the CSU system. He now works for the University of California system.

    The Future is Bleak

    Still, the CSU system thinks it’s “‘impractical’ to establish defined limits for reimbursing the costs of lodging.” Thus, the CSU’s outrageous blind spot remains an easy target for any and all with administrative clout. If this takes place at California public universities, I can only imagine what happens at school systems with larger budgets.

    The next time you hear about another tuition increase, consider all the waste that is factored into this hefty price tag. Without any notable resistance, it’s bound to get worse. University salaries will continue to skyrocket while the quality of education will continue to plummet. Until college graduates start to find work and stop defaulting on their loans, universities shouldn't live like fat cats.

    Brendan Pringle is a Foundation activist at Cal Poly State University-San Luis Obispo

    • Readers' Comments

    • AAGH! WHY OH WHY do you stoop to the level of liberals by using divisive, inflammatory terms like “fat cats” that play on this class warfare BS? The reality is that the American public, especially this generation, believes that Everyone needs a degree and if you don't have one you’re not smart enough to be successful in life. It's this constant lie that echoes the falsehood of being entitled to the American dream: A good job, a big house, and an easy retirement. YOU ARE NOT ENTITLED TO ANYTHING BUT YOUR CONSTITUTIONAL RIGHTS! THAT MEANS THAT YOU AREN'T ENTITLED TO AN EDUCATION EITHER!!! This mindset that everyone deserves and needs an expensive education has created an environment where there are too many students per school and the universities are able to pick and choose who gets in and who doesn't, meaning those able to pay get in and those unable to don't. This huge demand expansion drives prices continually higher. On top of this the government is in bed with big education, knowing that it churns out liberal, consumerist sheeple: easy to control and harvest from. So, government wants more “educated” young people, and there you have it: Government student loans programs. Students take on debt that many won’t be able to repay, mostly because the high paying jobs they are being educated for (law, dentistry, high level business management) don’t exist! And just like the American housing bubble, we are experiencing the American education bubble. Prices can only go so high before the balloon bursts, and the moral of the story will once again be about a government operating for its own advancement, and a public willing to sacrifice freedom and wealth for a “guarantee” to be the same as everyone else. This is not sustainable. So, ask yourself, what has helped you most during your life: liberal idiocies and abstractions drilled into your head by the public (and sometimes private) school system and the extraordinary debt you may or may not have accumulated from education, or the integrity, work ethic, hunger for knowledge, and real world experience your family and church have (or unfortunately have not) taught you. College is alright, but it isn’t for everyone. If you believe that you need an education for the career you’re passionate about; good, I don’t want a hillbilly for a heart surgeon. But if one is paying for and attending college just because they have been led to believe that you aren’t smart and productive in society without a degree, or one is going only because they think they are guaranteed a high paying job PLEASE RETHINK YOUR LIFE!!!!! Oh and I agree with you on the issue of Education being liberally biased, and I have no idea how to solve that problem…
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