Incoming California State University system Chancellor Timothy P. White wants a pay cut.
White announced Wednesday he requested the CSU Board of Trustees reduce the state-funded portion of his salary by 10 percent, dropping it from $421,500 to $380,000. The Board was happy to oblige, approving White's request.
"Despite the passage of Proposition 30, there remain grave economic issues to solve in California and the California State University," White said in a statement. "The success of the measure was the voice of the voters and taxpayers of California to start to reinvest in education. I also recognize that Californians expect me to properly steward these resources. Consequently, as I join the faculty, staff and students who have experienced cuts, salary freezes, and increased fees, I too must do my part. This is the basis of my request to reduce my own compensation to contribute to the rebuilding of this great university."
The high salaries for chancellors and presidents at the Cal State and University of California systems are targets to students who've criticized the state's higher education system as they endure significant tuition hikes. Funding issues have stagnated faculty wages as well.
In May, students protested in a hunger strike, demanding a pay cut for CSU administrators and a halt to tuition hikes.
State lawmakers, such as state Sen. Leland Yee (D-San Francisco), pushed for a crackdown on CSU executive pay earlier this year with proposed legislation aiming to cap pay raises for college chancellors and presidents at public universities in the state. Gov. Jerry Brown (D) also criticized executive pay at state universities amid budget constraints.
On Wednesday, Yee applauded White's pay cut.
"For too long, the CSU administration has been more focused on enriching their executives than on the betterment of the university as a whole," Yee told the AP. "Fortunately, Chancellor White appears to have a different set of values."
CSU Board Chair Bob Linscheid noted in a statement White "was not obligated to make the request to reduce his compensation," but applauded him for doing so. White will still receive a $30,000 salary supplement out of privately raised funds from the CSU Foundation, a $1,000 monthly vehicle allowance and will live in a university-owned residence, the AP reports.
White is taking over as chancellor of the Cal State system from, leaving his previous role as chancellor of the UC-Riverside campus. He's scheduled to replace retiring CSU system Chancellor Charles Reed on Dec. 31.