By Sandy Isidoro
Students from local California State University campuses held a question-and-answer session with California State University Chancellor Charles Reed last Friday in an attempt to get answers from him concerning budget cuts.
The chancellor currently makes more money, if not the same, as the U.S. president.
This was also something students wanted an explanation for.
While tuition continues to increase, it seems that so does the chancellor’s annual income, which is currently $421,500.
The students wanted their demands to be met, which included the chancellor’s support in AB 1326 Oil Extraction Fee and SB 8 Transparency.
A question asked was, “Can we count on you to bring revenue to the CSUs by publicly supporting the oil extraction business?”
“I am working as hard as I can to get as much revenue and the revenue comes from California taxes, and I am willing to take revenue from any source,” Reed said.
His answer did not directly answer whether he supported taxing the extraction of oil.
Reed apparently went around the question and was faced with students wanting a more direct answer. “I am not going to endorse any new tax,” said Reed.
Reed was also asked if he would support SB 8, which would create transparency and would ensure that universities would make their records public.
He said he supports something similar to the bill.
“We are negotiating on that bill,” he said repeatedly.
There is currently only one student on the Board of Trustees to represent all the students in the system.
When this issue was presented, the chancellor said that he is not in charge of who gets appointed to the board.
“It’s the governor’s business as to who the governor appoints to serve on the Board of Trustees. I do not get involved in that at all,” said Reed.
He pointed students to make their case to the governor’s office.
This statement puzzled students because, according to them, it is his job to represent the students, but he repeatedly stated he will not get involved in getting more student representatives on the board of trustees.
One student asked the chancellor, “Since you made it very clear that you are not working in the very best interest of CSU students and faculty, the students want to know when you will submitting your resignation?”
This was something various students at the session wanted to know and while he did not give a date of when this would happen, he mentioned that he works very hard.
“I worry about students first,” was a statement from Reed that made students wonder about why his compensation is so high.
One student said, “Do you feel that pain with the $451,500 salary, car allowances and housing allowances?”
Reed said his amount of compensation is set by the Board of Trustees.
“I work as hard as I can seven days a week,” he said.
Tuition fees have gone up 242% since 2001, and while classes have been cut and faculty laid off, Reed’s salary has increased and so has other board members.
Reed does not decide on the amount of his compensation, but he can refuse it.
He was also questioned as to any personal interest involving who is on the Board of Trustees, seeing as how they are the ones who choose his salary.
A television news reporter who was present at the event asked him if he in fact makes more money than the U.S. president, to which he said, “I do not know how much the president of the United States makes.” The president of the U.S. makes $400,000.
“I’ve had to live with the decisions that the governor and the legislature made in Sacramento, and I would hope that you could help me because if you help me then you’re going to help yourselves,” said Reed.
His closing statement did not seem to change student’s hearts toward him as they only wanted to ask more questions.
The event did create some dialogue between students and the chancellor as students do not always get to address him in person.
While things are not going to get solved with this discussion, it brought attention to the concerns of students.