State senator introduces bill aimed at freezing UC executive pay

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Senator Leland Yee, D-San Francisco, introduced a bill to UC campuses this Monday that would prohibit pay raises for executive officers during budget crises or student fee increases.

The bill, known as SB 8, would prohibit the UC and CSU systems from increasing monetary compensation or approving bonuses for executive officers — including campus chancellors and presidents — until a minimum of two years have passed since the last systemwide fee increase.

Additionally, the bill seeks to prevent executive officer salary raises during years in which state funding to the UC and CSU systems has decreased or remained the same as it was the previous year.

“Raises need to be prohibited,” said Adam Keigwin, Yee’s chief of staff. “(Yee) believes that if you go to a public university like a UC or CSU, you shouldn’t need to get rich.”

According to Keigwin, pay increases for executive officers have been an issue of much concern to Yee for a while. In 2009, Yee introduced SB 86 — a similar bill that passed through the state Legislature but was vetoed by former governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. In 2012, he introduced SB 967, which the Senate Education Committee failed in March.

Darius Kemp, UC Student Association spokesperson, said that the organization has not decided where it stands on the bill but that the association has supported the bills Yee has proposed in the past.

“It is more of an image of the (UC) system,” said Kemp. “The system cannot be seen as increasing student tuition regularly and then also doling out pay increases to executive officers.”

UC spokesperson Dianne Klein said the university has opposed such bills in the past because they could restrict its ability to compete for top administrators at a time when campuses are experiencing major budget reductions.

“The two most recently appointed chancellors — at UC San Diego and UC Berkeley — took pay cuts from what they were making at private universities, where each served as a dean,” said Klein in an email.

Last week, the UC Board of Regents approved an annual base salary of $486,800 for incoming UC Berkeley chancellor Nicholas Dirks, a $50,000 increase from the current base salary of his predecessor, Robert Birgeneau.

Keigwin said the Senate Policy Committee will review the bill in the first week of January.

Contact Alyssa Neumann at [email protected].