UC Board of Regents approves raises for campus administrators, lawyers

As police faced off with protesters at the UC Board of Regents’ meeting Monday, the board approved over a quarter million dollars in raises and stipends to 10 campus administrators and lawyers.

The raises — finalized at a chaotic meeting during which protesters forced proceedings to a halt — were approved for three campus vice chancellors and six campus lawyers and will cost the university about $234,000 annually. The board awarded the raises, effective Dec. 1, with only Regent Eddie Island voting in opposition.

The highest raise was awarded to UC Davis Chief Campus Counsel Steven Drown, whose salary will jump 21.9 percent from $205,045 to $250,000. The board also approved an annual stipend of $17,625 for UC San Francisco Vice Chancellor for Student Academic Affairs Joseph Castro to serve as the interim dean of the campus Graduate Division.

Although Drown’s raise was the most dramatic by percentage, UCLA Vice Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer Steven Olsen will receive the highest yearly earnings of the vice chancellors given raises at the meeting, with a $316,842 annual salary as a result of a 9.9 percent raise.

UC President Mark Yudof said the raises were necessary to keep important administrative employees at the university from leaving and pursuing employment at other institutions.

“These retention efforts are critical,” Yudof said. “I understand it’s not a great time, but we can’t really close down shop and say we’re not going to make any effort to retain our best people.”

The financial decisions of the university came repeatedly under fire during a public comment period almost three times as long as the one-hour allotted time, as audience members said the Regents demonstrated poor handling of finances and a lack of commitment to students.

“I’m not here to talk about your mismanagement of police action on campus,” said Charles Schwartz, UC Berkeley professor emeritus of physics, as he addressed the board at UCSF. “I’m here to talk about your mismanagement of finances at the university.”

Students also greeted the raises with skepticism. Charlie Eaton, a UC Berkeley graduate student and financial secretary of United Auto Workers Local 2865 who participated in the protesters’ meeting that interrupted the UCSF regents’ meeting, said the raises showed irresponsible leadership.

“It’s a sign that the bankers and millionaires on the Board of Regents are out of touch with what Californians want from our university system,” he said.

Many present at the meeting also shared concerns that the university is leaning dangerously close to privatization, including Assembly Speaker and ex officio Regent John Perez D-Los Angeles, who received audible praise from the audience at UCLA after touting the importance of providing affordable education for the state’s students.

“It is appalling that we have gone down the route of charging for educational services,” he said.

Damian Ortellado covers higher education.