The California State University Board of Trustees on Tuesday approved a salary of $400,000 for Elliot Hirshman, the new president of San Diego State, over the objections of Governor Jerry Brown, The San Diego Union-Tribune reported. The salary is $100,000 more than the previous president earned -- an increase that system officials said was justified to attract top talent. Faculty and student groups have criticized the pay plan, saying it is insensitive at a time that the university system is facing both budget cuts and tuition increases.
In a letter released before the board vote, Governor Brown rejected the idea that the large increase in salary was needed. "The assumption is that you cannot find a qualified man or woman to lead the university unless paid twice that of the chief justice of the United States. I reject this notion," Governor Brown write. "At a time when the state is closing its courts, laying off public school teachers and shutting senior centers, it is not right to be raising the salaries of leaders who -- of necessity -- must demand sacrifice from everyone else."