Sonoma State University paid 76 employees more than $100,000 last year, according to a new database made public for the first time this week.
The online database, published by state Controller John Chiang, details $71.3 million in wages paid to more than 3,300 full-time and part-time employees at the Rohnert Park university.
President Ruben Armi?na, who was paid $331,359, took home the highest salary on campus last year — nearly twice as much as Gov. Jerry Brown.
"We have to be able to be competitive with our salaries in order to remain competitive here," SSU spokeswoman Susan Kashack said. "And the cost of living in Sonoma County is so high, we have to take that into account."
To promote transparency, the university already publishes a book every year that lists every employee's name, title and salary, Kashack said. The information is available to the public, Kashack said.
The controller's database lists more than 800 SSU employees as holding multiple positions with the state, and of those, 36 were paid more than $100,000.
"That's not going to be uncommon at a university where you have multiple positions that are part-time," said Jacob Roper, spokesman for the controller.
Most staff and administrators don't hold more than one position, Kashack said, but some professors or department chairs are hired as special consultants for projects like writing research grant proposals. For example, a faculty member also was listed as a special consultant and was paid wages totalling $156,658. Teaching assistants also sometimes hold more than one part-time job simultaneously.
Some SSU faculty members believe their salaries are lower than those paid at other CSU schools, while administrators are paid at higher rates, said Robert Karlsrud, professor emeritus.
"There's nothing wrong with making high salaries, but if you have many more administrators on campus than comparable-sized campuses, and those administrators are making more than on other campuses, then there are a lot of questions," Karlsrud said. "Does that mean that there is less money for instruction, or what?"
Karlsrud also complained that faculty were put on furloughs last year, while some managers received pay raises.
Kashack said all faculty and management staff took furlough days that amounted to a 10 percent wage reduction last year. She said no one has received a raise in three years, but some staff have been paid more for taking on duties of employees who left the university and were not replaced.
"We are saving money there because we did not hire a whole new employee," Kashack said.
Meanwhile, tuition has been increasing system-wide at California State Universities.
The board of trustees for the CSU system approved a 15 percent tuition hike in November. On Tuesday, CSU trustees are scheduled to vote on a proposal to raise tuition by 12 percent, or $294 per semester, to help replace $650 million cut from the state budget.
If approved, the tuition increase would take affect this fall.
The CSU system recently dominated a nationwide list of four-year public schools with the fastest-growing tuition, compiled by the U.S. Department of Education.
The list, released last week, compared tuitions charged during the 2007-08 and 2009-10 academic years, and tuition at those schools rose at rates of 35 to 50 percent during that one-year period. A third of the 32 schools that made the national list were CSU campuses, but Sonoma State University was not on that list, despite its recent tuition increases.
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