CSUSM faculty speak out against salary inequity


Jasmine Demers, Managing Editor

CSUSM faculty and the California Faculty association are voicing their concerns for the salary inequality that has occurred throughout the entire CSU system, and are looking to enact a program that could address those issues.

The Campus Salary Equity Program, which is a provision included in faculty contracts, says campus presidents have the option to adopt plans to correct salary inequalities.

“The provision said that campus Presidents could authorize a Salary Equity Program which would be designed to correct inequities. Unfortunately in the last contract, between 2011 and 2014, no campus Presidents across the system went through with this provision,” said Darel Engen, Associate Professor of History and the President of the CSUSM Chapter of CFA.

According to Engen, there are several inequity issues at play within the salary distribution on campus. The first is a salary inversion, where people with less experience and lower rank are getting paid more than faculty with a higher rank. There are also many cases in which there is a salary compression, where higher ranking faculty are getting paid only a small amount more than lower ranking faculty.

“Faculty hadn’t had a raise for seven years until this year when we were given a small raise for the first time in a while. Because there were no raises, our salaries were stagnant,” said Engen. “In order to hire new people they had to give them the going rate that other universities would provide. So, new faculty are getting paid more than people who have been around for several years.”

In the Spring of 2014, the Academic Senate passed a resolution which urged President Haynes to implement the Equity Program in order to address the salary inequity issues at CSUSM.

Although raises of between 1.6 and 3 percent are being implemented this semester, they do not resolve the CFA and faculty concerns that some faculty members are thousands of dollars behind for their level of experience and education.

University administrators told the faculty that the small raises were due to state budget constraints, despite pressure by the CFA to use other resources to fund the program. The California Faculty Association had been putting pressure on the CSUSM Administration, as well as other University’s within the system, to find other funds to correct the inequity issue.

The CFA asked Dr. Howard Brunsis, Professor of Accounting at Eastern Michigan University and President of the Collective Bargaining Congress of the AAUP, to do a budget analysis of CSUSM. He concluded that CSUSM does have the resources to fund the Equity Program.

In a letter last year from Engen to Haynes, the CFA leader wrote that “for mere pennies on the dollar — just 0.37 percent of the university budget,” it would be possible to “fund [the] campus’ share of what it would take to close the gap between the CSU’s and CFA’s salary proposals.”

In an interview last week, Engen said, “What we told them when we were bargaining this contract last year was that we would accept a meager raise as long as CSU campuses undergo a campus salary equity program with the cash reserves that they have.

“The chancellor gave the green light this time around, and President Haynes committed to implementing an equity program on our campus,” he said.

Anne Lombard, an Associate Professor of History and the Faculty Rights Representative for the CSUSM Chapter of CFA, has been on the faculty since 2000. She explained her own experience.

“My salary is still under $70,000 a year. I have a PHD from Columbia Law School, and the salaries of other people in my rank are on average about eight to ten thousand more,” said Lombard.

Lombard also explained that she has not experienced a salary inversion but rather a salary compression because new faculty are making slightly less than her.

According to the Sacramento Bee State Worker Salary Database (www.sacbee.com/site-services/databases/state-pay), Lombard made $68,300 last year. Another associate professor of history — the same rank and approximate hire date as Lombard — from the University of California Santa Cruz, made $86,900 in 2013.

The same database shows that an assistant professor of history at CSUSM — a lower rank than Lombard — made $66,000 in 2014, only $2,300 less than Lombard’s salary.

“There is a growing awareness that [faculty] are getting paid way less than brand new faculty with no experience and will possibly never get to the level that they expected, and it makes people depressed,” said Lombard. “A demoralized faculty, I think, doesn’t necessarily put as much energy and creativity into the job as you would like them to.”

One of the motto’s of the CFA states that “Faculty working conditions are student learning conditions”. This means that students are also affected by these inequities because Faculty members are struggling to make ends meet.

“We want the administration, the public, and students to know that we are not just faculty members who are griping that they want more money. We are actually falling out of the middle class,” said Engen. “We are here doing a job that is really important by educating people, but we can’t accomplish that job when we have to take on extra work that cuts into our main focus, which is teaching our students.”

[blockquote cite=”Marisol Clark-Ibanez” type=”right”]”It is very demoralizing because you feel like you are putting in so much work. You don’t come into this job for the pay, but there is quite an injustice because they are devaluing my labor and input by consistently and structurally putting me at bottom of the pay scale.”[/blockquote]

Marisol Clark-Ibanez, a tenure track Associate Professor of Sociology and CFA member, said, “It is very demoralizing because you feel like you are putting in so much work. You don’t come into this job for the pay, but there is quite an injustice because they are devaluing my labor and input by consistently and structurally putting me at bottom of the pay scale.”

The State Worker Salary Database shows that Clark-Ibanez, who was hired in 2003,, made $66,000 in 2014. However, an assistant professor of Sociology at CSUSM — a lower rank with less experience — makes $6,100 more than Clark-Ibanez.

The database shows that an Associate Professor of Sociology (same rank and approximate hiring date) from the University of California Santa Cruz made $86,000 in 2013 — $20,000 more than Clark-Ibanez’s 2014 salary.

“I work so much and if I was smart, then maybe I would work to my pay scale, which would mean a significant pulling out of things that I am passionate about and care about,” said Clark-Ibanez.

Faculty members and the CFA are now voicing concerns that the Salary Equity Program has yet to be implemented, despite the fact that the CSU Chancellor and President Haynes have agreed to it. According to Engen, the administration is waiting on the current faculty raises to be implemented and recorded in the data system.

“What we’re concerned about now then is that in May, when we go back to the reopener bargaining table in year two of the contract, it is possible that we will still not see the equity program in place,” said Engen.

In the meantime, CFA is working with non- updated data so that they may begin to develop a plan to correct these issues.

“CFA has formed a committee of faculty members to look at data and sort of make preliminary outlines for what we think the Equity program should look like and decide what we think it will take to address this issue.”

CSUSM Provost, Graham Oberem, commented on the concerns of faculty members and explained that as soon as the salaries raises are updated, they will move forward with the program.

“Currently, CFA/CSU contract salary increases are being processed with those adjustments coming into effect through April.  Once these system wide salary changes are calculated, we will do a full analysis of faculty salaries on our campus to see what remaining faculty salary equity issues still need to be addressed.”

Oberem said he is working with the Office of Faculty Affairs to do the equity analysis. Once it is complete and a plan designed, the faculty will be consulted.

President Haynes will make the final decision about the campus-based faculty salary equity program, he said.

The Campus Salary Equity program would significantly decrease the pay inequities that CSUSM faculty have experienced, and will ultimately provide them with opportunity to focus on their passions within education. For more information on the faculty union’s views, visit calfac.org.