Dr. Mildred Garcia is the new California State University, Fullerton president.  She will be taking over for President Gordon.  Admittedly, I knew very little about our new selected president.  I did want to like her though because she is the first Hispanic to be president in any of the schools (she was first president with CSU Dominguez Hills) in the CSU system.  Then, I found out how much money Dr. Garcia will be making, $324,500, compared to President Gordon’s $295,000.

Of course, like many others, I met this news with outrage.  How is it possible that with all the budget cuts, the CSU Board still continues to give raises to all the top administrators?  I decided I needed to find out more about our new school president.  What I found was actually surprising.

Although Dr. Garcia will be paid more than President Gordon was paid, she comes with a good track record.  She has a clear policy of putting student’s needs first.  In her years at CSU Dominguez Hills (2007-2012), Dr. Garcia changed that school for the better.  Dominguez Hills now has a higher retention rate and more people are graduating than before she started her presidency.   There are also a lot more incoming freshmen than in the years past.  She started changing the perception of Dominguez Hills as a boring, transfer commuter school to a school that incoming freshmen actually want to attend.  According to Rob Kuznia of The Daily Breeze, “Her accomplishments include increasing alumni donor participation by 400 percent, boosting year-to-year retention rates for freshmen, and, in August, securing the campus’ first-ever endowed professorship (CSUDH chief Mildred…).”

Aside with her accomplishments at CSU Dominguez Hills, Dr. Mildred Garcia is involved with many programs that involve helping Latinos achieve academically.  She was also appointed by U.S. Secretary of Education Arne to serve on the U.S. Committee on Measures of Student Success.

And now, it all comes down to her salary.  Even with all those accomplishments, many students believe that she should not be paid as much as she will be, but not everything is as black and white, and that includes salaries.  Sure, one can blame Dr. Garcia for not declining what she will be paid, or for not suggesting a reduction in salary, but it goes further than that.  The elevation in salaries is quickly becoming part of the CSU Board culture.  Our school is not the only school who has to watch as our administration is given pay raises during these though financial times, other universities are also seeing the same trends.  This isn’t a matter of someone being greedy and wanting more money, this is a matter of unfair and unwarranted pay increases continuing and nobody stopping the people making the decisions.  The anger and outcries of salary increases should be directed at the CSU Board of Trustees, not just one person.

Perhaps Dr. Mildred Garcia is being paid too much, but we have yet to see what she will do.  What we have seen is what she can and has done.  Her track record is too positive to ignore.  We also haven’t given Dr. Mildred Garcia the chance to explain her salary increase.  It’s possible that the student’s opinions will be heard and she will do something about her salary, but all that is speculation.  Whether you are completely disgusted about her pay, or you don’t really care about it, one cannot deny that we are at least placing the Presidency upon someone who has been tested before, and has done an extraordinary job.

 

Below is the list of articles I used to gather my information.  Read them yourself and inform yourself about our new President, if you have not done so yet.

1) http://www.calstate.edu/administration/bios/presidents/garcia.shtml

2) http://calstate.fullerton.edu/transition/index.asp

3) http://www.dailybreeze.com/news/ci_19825918

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About ocbarrios

Professor for Cal State Fullerton's Barrio Studies class for Fall 2011 semester

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