Conservative students accuse Cal State of wasting their money

The College Republicans chapter at California State University, Fullerton hosted an event Thursday detailing the college’s “wasteful” spending habits.

A flyer for the event, which was not-so-subtly titled “How Cal State Fullerton Is Ripping You Off,” cites a 2014 analysis of public records by The Sacramento Bee revealing that CSUF had 364 employees who earned more than $100,000 per year, including 41 administrators who each made at least $150,000.

After factoring in the $355,000 salary given to President Mildred Garcia, who also enjoys perks such as a $12,000 car allowance and residency in a university-owned estate worth an estimated $3.4 million, the College Republicans contend that administrative costs such as these serve to inflate the cost of tuition without offering clear benefits to students.

[RELATED: Berkeley Chancellor resigns amid charges of wasteful spending]

“Our goal is not only to shine a spotlight on the kinds of administrative waste that burns through student dollars, but also to show that the rising cost of higher education is a priority to young Republicans,” CR President Chris Boyle explained in a press release.

The idea for the demonstration was hatched after the CSU Board of Trustees voted to increase tuition at all 23 campuses in the system starting in fall 2017, which the CR press release contrasts with the spending lavished on their school’s president.

“CSUF President Mildred Garcia received a 10 percent raise, free housing at the presidential estate, and a yearly car allowance when she assumed the position in 2012,” the group asserts. “The school also spent $300,000 to renovate the El Dorado Ranch, her eight-bedroom, 5,800 square foot home. This two-story house resides on 3.9 acres of land with a tennis court, and was last valued at $3.4 million in 2011.”

“[Students’] money is wasted on perks and bonuses for the highest levels of the administration while they block any attempt to raise the salaries of your professors or increase funding for programs to increase their students’ quality of education,” declared Ryan Hoskins, the group’s secretary.

[RELATED: UCF spending millions on ‘lazy river,’ mini golf for athletes]

The promotional flyer for the CR demonstration goes into greater detail regarding the ways in which students are ultimately forced to pay for such expenses, noting that they are required to pay $395 per semester in student fees for “bogus events” that most of them “probably don’t even attend or even want,” in addition to the regular cost of full-time tuition.

“The waste involved in administrative pay and benefits, bogus campus luxuries, and mandated general education requirements, many of which are frivolous at best...are just a few of the most egregious areas that account for the ever-increasing tuition that will lead to you paying off massive student debts for years to come” the flyer states. “This is a huge burden on students and that is why it is so important that we pressure the administration to decrease the crazy amount of spending that directly influences the amount of money you get charged to attend school.”

[RELATED: Audit: Mizzou paid ‘excessive’ salary to former chancellor]

CBS Los Angeles covered the issue of Garcia’s compensation in 2012, noting that both her 10 percent raise and the $300,000 renovations to her residence came around the same time that the CSU Board of Trustees was trimming nearly $750 million from its budget and planning to cut future enrollment by as many as 25,000 students.

University spokesman Christopher Bugbee said at the time that the renovations were not paid for with state funding, but rather from surplus revenue from one or more campus auxiliary organizations, and added that President Garcia had no input or control over the decision.

Campus Reform reached out to CSUF for comment, but was directed to the CSU system office to discuss questions of salary, which did not provide a response by press time.

Follow the author of this article on Twitter: @AutumnDawnPrice