“Here is what I want you do, and I will do it with you. On your phone web browser, or later today on a computer, visit Humboldt.edu/advocate,” Richmond said. “That is our advocacy website. Click on the action called: ‘Send Sacramento a Graduation Message!’ Then follow directions — you can use the message that’s there or write your own.”
That Web page carries an explicit lobbying message titled “Support Higher Ed — Vote in November.” It claims the defeat of Proposition 30 will result in cuts to the school’s government-funded budget.
According to the California Faculty Association, Richmond’s annual compensation is $297,870 plus a $62,000 allowance for housing and a car. His salary is higher than the Chief Academic Officer of the CSU system, and higher than the salaries of the presidents of CSU Fullerton and CSU Northridge. Both of those schools serve more than three times the number of students as Humboldt.
Executive pay packages for CSU and University of California administrators have increased in recent years, even as overall budgets have decreased. State Senator Leland Lee, a San Francisco Democrat, has introduced legislation that would prohibit those raises when forecasted budgets for the next fiscal year are the same or lower than the previous year.
The Howard Jarvis Taxpayer Association opposes the Proposition 30 tax increase. Its lawsuit also cites Cal State Monterey Bay professor Ernest Stromberg, who allegedly sent students an email advocating passage of the ballot measure. The email, according to the lawsuit, said students would receive a $498 refund if the initiative were to pass.
Richmond’s office did not respond to a request for comment and ignored requests for a complete video of the commencement ceremony. His office did provide the prepared text of Richmond’s May 12 speech.