The California State University Board of Trustees recently backed away from a policy that would give CSU presidents 10 percent pay raises. Despite that, CSU presidents might still get their pay increases albeit in a different way -- trustees are asking nonprofits with relationships to the universities (such as campus bookstores, student newspapers and privately-funded foundations) to pick up the tab through voluntary donations.

This sounds to me just like one of John Stossel’s “Give Me A Break” segments for ABC News. How can the CSU trustees say that some of the highest-paid employees at CSU deserve more money, especially at a time when students and staff are facing tuition hikes, budget cuts and declining enrollment?

CSU officials said the pay raises would not take away money destined for campus use or scholarships. Rather, private donations would be gathered by the nonprofits specifically to pay for the presidential salaries.

But no matter who is paying for the raises, the nonprofits that gather the donations could be using that time and effort to collect money for other programs and services that directly impact students.

It makes sense to offer competitive salary packages to school officials, but pay increases should not be allowed for university administrators when schools are looking at continued and severe budget deficits year-after-year.

I’d like to see some of the CSU presidents decline such an offer, instead directing any donations that would have gone to their salary towards scholarships for students in need. I’d also like to see the public protest these pay increases by not giving donations to that specific cause.

Ashleigh Oldland is a fellow with New America Media's Youth Education Fellowship. The fellowship is a six-month long program for youth reporters aged 16-24 on education reporting. It is sponsored by the California Education Policy Fund.