UC: Robbing Peter and the professor to pay Chancellor Paul

Anyone in Merced not in on the land deal brought about by the boondoggle on Lake Yosemite, UC Merced, or dazzled blind by the glitter of blue and gold, knows UC chancellors have ethics and spiels that make Fresno developers look and sound like a neighborhood-watch group. UC administration is systemically ethically disadvantaged. Dr. David Kessler, dean of UCSF Medical School, did important research and discovered Disappeared Multiple Millions Syndrome (DMMS). An outraged UC administration fired him. He should have received a Nobel Prize for identifying the parasitic disease that is rotting a once-great public institution.

Merced county schools dispatched hundreds of third-grade lobbyists to the state Capitol, wearing "UC Merced" T-shirts for this?

Badlands Journal editorial board

San Francisco Chronicle
Doctoral students turning down UC due to inadequate aid packages...Tanya Schevitz

The University of California is failing to attract some of the best doctoral students because its financial aid and fellowship packages are not competitive with other top colleges, according to a new report from UC. California's high cost of living further aggravates the problem, said the study, which was based on a survey of graduate students. The stipend is what ends up in the students' pockets after tuition and fees.
The net average stipend of $17,356 offered to UC's doctoral graduate students is $1,000 lower than the average of competing institutions. The difference is even larger when cost of living is factored in, creating a net disadvantage for UC of $3,259 per year.
"Students rate UC very highly and comparable with competing institutions in terms of academic reputation, research activities, location and diversity of students and faculty," the report says. "Students also indicate, however, that UC's financial support offers are less attractive than those of other institutions in terms of the amount, type and duration of supported offered."
There are currently 22,500 doctoral students at UC's 10 campuses. Among UC's top competitors are Stanford University, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Harvard University, the University of Washington and the University of Michigan.
In 2007, 52 percent of students who were admitted to at least one other university outside of the UC system said they would attend UC. That is an increase from 50 percent in 2004, the last time the survey was done. But UC is still losing many top students and hasn't been able to grow its ranks as much as it would like, said Glantz.
The problem, UC faculty and officials say, lies in part with the state budget crunch that led to increases in fees and tuition in recent years... The rising costs have strained the budgets of departments, which have chosen to admit fewer doctoral students instead of offering smaller financial packages.
"This results in a gradual erosion of quality across the system," Glantz said. "Once you fall off the quality pedestal, it is very hard to get back on it."

San Francisco Chronicle
UCSF medical school fires dean in dispute over finances...Sabin Russell

Dr. David Kessler, the onetime commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration who became dean of the UCSF School of Medicine in 2003, was fired Thursday night after years of discord over finances at the prestigious medical school.
Kessler's boss, campus Chancellor Michael Bishop, announced the dean's departure Friday morning in an internal e-mail to faculty members but did not disclose the reason.Hours later, Kessler told The Chronicle that he had been labeled a "whistle-blower" by the University of California after he repeatedly sought to uncover what he called "financial irregularities that predated my appointment." At the heart of the dispute, Kessler said, are tens of millions of dollars in funds that he believes should have been in the dean's office account prior to his starting the job, but have never been properly accounted for because of what he called "poor financial controls."
UC officials countered that Kessler was mistaken about how much money should have been in the fund, and a university spokeswoman said Friday that two audits done after he raised the matter found no irregularities.The spokeswoman said Kessler first raised the issue in the spring of 2005. If so, that was after an anonymous complaint was sent accusing Kessler of lavish spending. An internal UC audit found no support for the anonymous allegations against Kessler. Kessler was dean of the Yale School of Medicine when he was recruited in 2003 to the $540,000-a-year post as UCSF vice chancellor and medical school dean.In his e-mail to the faculty, Bishop wrote that Kessler has "left office," and thanked him for "his energetic service to the university and his substantial achievements on behalf of UCSF."
UCSF spokeswoman Corinna Kaarlela declined to comment on the reason for the firing, saying, "This is a personnel issue, and we cannot comment further," she said.
However, late Friday the university released a statement declaring that Bishop in June had asked Kessler to resign by Jan. 1, and asked to work with him on a plan for severance and transition to a successor. "Unfortunately, Dr. Kessler did not relinquish his position, forcing the Chancellor to formally dismiss him," the university said....Bishop said the university would start an international search for a successor to Kessler.In an exclusive interview with The Chronicle, Kessler claimed the firing was the culmination of a long effort on his part to straighten out the finances of the medical school dean's office - an effort that he said remains unfinished.
"It was a matter of financial integrity," he said. "I tried to work within the system for 2 1/2 years, to get it fixed. I wanted to protect the school, the institution."
He said that Bishop had asked him to resign last summer, but that he had refused. When Bishop asked him to resign again on Thursday, Kessler said, he once again declined and was fired.At issue, according to Kessler, was his discovery after a year in office that the amount of money available to run discretionary programs in the dean's office was millions of dollars less than he was promised when he took the job. He conducted his own financial analysis in December 2004, concluding the source of the problem was an $18 million annual discrepancy dating from the fiscal year ending in 2002, a year before he arrived.
Kessler told The Chronicle that he had been provided financial documents before he joined showing there would be an annual infusion of $46.4 million for the dean's office to spend on a variety of programs, but he subsequently discovered the figure was $28.8 million. With each successive year since 2002, the discrepancy has been accumulating, reducing the financial viability of the dean's office.
"What it means is there is less money for recruitment, less money for renovations, less money for faculty support and less money for educational initiatives," Kessler said. He stressed that this issue was not one of missing money or embezzlement, but of "inadequate financial controls" - the set of rules, procedures and regular reports that large organizations use to keep track of their money...

Sacramento Bee
UC weighs raises of 33% for all 10 chancellors...Dorothy Korber

University of California regents are weighing a proposal to increase their top executives' pay by an average of 33 percent over the next four years, beginning with salary hikes this year of between 13 and 17 percent.
The plan, which will be discussed in a closed committee meeting today, is drawing fire from critics who question the propriety of such increases in a tight budget year for the state.
The full Board of Regents is expected to vote on the proposed raises Thursday at their meeting in Los Angeles.
A brief executive summary released by UC President Robert Dynes says the pay increases are necessary to "address particular recruitment and retention needs." According to Dynes, UC chancellors' pay lags 33 percent behind similar universities.
The proposed salary hikes for chancellors heading the 10 UC campuses would total $3 million.
For UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgenau, a 33 percent increase would boost his current annual salary of $416,000 to $553,280. For UC Davis Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef, the increase would take him from $300,000 annually to $399,000...
But critics say the timing and tone of the executives' raises is wrong. Lt. Governor John Garamendi, a UC regent, noted that the raises would come the same year the university has raised student fees by 7 percent. Since 2001, he said, fees have nearly doubled for undergraduates...
He rejected the argument that higher pay is necessary to retain top people. "They already have very good salaries," he said. "This is a public university; if it's about money, they shouldn't be there. My attitude is if you don't want to work here, leave."
State Sen. Leland Yee, a San Francisco Democrat, also criticized the chancellors' proposed pay raises. Yee is the author of SB 190, a law that takes effect Jan. 1 and requires open discussion of executive compensation by UC regents and California State University trustees...
The proposed salary hikes for UC chancellors come less than a week after the release of a state audit critical of how much the California State University system awards its executives...

San Francisco Chronicle
Higher pay = higher costs: UC regents raise salaries, student fees...Charles Burress

(09-20) 19:27 PDT Davis -- The UC regents voted Thursday to award substantial pay raises to faculty and to sharply increase the fees students pay at the university's law, medical and other professional schools.In the more controversial of the two actions, the regents' decision to raise professional school fees would result, in some cases, in significant differences in the amounts charged at each campus, with some costing more than $40,000 a year.
Critics said a public university shouldn't be too expensive for the poor and middle-class and that the 10-campus system would foster an undesirable hierarchy with some campuses being viewed as superior to others. Supporters argued that UC's nearly three dozen professional schools, in the face of declining state financial support, desperately need to boost income to maintain quality and attract top faculty and that increased financial aid would be offered for those who cannot afford the cost.
The plan passed on a 13-5 vote by the regents at their meeting at UC Davis.
The fee hikes - ranging from about 4 percent to 15 percent each of the next three years - will see the biggest rise at UC Berkeley's Boalt School of Law, where total annual fees would rise to $40,906 in 2010-11 from $26,897 this year. In 2001-02, the school charged $11,175, meaning the cost will have risen 266 percent in nine years.
Berkeley's Haas School of Business would see a similar rise to $40,882 in 2010-11, compared with UC Davis' business school, which would cost $30,975 in the same year.
"This is not an affordable education for the majority of people UC must serve," said Regent Eddie Island, who argued that the increased financial aid was inadequate. He said the purpose of UC as a public land-grant institution was to make high-quality education attainable by even the least-advantaged classes of society. "That was our original mission and we've gotten away from that."
Board Chairman Richard Blum countered that the schools face losing their best faculty without further funding, noting that the Haas school lost 10 of its 13 accounting professors in just one year.
Regent Peter Preuss said, "If we don't act, our quality will go down."
Regents voting against the measure were Island, Benjamin Allen, Odessa Johnson, Frederick Ruiz and Lt. Gov. John Garamendi.
On the other side of the ledger, in response to alarms over the loss of underpaid professors, the regents also approved hefty salary raises for a substantial portion of the faculty with an intent to push academic compensation to market levels within only four years.
"The faculty is the University of California's most valuable resource," UC Provost Rory Hume told the regents.The increases, however, are premised on increased funds, including promised money from the state next year that appears threatened by shrinking state revenues...

UC, CSU reach again for students' wallets
Tuition increases approved for both state university systems -- 5th boost in 6 years...Tanya Schevitz, Jim Doyle

(03-15) 04:00 PST Los Angeles -- California's 626,000 public university students got clobbered Wednesday with their fifth tuition hike in six years as the governing boards of both the University of California and the California State University agreed to raise the price of attendance dramatically. Despite emotional pleas from students, the UC Board of Regents and the CSU Board of Trustees said they had no choice but to increase the costs next fall to maintain the quality of the institutions. As dozens of students chanted in protest outside, the regents voted 13-6 during their meeting at UCLA to increase undergraduate and graduate fees in the fall by 7 percent and professional school fees by up to 12 percent. Meanwhile, in Long Beach, the CSU trustees voted 15-1 to impose a 10 percent fee hike on undergraduate and graduate students next fall.
Regents acknowledged this is probably not the end of annual increases for UC students. Since the 2001-02 school year, undergraduate tuition has climbed 92 percent at UC's campuses and 94 percent at CSU's schools...

Offer letters from UC detail top hires' perks
Enhanced benefits promised to recruits
Tanya Schevitz, Todd Wallack

www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/c/a/2006/03/13/MNGE2HN6N91.DTL - 56k

Extra compensation up 9 percent over previous year (11/9)

Chart: Who received what (11/9)

Regents committee OKs pay raises for 71 (7/20)

Some UC execs to get more money (7/19)

Low-rate loans for UC's elite on homes (7/13)

Colleagues baffled, grief-stricken at news of Denton's suicide (6/26)

UC Santa Cruz chancellor dies in suicide plunge (6/25)

Bid to bar UC regents' closed pay meetings (5/23)

Study: scores of violations kept secret (5/18)

700 awarded $23M in exit pay (5/17)

Comparing pay scales is no easy task (5/14)

Embattled UC prez defiant over recruitment policy (5/7)

3 lawmakers want UC chief out of office (5/3)

Auditor blasts UC's pay practices (5/3)

Administrators, president's office blasted (5/2)

UC said to break meeting laws (5/2)

Legislators want UC to reveal all about exec perks (4/26)

Audit says perks to 68% of top employees (4/25)

Task force criticizes UC pay practices (4/14)

Big perks for aides to UC's president (3/31)

UC files formal charges against UCLA prof (3/31)

Santa Cruz chancellor's housing wish list (3/30)

List of items (PDF) (3/30)

Regents vote to add supervisors for budget, compliance (3/17)

New controls on spending for UC homes and offices (3/16)

Offer letters detail UC hires' perks (3/1)

More pay revelations on ex-UC executive (3/1)

UC failed to give regents required reports (2/28)

Faculty group asks UC leader to rethink plan for pay raises (2/28)

Brass grilled on pay practices

Talk of limiting UC execs' outside roles

UC admits regents should have OKd extra pay

Senators demand answers

UC officials in Capitol hot seat today over pay practices (2/8)

Extra cash set aside for top execs who leave

List of execs who got severance

President gets power to boost salaries

Big changes sought in how UC raises pay

Details given on extra pay

Legislative hearing into UC compensation

Ex-provost still on payroll

Outrage in Capitol at pay revelations

UC refuses to release exec raise list

Student services cut as high-pay jobs boom

Free mansions for people of means

UC piling extra cash on top of pay

Other perks include gifts, travel, parties

Database of highest paid UC employees

When the University of California recruited UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert Birgeneau two years ago, he was promised at least 1 1/2 years in paid leave when he steps down -- with the opportunity to earn more. UC also agreed to sweeten his health care benefits and give him $150,000 a year in research funding. When UC hired Steven Chu to run the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in 2004, the university agreed to give him a $50,000 "signing bonus," tweak the retirement formula to boost his pension and, in addition to covering his actual moving costs, give him additional money to cover any taxes he might owe on the relocation payment.
And the university promised UC San Diego Medical Center director Richard Liekweg, who was hired in 2003, up to a year's severance pay if he is fired without "good cause" in his first five years. Those are just some of the special perks contained in offer letters UC tendered to 29 current and former top executives during the hiring process that have not been previously reported. The Chronicle obtained the letters last week under the California Public Records Act. The information is just the latest in a series of revelations about the university system's pay practices that have prompted several audits and legislative hearings.
"The bottom line is about transparency,'' said Sen. Debra Bowen, D-Redondo Beach (Los Angeles County), a member of the Senate Rules Committee, which reviewed the appointments of several regents at a hearing earlier this month. "That kind of disclosure would be required at a publicly traded company, and no less is expected when taxpayer money is involved."
In some cases, the letters provided additional reasons why UC offered the perks.
Birgeneau's letter said he was offered 1 1/2 years of paid leave to make up for the leave he had accumulated at his prior employers, the University of Toronto and MIT. According to the offer letter, Birgeneau will also be able to accumulate additional sabbatical leave while working at UC, so he could wind up taking a much longer leave when he eventually steps down as chancellor. In addition, UC reduced the amount of years Birgeneau needs to qualify for health care coverage when he retires, "as an exception to policy." The letter said the exception would be noted in the item presented to the regents to approve his appointment, but the written proposal just mentioned his salary and a promise to increase his pension.
UC Berkeley spokesman George Strait said Birgeneau, who earns $400,000 a year in salary, simply asked UC to match the benefits he was already receiving as president of the University of Toronto when he came to UC Berkeley. And Strait said Birgeneau will not be able to personally pocket any of the $150,000 a year he was promised in research funding, because it's reserved for equipment and other expenses. Meanwhile, Chu's offer letter said UC offered to give the lab director a $50,000 signing bonus to pay back a loan he owed to Stanford University, where he previously worked as a physics professor. UC also agreed to boost his pension benefits -- basing the calculations on his full base salary (currently $359,000 a year), instead of the usual limit of $205,000 -- in lieu of covering the closing costs on his home. Both items were approved by regents, but not publicly announced.
Other perks contained in the offer letters that weren't publicly reported include:

-- An $8,916 car allowance for executive vice provost Wyatt "Rory" Hume, who was hired last year. Though many senior executives at UC receive a similar allowance, the offer letter said the regents hadn't approved one for Hume's position because it was new. Instead, President Robert Dynes approved the allowance on his own. Hume, who is now acting provost, earns $296,000 in salary.

-- A list of "improvements" requested by UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton to the chancellor's residence. The list was not attached to the letter. But UC has come under fire in the past few months for spending $30,000 on a dog run for Denton's home and her dogs. UC also offered Denton $35,000 a year in research funding, the letter shows. Denton earns $282,000 in base salary.

-- Liekweg's severance pay. UC promised he would continue to receive his salary and health care benefits for up to 12 months (or whenever he took another job, whichever is first), unless he was let go for "good cause,'' such as gross misconduct or committing a felony. Liekweg's base salary is $445,900.

Several UC spokesmen pointed out it would have been the responsibility of UC's Office of the President -- not the appointees themselves -- to report such details, if necessary. None of the appointees even worked at UC at the time they were recruited. Regent Judith Hopkinson said it's not always clear what regents were told at the time, because they were sometimes given information about appointments orally, rather than in writing. She also said the regents didn't do enough to tell administrators which items needed to be reported to the board.
"I don't think it was a deliberate effort to not do things properly, but I do think it was poor administration by the regents and by the administration,'' she said. "It just became practice over time."
The offer letters are part of an audit under way by UC's outside auditing firm, PricewaterhouseCoopers, which is expected to be completed in April. UC spokesman Paul Schwartz said the administration's own review of the letters found that administrators sometimes violated university policies by failing to disclose some elements of compensation packages to the regents and the public -- a problem Schwartz said was exacerbated by UC's failure to file routine annual reports on executive compensation for the past two years.
Schwartz also said it's clear that UC made exceptions to policies too often, "involving such items as relocation allowances, accelerated vesting of annuitant health benefits, sabbatical payout, additional retirement and future severance benefits."
UC has taken steps to improve disclosure in the past few months. For instance, last week UC publicly announced a series of appointments approved between meetings, and included relocation allowances, temporary housing, deferred compensation and other benefits in addition to base salary. The university also posted reports, summarizing pay packages for its top managers, online for the first time on Thursday. Still, Schwartz urged The Chronicle to hold off on reporting anything about the offer letters until the PricewaterhouseCoopers audit is completed, because the auditors will also review other information that isn't publicly available, such as the executives' personnel files.
"We want to state in writing, in the strongest terms possible, our concern about The Chronicle moving forward with representations based on these offer letters alone,'' he said...