A former UC Berkeley chancellor is set to make nearly $434,000 next year, despite the fact that he won’t be teaching or managing any campus programs. Nicholas Dirks has been with the UC system for four years as an executive, and is now taking advantage of a policy that rewards executives who plan to return to the classroom.
Had he waited one more year, he would have received 100 percent of his $531,900 salary during his sabbatical. Nevertheless, when Dirks returns to the classroom, he will be making a whopping $237,000 as a professor.
Dirks is most likely eager to quit the chancellor gig after his disastrous four-year tenure. In that amount of time, he oversaw a $150 million budget deficit that the campus is still trying to fix, several sexual harassment scandals, and the payout of $4.75 million dollars to the family of a football player who died after his condition was practically ignored by the athletics department.
UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein says that the purpose of the paid sabbatical is “to allow top-flight academics to get back up to speed in their field and begin research, which they weren’t able to do while in their administrative role.”
Who knew a year of research and studies could be so pricey?
Assemblyman Phil Ting, D-San Francisco, slammed the practice.
“We keep asking for more access for California students,” Ting said. “UC tells us we have to find state funding for it, but they seem to have all the funding they need when it comes to executive compensation and executive parachutes.”
Former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi received almost the same amount as Dirks last year, and will be paid $318,000 each quarter to teach a single engineering class.
Of course, when state funding does not come through, the university system turns to tuition hikes. In January, the UC regents approved a 2.5 percent tuition increase, infuriating current and future students.
While administrators are taking $400,000 sabbaticals, UC Berkeley graduates find themselves saddled with an average debt of around $18,000—which the university actually believes is “affordable.” The UC system clearly has lost focus on its students, opting instead to line the pockets of its executives. Until reforms are made, the university system will continue to overpromise and under-deliver to its students.