Nicholas Dirks, the University of California (UC) Berkeley chancellor who stepped down this summer after numerous scandals, will be paid $434,000 to take a one-year paid vacation.
The San Francisco Chronicle reports that Dirks is taking advantage of an existing UC Policy that allows an administrator to collect up to 100% of their full salary for an entire year—while doing no work at all on campus.
The paid year off is a benefit provided under a policy approved by the University of California regents at least 17 years ago that rewards executives who are also tenured professors and will return to the classroom.
The purpose “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,” said Dianne Klein, a UC spokeswoman.
Dirks will receive 82 percent of his previous executive salary of $531,900, in spite of only being with the UC for four years. If he had been there 5 years, he would be receiving the full salary — for doing nothing.
The Chronicle notes the outrage of Assemblyman Phil Ting, (D-San Francisco), whose call for an audit of UC’s finances last year rocked the liberal establishment, uncovering a $175 million slush fund that UC President Napalitano kept hidden.
“We keep asking for more access for California students. UC tells us we have to find state funding for it, but they seem to have all the funding they need when comes to executive compensation and executive parachutes,” Ting told the Chronicle.
Dirks’s tenure as chancellor was rocked by numerous scandals, including a $150 million budget deficit, a series of sexual harassment scandals within the university, and a number of riots on campus.
But it was Dirks’s persistent mishandling of sexual harassment claims against an assistant chancellor and numerous professors that proved his undoing, irking the embattled Napolitano.
In spite of overwhelming evidence against a number of faculty members, Berkeleyside reports that Dirks allowed many to continue on in their positions for months without any disciplinary action. Even after one vice-chancellor was removed for cause, Dirks reportedly approved his paid leave while transitioning back to teaching.