Academia

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor's Suicide Explained (Or at Least Discussed)

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Last summer, embattled UC-Santa Cruz chancellor Denice Denton killed herself. Reason's Dave Weigel blogged about it and the ways in which Michelle Malkin had earlier attacked the administrator at a "capitulationist" for not going after campus antiwar demonstrators with enough gusto. (Denton was embattled for more reasons than that, including her compensation package, which included a job for her lesbian lover and significant improvements to her university-owned residence; neither of those perks is particularly uncommon in these situations, though they can always lead to community outrage.)

Via Arts & Letters Daily comes this account of Denton's last few weeks. It's an interesting insight into depression, academic politics, campus life, political correctness, anti-PC, and more. Check it out here. And when UC-Santa Cruz taps you for a big administrative post, think twice.

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  1. I guess now we know why Effexor isn’t OTC.

  2. It’s impossible to explain any particular suicide. I think most suicides hide what they’re really feeling and how close they are to the edge.

  3. If UC-Santa Cruz taps you for a big administrative post, you also might think about:

    1) Not having them create a $192,000 job for your partner;

    2) Not having them pony up $600,000 to renovate a “modest one-story ranch home.” (how can you spend $600,000 to renovate a “modest” one-story?)

    3) If you and your partner are pulling in $500,000 a year and you’re worried about your beloved poochies getting wet in the rain, pay for a $30,000 “dog run” out of your own damn pocket.

    That said, I wonder how the hell the San Francisco Chronicle, of all papers, ran an article about Denice Denton with the phrase “lesbian lover” in the headline. I guess it would be OK if the $192,000 make work job was for her hubbie.

  4. If UC-Santa Cruz taps you for a big administrative post, you also might think about: … Not having them create a $192,000 job for your partner …

    Actually, hiring couples is fairly common in academia, for the reason that one half of a two-academic couple is unlikely to want to give up a career so that the other can get a better job. Indeed, I would imagine one of the first thoughts going through the minds of most academics who are “tapped” by UC Santa Cruz “for a big administrative post” would be, “What’s my husband/wife/partner going to do?”

    Likewise, if you are going to recruit academics from Wisconsin to southern California, New York, Boston or anywhere else where real estate is pricey, you better be prepared to supply some housing, which might include (for example) a dog run.

    The market at work, folks.

  5. Since when are taxpayer-funded institutions “the market”?

  6. alkali,

    So, you’re saying, Denise wouldn’t have made the move without the dog run? And they couldn’t have found an equally qualified candidate who didn’t have, you know, a dog? The market at work? I don’t think so. They should have hired a cat chick. They’re so much cheaper.

  7. Alan you are right that it is outragous, but akali is right that it is not out of line with reality. Truthfully Denton was not that well paid for a college President in this day and age. The job pretty much comes with a do nothing job for your wife and or lesbian lover and all the renovations no matter how frivolous you want to the official residence. Denton got picked on for stuff everyone else in academia does routinely.

  8. Please notify me as soon as we can start discussing Michelle Malkin’s suicide.

  9. Since when are taxpayer-funded institutions “the market”?

    in an abstract sense. there’s a supply of talent (acedemics with prestige, accomplished administrators) and demand for it from universities.

    hiring a couple is a common practice, as has been noted. If you want to recruit someone from a competitor, you take into account their personal life.

    I suppose that, as a taxpayer-funded institution, the taxpayers could object to this, but hell, they can’t micromanage everything. The taxpayers set the goal of a successful, well-managed, prestigious university and let said university allocate resources towards that goal. Maybe now some universities will now prohibit the hiring of spouses of recruits, but I doubt it– the university will then lose recruits and be less successful.

  10. But I thought this was all Michelle Malkin’s fault!

    But yes, the taxpayer funded university does hire people from the labor market. A narrow artificial labor market. I’d rather privatize the school than grumble about executive pay packages. That way, they’re spending their own money!

  11. And sometimes a couple will share an apointment. Academia can be kind of weird.

  12. Auto-hiring one’s partner in academia is common, but that doesn’t make it right, especially when academia is turns around and makes noise about lack of public funding. Sure, this happens n the private sector with CEOs and their lovers/partners/spouses. I just wish left-leaning folks would remember that such practices put academia on the same ethical plane as their Corporate America counterparts.

    Normally I would be suspicious that the outrage over these perks were being leveled against a lesbian couple — and I still harbor these suspicions — but Denton’s benefit package was revealed as a larger story about UC administrators up and down the state receiving sweetheart deals. I believe it was the SF Chronicle that led the investigation. Doesn’t mean they get to use “lesbian lover” in the headline.

    That said, Malkin owes Denton’s family a goddamn apology. The woman is a grade-A ass.

  13. Most people here would be more interested in voting for libertarian candidates if they didn’t range from oddball to crazy to out and out idiots.

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