Fox’s residence to cost $6,500 per month

    The University of California has agreed to pay $6,500 a month for Chancellor Marye Anne Fox’s new La Jolla home under a two-year lease signed by the university. Administrators plan to have the residence serve as a temporary home for Fox while they decide whether to repair or rebuild University House, a university-owned property that has housed chancellors since the 1950s in addition to being a venue for major events.

    Architects commissioned by UC President Robert C. Dynes, the campus’ previous chancellor, found the property uninhabitable last spring, citing serious problems that included erosion, improper drainage and physical deterioration.

    “There were fundamental problems [with University House],” said Vice Chancellor for External Affairs James M. Langley. “I think all low-cost solutions to keep it habitable have been tried. Only fundamental work will put the house in a proper living situation. It’s clear that something does need to be done.”

    Over the summer, Dynes commissioned a work group to examine the property’s problems and advise the UC Office of the President on how best to solve them, according to Donald Tuzin, a UCSD professor of anthropology and head of the campus’ Academic Senate. Tuzin served on the committee that made recommendations for the property.

    In a report, the group recommended that University House be demolished and rebuilt, but only if enough private money can be raised by January 2005.

    If Dynes decides to follow the group’s recommendation, the project would take at least two years and cost over $7 million, said Brad Hayward, UCOP’s director of communications.

    Instead of taxpayer funds, the university plans to use donations to fund the reconstruction, according to Hayward.

    “The university expects financial support for this,” he said. “It’s not just a facility that houses the chancellor. It’s really a campus facility … If [the project cannot be privately funded] the work group would reconvene and look at other options.”

    In the meantime, Fox’s contract requires the university to provide her with housing within four miles of the campus, according to Langley. The three-bedroom rented property on Soledad Avenue is much smaller than University House and one of the least expensive in the area, according to Hayward.

    “She could say that it’s a breach of contract, but she hasn’t,” Langley said. “She accepted something that was less [than University House]. That’s gracious on her [part].”

    However, the decision to pay $78,000 a year for the property, along with the $68,000 raise that Fox received above Dynes’ old salary, has angered some members of the local Coalition of University Employees union.

    “I think $6,500 [per month] is a lot of rent, considering the majority of employees can’t afford the regular amount of rent,” said Denise Mitchell-Carignan, the union’s vice president and a campus administrative assistant.

    University staff members have not received raises in the past four years and students are continually seeing their tuition fees climb, she said, at the same time that the university is agreeing to the additional costs.

    Unlike academic costs and salaries, no state money will be used to pay for the rental property, Hayward said.

    “The funds being used for this come from a private donation given to [the university] years ago that has been used by the president to address the maintenance of chancellors’ residences throughout the system and other costs that the state will not pay for,” Hayward said.

    As for Fox’s higher salary, market forces have driven up wages for campus directors across the nation, in addition to forcing the university to pay more, according to Langley.

    “Every time a chancellor gets hired, the rate will go up,” he said. “Every chancellor will get more than before because the market change demands a change [in salary].”

    The university will decide by early 2005 whether it will follow the recommendations and rebuild University House.

    “Our initial assessment is that the work group has done a thorough job of looking at the long-term needs of the campus, and we can say now that if the necessary private funding is ultimately identified, we’ll be looking very strongly and seriously at moving forward with the project as recommended,” Hayward said.

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