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New UC Berkeley chief to get pay raise despite Brown's opposition

November 27, 2012 |  2:01 pm

Photo: New UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks. Credit: Associated PressDespite strong opposition from Gov. Jerry Brown, the UC regents on Tuesday gave the new chancellor of UC Berkeley a $50,000 -– or 11.4% -- pay raise over the current campus head and said the extra money would come from private donations, not state funds.

In all, new Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks will be paid $486,000, which officials said was about $14,000 less than his current salary as a high-ranking administrator at Columbia University.

Brown, who is a regent, said he thought Dirks was an excellent choice but said he could not vote for the salary given the austerities the state and the 10-campus UC system still face. The university must look for more efficient ways to teach and operate and “the leaders have to demonstrate that they are also sacrificing,” Brown said.

The $50,000 increase, even if it comes from non-state money, “does not fit within the spirit of the servant leadership that I think will be required over the next few years.”

Besides noting that Dirks will take a pay cut by leaving his post as Columbia’s executive vice president and dean of the faculty for Arts and Sciences, UC leaders said his new UC Berkeley salary will be significantly lower than that of many prestigious public and private university leaders.

“I try to get the very best person I can in this job to navigate the university through some very complicated times,” UC system President Mark G. Yudof said.

Yudof said he and Brown do not see “exactly eye to eye” on Dirks’ pay, but Yudof said he and the governor agree on nearly all other issues, including efforts to keep tuition from rising.

Brown, Lt. Governor Gavin Newsom and UC Regent Charlene Zettel voted against the UC Berkeley pay level, and 11 other regents voted yes during the conference meeting linking Oakland and Los Angeles.

All the regents voted for an annual $245,600 salary for Jane Close Conoley, who will become temporary chancellor at UC Riverside next month and serve until a permanent chancellor can be found. That salary is below the $325,000 pay of the current Riverside campus chief, Timothy White, who is leaving to become chancellor of the Cal State system, earns. Conoley is now dean of UC Santa Barbara’s Graduate School of Education.

Dirks, who is an expert on the history and culture of India, will succeed Robert J. Birgeneau, who was UC Berkeley chancellor for eight years.


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-- Larry Gordon

Photo: New UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks. Credit: Associated Press