Letter to the Editor, San Francisco Chronicle, published May 17, 2006

Clean house at UC

Editor -- Watching UC President Bob Dynes fighting to survive this scandal over executive compensation at the university, I am reminded of another president, Richard Nixon, at the height of the Watergate scandal: "I am the president. I am responsible. But I am not to blame.''

How much should a UC president or chancellor be paid? In 1992, the faculty at Berkeley, acting through its Academic Senate, said: "It should be the policy of any institution of higher learning that the total compensation paid to any executive officer should not exceed twice the average amount paid to its full professors.'' The regents ignored that advice.

Today, it is not just the amount of money that bothers us, but the sneaky games played by top UC officials. It is about a lack of accountability. It is about arrogance in high places. It is about betrayal of the public trust, without which this university cannot survive. The failure of ethical conduct disclosed in this scandal is located at the very top of the UC administration. There is no better lesson in teaching ethics than to dole out deserved punishment to a boss who has violated those principles. Are the regents up to it?

Professor Emeritus
UC Berkeley