Wednesday, February 15, 2006

More UCSD Woes

A UCSD student named Jeff commented on my earlier post UCSD and Art. He said:

As a current UCSD student, I’m far less concerned with what a small minority of the students in the Literature deparment are doing as I am with what the administrators are doing.

He also passed long three links to examples of his concern here, here, and here.

I can see why he’s worried — from the facts reported in these stories, UCSD’s chancellor (Marye Anne Fox) appears to be very highly compensated (earning almost $700K in taxpayer’s money last year, making the big assumption that all compensation has now been disclosed) and very distracted by the obligations incurred by sitting on the Boards of ten corporations. She also earned about $340K in compensation from those Board positions; this is nearly as much as her (nominal) UCSD chancellor’s salary of $360K.

A little googling led me to Ms. Fox’s Board memberships. These aren’t little lightweight kinds of companies that one could imagine her just being a kind of token Board member — the organizations she’s a Board member of include SRI International, the Burroughs Wellcome Fund, and RedHat, for example. I’ve read somewhere that the average Board member spends 200 hours per year preparing for and attending Board meetings. Having been a Board member of a public corporation myself, I can attest to the investment of time required; if anything, that 200 hours seems too little to me. Ten companies? That would be 2000 hours per year, which is what most people would consider a full time job. When does Ms. Fox find the time to do her job at UCSD? Or is she short-changing all those shareholders at the companies she’s supposedly helping to manage? Any way you look at this picture, it’s disturbing.

On top of the preceding attention-deficit disorder, to be so highly cash-compensated is like salt being rubbed into the taxpayer’s wound. And as a taxpayer, I think Jeff is right — this is even more of a concern than what I described in my original post…


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