CNN.com – Chancellor’s death linked to job stress – Jun 25, 2006

CNN.com – Chancellor’s death linked to job stress – Jun 25, 2006
Whoa, check that out. She jumped off a skyscraper.

This woman made some news last year by criticizing Lawrence Summers, president of Harvard, for daring to suggest that men and women may be biologically different. She also came under fire for hypocrisy . . . but Victor Davis Hanson says it so much better than I (note: this is longish, but well worth the read):

(Excerpted from Profiles in Diversity)
One of President Summers’s chief critics, Dr. Denice Denton, the newly-appointed Chancellor of the University of California, Santa Cruz, heralded Summers’s public humiliation as a “teachable moment.” As one president to another, she objected: “Here was this economist lecturing pompously [to] this room full of the country’s most accomplished scholars on women’s issues in science and engineering, and he kept saying things we had refuted in the first half of the day.”

But Chancellor Denton has her own shortcomings. They do not revolve around mere impromptu remarks, nor have they been trailed by public apologies and task forces. Yet in its own way her controversy goes to the heart of the same contemporary race-and-gender credo that governs the university, enjoying exemption from normal scrutiny and simple logic.

Before her arrival, Chancellor Denton arranged the creation of a special billet—ad hoc, unannounced, and closed to all applicants but one: Chancellor Denton’s live-in girlfriend of seven years, Gretchen Kalonji. Most recognize this as the sort of personal accommodation—old-boy networking, really—that Chancellor Denton presumably wishes to replace with affirmative action, thus ending backroom deals and crass nepotism.

But if race and gender—what we now refer to as “diversity”—are to be taken seriously, one wonders whether there was not a qualified African-American or Latina woman who could at least have been interviewed for the lucrative U.C. position. After all, Chancellor Denton herself praised U.C. Santa Cruz for its “celebration of diversity.” And earlier, she insisted that “it is really shocking to hear the president of Harvard make statements like that,” i.e., statements that ever-so-gently questioned the diversity shibboleth. Consider the reaction had President Summers arrived at a public, tax-supported university and arranged for his live-in girlfriend to have life-long employment in a specially-created job, complete with a subsidized move into a rent-free home.

And a six-figure salary: Gretchen Kalonji’s unusual position pays $192,000 a year. Now, it happens that Chancellor Denton—whose salary is $275,000—was granted $68,750 to subsidize the move into the rent-free University President’s House. But Kalonji, too, received a grant for expenses incurred during her “transition” to the Santa Cruz campus—$50,000, in fact.

The decision to pay $120,000 in public money for moving expenses to a couple with a combined salary of $467,000 can be defended, perhaps, but one group was certainly outraged: the university’s maintenance staff, secretaries, and blue-collar workers. U.C. Santa Cruz’s workers had not received a raise in three years. Yet in response to questions about her controversial partner accommodation–and the message that it sent to less-fortunate others on the campus—Chancellor Denton did not sound like a woman of the Left. “It’s a typical practice,” she explained in an interview with the local Santa Cruz Sentinel, “in the corporate world or academia.” As if turning for support to the suspect world of capitalism was not enough, Chancellor Denton also sought the sanctuary of victimhood, of someone at the mercy of red-state yahoos: “We got caught in the middle of national forces, gay marriage, red-state/blue-state issues and a state ruling. It’s a hot item right now, and it heightened the tension. I was kind of surprised at the San Francisco Chronicle coverage saying “lesbian lover.” It seemed more like a tabloid headline.”

It proved impossible for a white male like Larry Summers to find shelter from the storm. But a gay woman had simply to ignore questions of social equity by playing the diversity-card herself–in addition to claiming corporate precedents for her own unusual perks. Aware of the growing controversy over the hire, Chancellor Denton returned to the mantra of diversity to explain her own decision to come to Santa Cruz. “The focus on diversity and social justice is important to me,” she emphasized to the Sentinel, recalling how she had spoken out against Summers’s remarks: “We need to address the issue of equity and access. It requires a cultural change and university presidents have to provide leadership.”

Gretchen Kalonji certainly had “access,” and Denton certainly provided “leadership” in assuring “equity” to her partner. Perhaps Kalonji’s hiring even resulted in the desired “cultural change.” But it is fortunate for Chancellor Denton that she does not share the politics of, say, Congressman Tom DeLay, who endured far more obloquy for hiring his wife, for far less money, to work on his congressional campaigns.

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One Response to “CNN.com – Chancellor’s death linked to job stress – Jun 25, 2006”

  1. Mark Says:

    But is it art?

    Seriously, I don’t think I would be too depressed while being paid a $275,000 salary to talk smack and live in Santa Cruz.

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