College Guide


August 27, 2010 12:59 PM Many Mansions

By Daniel Luzer


There was a lot of discussion in the media recently about one report detailing the rising administrative costs at American colleges.

Well there are administrative costs and then there are “administrative costs.” It turns out that Mark Yudof, the otherwise exemplarily president of the University of California, racked up nearly $700,000 in personal housing expenses over two years, money billed to the university.

According to an article by Steve Fainaru in the New York Times:

The University of California has appointed an official to manage spending and operations at President Mark G. Yudof’s new private residence, after Mr. Yudof ran up… expenses and involved senior university officials in time-consuming personal matters over a rented mansion in the Oakland Hills.
“Here you literally have wasted hundreds of thousands of dollars that could have gone into student scholarships, reduction of fees — whatever — to educate more students in California,” said Leland Yee, a Democratic state senator from San Francisco…. Mr. Yudof moved into a smaller house in Lafayette last month after failing to obtain a last-minute lease extension in Oakland. His hurried exit left behind tens of thousands of dollars in damage to the house, according to the owner, who is seeking payment from the university.

This comes after the Bay Citizen discovered incredible waste by Yudof, including almost $20,000 to fix an elevator (that was still under warranty) and a $5,000 bimonthly water bill (due to an easily fixable leak).

As is common at most academic institutions, the University of California system traditionally provides a residence, Blake House, for the president to use free of charge.

Yudof and his wife, however, refused to live in the complimentary housing because the official residence of the president of the University of California “needed” repairs. While Blake House could certainly benefit from major renovations, Yudof’s predecessor, Robert Dynes, happily occupied the mansion for the entire time he served as president.

The U.C. system paid $13,365 a month for Yudof to rent the Oakland house (above). The average monthly rent in Oakland, California is $1570.

“I don’t think it was a good experience,” Yudof said of his time renting the Oakland property. “Under the circumstances, it was the best I could do.”

Apparently selecting and paying for housing himself out of his $828,000 annual compensation package was not something he felt he could do. [Image via]

Daniel Luzer is the news editor at Governing Magazine and former web editor of the Washington Monthly. Find him on Twitter: @Daniel_Luzer


  • Mlan Moravedc on September 18, 2011 7:10 PM:

    University of California faculty gains pay rises from California�s economy pain
    Democrats, Republicans face mortgage defaults, 19% unemployment (including those forced to work part time and those no longer searching), pay reductions, loss of unemployment benefits. UC Faculty receives pay increase. No layoff for Faculty, Chancellors during California�s longest deepest recession.
    There is no good reason to raise faculty salaries, tuition, fees when wage concessions are available. UC wages must reflect California's ability to pay, not what others are paid. If wages better elsewhere, chancellors, tenured, non tenured faculty, UCOP apply for the positions. If wages determine commitment to UC Berkeley, leave for better paying position. The sky above the 10 campuses will not fall.
    It is time for Faculty, Chancellors to get a grip on financial realities.
    No furloughs. UCOP 18% reduction salaries & $50 million cut.
    Chancellors�, 18% cut. Tenured faculty 15% trim.
    Non-Tenured faculty, 10% reduction. Eliminate 100% Academic Senate, Council costs.
    It is especially galling to continue to generously compensate chancellors, faculty while Californians are making financial sacrifices and faculty, chancellor, turnover is the lowest of public universities.
    The message that President Yudof, UC Board of Regent Chair Lansing, UC Berkeley Birgeneau are sending is they have more concern for generously paid chancellors, faculty. The few at the top need to get a grip on economic reality, fairness.