Q. Why does UC require chancellors to live in UC-provided housing?

A. There are several reasons. First, it helps support the chancellor’s presence on or near campus. Second, it helps the University attract and retain top leaders – given the cost of living in California and UC’s limited resources, UC probably could not afford the caliber of talent it needs if it had to offer candidates salaries that could support the purchase of a California home. And third, because a significant portion of these facilities is public space, the facilities provides chancellors an appropriate venue for the various receptions, meetings, and other University events they are required to hold.  

Q. Why do chancellors and the president need such big houses?

A. The label “houses” can be somewhat misleading, since much of the space in these facilities is public and devoted to University events, which can and often do involve large numbers of people – only a percentage of the total space functions as a personal residence.

*The UCSD facility was recently deemed uninhabitable and UC is in the process of establishing a new one.

Q. How many events are typically held at each location, and how many people do they usually involve?

A. It varies, both by campus and the nature of the events. In any given year, the number of events can range from 35 at one campus, to more than 75 at another. Some events, like farewell lunches for a faculty member or a dinner with a potential donor, elected official, or visiting dignitary can be rather small with, say, 10 people or less. Other events such as student awards ceremonies and annual staff holiday events can and often do involve 200 or more participants.

Q. How many employees staff these facilities, what do they do, and do they ever provide personal services to the presidents or chancellors that the University pays for?

A. Given the range, size and frequency of University events held at these facilities, all University Houses have a staff to handle cooking, cleaning, scheduling, event logistics, grounds and maintenance duties, etc. Each campus determines what staffing mix is best for them – some campuses choose to combine responsibilities (i.e., have one person doing cooking, cleaning and scheduling) while others separate them. Additionally, some campuses have all University House staff under the chancellor’s office, while some chancellor’s offices contract with other campus departments for certain services, like maintenance and gardening.

All of the duties of University House staff are related to official University business, either directly or indirectly. In some instances, such as when a chancellor’s workday runs from 7:00 a.m. to 9:00 or 10:00 p.m., a staff member might perform limited personal services (i.e., occasional meal preparation, periodic food shopping, administrative errands).

Q. Why do these houses apparently need so much work?

A. Most of these facilities are very old and have not been repaired or renovated as often as they should due to limited University resources. For example, after President Dynes left UCSD to assume the UC presidency, an inspection of the UCSD University House determined that the facility was uninhabitable because it was in such bad shape due to years of deferred maintenance. Even with repairs and renovations, many of these facilities, while safe to occupy, still fall short of where they should be.

Q. The Chronicle says that UC issued thousands of low-interest mortgages to administrators and faculty.  What is this referring to?
A. This is a reference to an effort by the University of California to support the recruitment and retention of faculty and senior managers by providing low-interest mortgages toward the purchase of a principal residence near their campus. Such programs have become an increasingly more valuable recruitment and retention tool throughout academia, but especially in States with high housing costs such as California. Historically, 95 percent of the loans have gone to our faculty.

The primary loan program provides loans having a one-year adjustable rate based upon an internal University index. The standard repayment term is 30 years; however, borrowers may request a shorter term or a longer term of up to 40 years. Over the past 3 years, a vast majority of the loans have been sold to third parties (with adequate provisions for serving costs and defaults) and are cost-neutral to the University. Further, all UC housing loans are supported by non-State funds. Information about UC’s housing loan programs

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