Skip to comments.UC Berkeley professors condemn light punishment for administrator
Posted on 03/16/2012 7:50:14 AM PDT by SmithL
BERKELEY -- A growing chorus of voices is calling for the firing of a UC Berkeley administrator who helped triple her secret sex partner's pay over five years.
Calling Diane Leite's punishment "an affront" to the university, several UC Berkeley professors have asked the school's provost to investigate how the matter was handled. They are aghast that, instead of firing her, the university reassigned Leite from her assistant vice chancellor post and will still pay her $175,000 a year.
"It's an outrage," said engineering professor Samer Madanat, one of at least 13 professors who signed the letter to Provost George Breslauer. "That's all I can say."
In addition to the letter from faculty members, about 150 people by Thursday afternoon had signed an online petition calling for Leite and her boyfriend, Jonathan Caniezo, to be fired.
Although Leite's boss, Vice Chancellor Graham Fleming, has defended his handling of Leite's punishment, the university said Thursday that the matter was not over.
"The administration is ... reviewing compensation and classification issues that came to light in the course of the investigation," UC Berkeley spokesman Dan Mogulof said in a written statement.
The scandal was revealed Monday when this newspaper reported that Leite, 47, had given five raises in two years to Caniezo, 30, a subordinate employee with whom she had a sexual relationship.
Caniezo made less than $41,000 in 2005, but his pay jumped to $120,000 in 2010, amid the affair, according to university records.
The university approved the pay hikes over the objections of Caniezo's supervisor, who later told investigators she did not believe he had earned them.
As head of UC Berkeley's office of administrative services for campus research, Leite supervised Caniezo's boss, then later directly supervised him herself, according to a campus investigation launched in August after first an anonymous complaint and then a formal one exposed the relationship.
After the investigation, Leite was removed from her $188,000-a-year position but reassigned as an adviser to Fleming, the vice chancellor.
In their letter to Breslauer, the university's chief academic officer, the professors criticized the "surprisingly mild measures" taken after Leite was discovered to have broken sexual-harassment policies.
"Having Diane Leite hold any position of responsibility or power on this campus is harmful to our institution," the professors wrote. "We are surprised at the evident protection that has repeatedly been bestowed upon her, which, in our view, is counter to the interest of the university and to the morale of its faculty and staff."
Breslauer did not respond to an interview request.
Investigators found that Leite had completed sexual-harassment training three times in recent years, but she told the university she was unaware her actions were wrong.
The solution is simple, said astronomy professor Leo Blitz: Fire Leite.
"For a highly paid administrator, this is not a small matter," said Blitz, who signed the letter to Breslauer.
Leite's attorney, Jane Brunner, did not respond to an interview request. Caniezo, who remains under investigation, did not respond to a message left at his Rodeo home.
In a piece published Wednesday in the student-run Daily Californian newspaper, biology professor Kevin Padian complained that "rules on this campus apply to everyone but the administrators."
As a learning institution, a university should have higher standards than other employers, said Judy Nadler, a former Santa Clara mayor and now a senior fellow in government ethics at Santa Clara University's Markkula Center for Applied Ethics.
"If (Leite's violation) doesn't rise to the level of significant punishment, what do you have to do to get fired?" Nadler said. "At a corporation, I think it's pretty clear this wouldn't be tolerated."
Yeah! Who do you have to screw to get screwed around here?
As a graduate of the stink hole known as UC Berkeley I think it’s important to tell the professors that they need to look inward while they are “professing their outrage” at this egregious behavior. All of them are paid significantly more than they are worth. Most don’t teach much, they leave that to foreign graduate students, while they “pursue their government funded research projects.” If California’s “education establishment” were really interested in lowering the costs of undergraduate education, they would all take a 50% pay cut and start doing the jobs they were supposedly hired to do, namely teach!
I wonder if the outrage would exist if the secret love affair was between two lesbians.
Those complaining are apparently members of the schools of science and engineering, whose logic is more rigorous than that of the socialist sciences. But the situation you postulate would probably silence even them.
She tripled his pay in five years? Man, that guy must have had one big work ethic.
Publicly oppose gay marriage, abortion, or affirmative action. You will be terminated within hours.
What this tells me more than anything is the University is awash in money and fat jobs for little work for the well connected.
No wonder the cost of "education" is so outrageous!
The UC system now officially is a dead place. To pay
these folks the money they get is preposterous. Poor
little administrator....thwarted in her pursuit of happiness.
If you notice lately the UC athletic teams are no longer
at the top...cuz they cannot buy the athletes anymore like
they used to. All the top athletes go to institutions that
can offer them lots of legal stuff while the athlete works
to make more money for the institution.
My thoughts EXACTLY, mate! *laugh*
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