Education

Huge salary for new communications director at UC-Davis

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Robby Soave Reporter
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The University of California system has gained a reputation recently as an institution that pays top administrators lavishly and looks the other way as they help themselves to perks like first-class air travel.

Now, UC-Davis would like to rehabilitate its reputation…by hiring a new communications director and paying her an unprecedentedly high salary of $260,000.

Luanne Lawrence was recently chosen to head strategic communications at UC-Davis. Her previous salary, as an administrator at the University of Southern California, was $237,000, according to the Sacramento Bee. Now at $260,000, Lawrence will make more than any other communications administrator in the UC system.

She will also receive free housing for three months, and can buy a home under UC’s low-interest loan program.

You could argue that Lawrence will be earning her pay by representing a school now best known not for its top-rated Agriculture program but for a 2011 episode in which a police officer casually pepper-sprayed a line of crouching students.

The university hailed the hiring decision as a necessary move to ramp up “the public profile and visibility of UC Davis,” in the words of Susan Gilbert, associate vice chancellor for human affairs.

Not everyone at the university is pleased with the decision.

“Perhaps marketing and branding in the university have become that important, but I’d have to see solid evidence of that before agreeing that this position is more essential than, say, three new faculty members,” said Richard Evans, a UC Davis horticulture researcher, in a statement.

In line with this hire, administrative pay increased more rapidly than academic pay across the UC system last year.

The University of California Los Angeles, one of the branches of the UC system, was also criticized last week after a special investigation revealed that the deans of several colleges had flown first-class for years, violating travel policies intended to keep costs down. (RELATED: UCLA deans travel like rock stars as tuition soars out of middle class reach)

The $575,000 salary of incoming UC President Janet Napolitano, a former Secretary of Homeland Security with limited education experience, also raised eyebrows, although outgoing President Mark Yudof was making even more money at the time of his departure. (RELATED: Everybody hates Janet)

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Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing@dailycallernewsfoundation.org.