UC regents were too generous to Yudof

The usual rationale for sabbatical pay for high-ranking college and university administrators is to provide college teachers, who have temporarily left the classroom to serve as administrators, with time to retool before returning to teaching.

Full-time, non-academic, university administrators, such as finance directors or general counsels, are not granted this perquisite.

Mark Yudof had served as a full-time university administrator since 1984, first as University of Texas Law School dean, president of the University of Minnesota, and chancellor of the University of Texas system before coming to the University of California.

It likely was inappropriate for University of California Board of Regents to have granted Yudof, UC’s first lawyer-president, a $591,000 post-presidency sabbatical year.

It is not the case that a full year of sabbatical pay at the administrator’s salary level is a general perquisite for high-ranking U.S. college and university administrators.

Many U.S. colleges and universities allow for six-month sabbaticals before professors return to the classrooms, often at the professor’s nine-month – not the administrator’s 12-month – salary level.

Indeed, it was only during University of California President Richard Atkinson’s administration that the regents, informed of differing campus practices for professors returning to teaching, voted to allow a full year of sabbatical pay at the administrator’s level.

As a UC regent, I voted for sabbatical pay at the professor’s salary level, but lost the vote. A sabbatical pay requirement is that the professor teach, not co-teach, for at least one year subsequent to the sabbatical.

The Sacramento Bee’s editorial board was right to raise the issue of whether UC President Janet Napolitano, a lawyer with no academic background, should have been granted the same sabbatical deal, currently valued at $570,000. (“Yudof’s joke is on us; we’re not amused,” Editorials, Aug. 2).

When selected, Napolitano announced she was a new kind of administrator who would coordinate university activities from the UC Office of the President while remaining above the 10-campus academic fray.

Yet Napolitano recently secured tenure at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy, providing the opportunity to “return to teaching” for someone with no teaching background.

Velma Montoya was a University of California regent from 1994 to 2005.