BERKELEY (AP) — The outgoing leader of the University of California’s Berkeley campus improperly accepted free benefits, mostly related to personal fitness, an investigation found.
A report released Friday was heavily blacked out, but the readable portions said Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks — who earns a paycheck of $516,446 from taxpayers — didn’t pay for $5,000 worth of a gym membership and 48 personal training sessions. He also had an elliptical exercise machine worth at least $3,500 installed at home, the Los Angeles Times reported.
The investigation concluded in September, but the report was kept private for six months.
UC ethics rules bar employees from the unauthorized use of campus resources or facilities or the “entanglement” of private interests with UC obligations.
UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said Dirks has apologized and repaid the money.
Dirks, who declined to comment, will step down June 30.
Dirks took office as UC Berkeley’s 10th chancellor on June 1, 2013, and during his tenure launched major initiatives to strengthen undergraduate education and to optimize fundraising. But he came under fire for allegedly being too lenient when handling sexual harassment cases involving high-profile faculty.
In one case, Sujit Choudhry, the former dean of the law school, received only a temporary pay cut and orders to undergo counseling as punishment after an investigation substantiated claims that he repeatedly kissed and touched a subordinate.
Dirks has said he plans to become a full-time professor at the university.
Last week, Carol T. Christ, a scholar of Victorian literature and former president of Smith College, was named the next chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley by the UC Board of Regents.
She will be the first woman in the school’s 149-year history to hold the position.