UC Berkeley Has Spent Over $1M Chancellor’s House Fix-Up; School Records Serves Evidence


UC Berkeley's 105-year-old University House began its renovation in July 2013 in preparation for the arrival of then-upcoming Chancellor Nicholas Dirks and his wife, Associate History Professor Janaki Bakhle.

The job had an estimated budget of a whopping $247,000 job approved by then-University of California President Mark Yudof. The massive budget had an additional $147,000 for upstairs kitchen renovation and another $100,000 for re-painting of the entire house, several room finishing and window replacements, SF Chronicle reported.

After a year, the university released $14,752 for further floor works, UC Berkeley Real Estate Division furnished. Up until in early 2015, another $76,886 was spent to redo a downstairs bathroom due to leaking plumbing fixtures and other damage, an officials said. Then another purchase not handled by the real estate division, Bakhle changed nine Persian rugs to six newer ones costing at least $90,000.

An estimated $428,000 has been used to fix the university house on the west side of campus, KCBS News said.

Campus officials rushed to clarify that none of the UC Berkeley controversial spending came out of state or tuition funds. Gift funds were allotted to pay for all the work done instead. Whereas investment income and other revenue resources paid for the rest.

Furthermore, the university has spent close to $700,000, two and a half times larger than the original budget. SF Chronicle Report said that it ballooned due to the installation of a security fence after protesters squirted graffiti on the house. Not mentioning the other $179,000 budget provided for the chancellor for University House maintenance.

News of UC Berkeley spending arises as the university crumbs with a $150 million deficit.

Back in 2015, Alice McNeil, former house manager and executive assistant to Bakhle, was removed from her post shortly after the chancellor arrived. McNeil penned a statement to current UC President Janet Napolitano, stating her removal was due to retaliation for opposing to Dirks and Bakhle demand for personal chores on UC time. She also claimed that the execs asked her to avoid submitting the value of those hours to the IRS as their personal income.

Regarding the fix-up, Dirks maintained University House is used for approximately 300 receptions, dinners and other public occasions annually and clarified that the only labor he and Bakhle had requested was to replace worn rugs and the public bathroom.

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