June 25, 2006

Larry Summers critic leaps to her death from lesbian lover's luxury apartment building

After Nancy Hopkins, the second leading lady of last year's Larry Summers Brouhaha was Denice D. Denton for daring to "speak truth to power," as Denton modestly described her contribution to silencing Summers for heresy about gender differences. The San Francisco Chronicle reports today:

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice D. Denton, who had come under fire for her housing perks and helping her partner obtain a UC job, died today after jumping off the roof of the 42-story apartment building where her partner lived.

Denton, 46, died at 8:17 a.m. after jumping from The Paramount apartment building on Mission Street. A guest at a nearby hotel reported the jump, police said...

Denton's mother was in the building at the time of her death, police said.

Denton may have been living in the 42-story building, police said. Her partner, Gretchen Kalonji, has an apartment in the building, according to a San Francisco directory listing. Calls to the apartment's phone number were not immediately returned.

A Web site for The Paramount claims it is the tallest luxury rental apartment building in San Francisco.

Denton had been provided a 2,680-square-foot home on the UC Santa Cruz campus, the subject of a story in a Chronicle series this spring examining perks and pay in the UC system.

Before she moved into her University-provided house on campus in 2005, she asked for dozens of improvements -- everything from a new fence for her dogs to new wiring, speakers, amplifier and CD player for a built-in sound system, according to university documents.

In all, a $600,000 upgrade was made to the home, though it is not clear how many of the improvements were at Denton's request. Denton's annual salary is $282,000.

As a result of that and other spending disclosed in the press, UC President Robert Dynes tightened rules for renovation projects at university-owned homes and the offices of top executives.

In 2005, UC unions protested the hiring of Kalonji, a former University of Washington professor of materials science, into a $192,000 UC management position. UC also provided Kalonji, then Denton's partner of seven years, a housing assistance allowance of up to $50,000.

I wrote in The American Conservative in "The Education of Larry Summers" (2/28/05) first about Nancy Hopkins financial conflict of interest in denouncing Summers, then about Denton's:

Similarly, Denice D. Denton was celebrated for standing up to Summers to, in her words, "speak truth to power." This heroic tableau of the humble, no-doubt-discriminated-against woman engineering professor daring to defy the mighty male university president lost some luster when it emerged that Denton was UC Santa Cruz's chancellor-designate at $275,000 annually. One college supremo attempting to intimidate another one into not mentioning inconvenient facts is not what most people visualize as speaking truth to power.

A few days later, Tanya Schevitz reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on how Denton plays the game. The headline read, "UC hires partner of chancellor: creates $192,000 post for Santa Cruz chief's lesbian lover."

Less privileged women were unenthused:

"'It makes me sick,' said Mary Higgins, an administrative assistant at UCSF and statewide president of UC's clerical union, which did not get a raise this year. 'It is a violation of the public trust and it is just more of the same.'"

But Denton had a powerful defender in the woman scientist who had formerly headed UC Santa Cruz. M.R.C. Greenwood praised UCSC's two-for-the-price-of-three deal for the lesbian academics as the cost of gender diversity: UCSC "should be commended for attracting and hiring two very qualified female engineers."

Greenwood herself had just moved up to provost of the UC system, at $380,000 per year, almost $100,000 more than the man she replaced. Moreover, she had quietly brought with her a female scientist friend from Santa Cruz to fill the novel post of "Executive Faculty Associate to the Provost."

Are you noticing a pattern here?

Greenwood later resigned under a cloud following a conflict-of-interest investigation.

The feminists' complaints never made much intuitive sense (not that they cared -- the goals of academic feminism are money and power, not rationality).

And here's one more anecdote about feminist backscratching between Denton and Kalonji.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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