Phi Beta Cons

Of Boards and the Denton Suicide

John reported on UC Santa Cruz Chancellor Denice Denton’s death by suicide.


According to Inside Higher Ed, some commentators said her suicide “raises questions of how boards handle or ignore presidents’ personal difficulties.” One party is described as lamenting (with respect to a different case involving negotiations between a president and board) “that there would be so little communication between a board and a president over her mix of professional and personal needs.”


Instead of using boards as a scapegoat for Denton’s tragic personal decision to take her life, one should address the real failure of the Santa Cruz board: its approval of the nepotistic hiring (at the time of Denton’s appointment) of her female lover to an administrative post with a salary of nearly $200,000 and, subsequently, its sanctioning of lavish expenditures in renovations of the chancellor’s residence, including a $30,000 dog fence.

Candace de Russy — Candace de Russy is a nationally recognized expert on education and cultural issues.

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