The University of California at Irvine agreed to “periodically and confidentially consult” an Orange County billionaire on the selection of an inaugural law dean in exchange for his $20-million gift, the Los Angeles Times reported today.
Both the university and the donor, Donald Bren, insist that despite that agreement, which was revealed in documents obtained by the Times, Mr. Bren did not torpedo the initial appointment of Erwin Chemerinsky as founding dean.
The university’s chancellor, Michael V. Drake, touched off a national furor when he hired, fired, then rehired the noted legal scholar in a matter of weeks (The Chronicle, September 28). Mr. Chemerinsky said the chancellor had told him his decision was prompted by outside political pressure over the professor’s liberal views. Mr. Drake said that’s not the case.
The university’s agreement with Mr. Bren also stipulated that, on building signs, the donor’s name must be at least twice the size of the name of the building. —Katherine Mangan