UC Berkeley Chancellor Poorly Accepted Free Fitness Benefits, Investigation Finds



UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks improperly accepted free benefits including campus fitness center membership, personal training sessions and unauthorized transfer of exercise equipment from the gym public at his private residence, a university investigation revealed.

Overall, Dirks did not pay a $ 4,990 fee for gym membership and personal training, and benefited from private use of a Precor Cross Trainer elliptical machine at a value between $ 3,500 and $ 4,000, according to the conclusions of the heavily written article. report released on Friday.

UC Ethics Rules prohibit employees from unauthorized use of campus resources or facilities or from “entangling” private interests with UC obligations. The investigation – which was sparked in April by a whistleblower complaint and carried out for the UC President’s office by an outside firm, Public Interest Investigations Inc. – found that Dirks had violated those rules.

The Chancellor, through a spokesperson, declined to comment on Friday.

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein said Dirks apologized and paid back the money owed even before the investigation was completed in September.

Allegations about the Chancellor’s fitness benefits were circulated widely on campus last summer and fueled dissatisfaction with his leadership. Dirks was already under fire over his handling of cases of sexual misconduct, faculty relations and budget issues. The chancellor, who joined Berkeley in 2013, announced his resignation in August and will step down on June 30.

Carol T. Christ, executive vice-chancellor and interim rector of UC Berkeley, will succeed her on July 1.

According to the report, Dirks was a self-proclaimed “workout freak” who was offered a free membership to the 100,000-square-foot Berkeley Recreational Center after touring in 2013. He also began workouts. with Devin Wicks, Deputy Head of School. for fitness operations.

The name of the person who approved the free membership and training has been censored. But Mike Weinberger, who ran the recreation facility until his retirement in February 2016, told The Times last year that he endorsed Dirks’ services to promote his fitness programs and didn’t think that it violated the university’s policy to do so.

Wicks and Dirks both told investigators their workouts were not personal workouts; instead, they exercised together as friends. But investigators concluded otherwise – citing references to personal training in email exchanges, personal calendar notes and recollections of witnesses interviewed. Investigators found that Dirks had accepted 48 sessions valued at $ 3,120 between 2014 and February 2016, and that his four-year gym membership was valued at $ 1,870.

The report also revealed that Wicks, Dirks and a third person whose name has been redacted told different stories about the person who requested the transfer of the elliptical machine to the Chancellor’s home. Investigators concluded that the third-person account, who said Dirks requested the equipment from Wicks, was the most credible.

Investigators also concluded that Wicks, who was placed on leave during the investigation but has since returned to work, improperly provided services to Dirks and attempted to interfere with the investigation.

He could not be reached for comment on Friday.

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Twitter: @teresawatanabe

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