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UCSB Chancellor Quits in Wake of Spending Probe : Former UC Irvine Chief to Take Over

July 11, 1986|Associated Press

SANTA BARBARA — Embattled UC Santa Barbara Chancellor Robert A. Huttenback resigned today, and former UC Irvine Chancellor Daniel Aldrich was nominated to replace him temporarily.

The action came after several months of controversy over the 58-year-old Huttenback's administration of the campus and his alleged use of university money to remodel his off-campus home.

An audit by the University of California completed last month concluded that Huttenback had "inappropriately" spent $174,000 of university funds for personal household expenses. Huttenback said he would repay the money.

In Berkeley, where the UC system has its headquarters, university President David P. Gardner accepted the resignation and expressed "understanding of the reasons that brought the chancellor to this difficult decision."

'Conclusions Moot'

Gardner said the resignation "has rendered moot any conclusions that might have resulted" from an inquiry into the allegations against Huttenback.

He said the university will have "no further comment on the findings" of the investigation.

Gardner nominated Aldrich, who must be approved by the UC Board of Regents and will serve on an interim basis until a permanent chancellor is named. Aldrich was chancellor at UC Irvine from its founding in 1961 until he retired in June, 1984. He also served as acting chancellor at UC Riverside last year when the previous chancellor died.

Gardner said he hopes that Huttenback's resignation "will heal the division that has been generated among faculty, staff, students, alumni and the Santa Barbara community."

Failure to Consult

Huttenback, 58, noted for his blunt manner and for a management style that critics considered dictatorial, has been under fire almost from the day he took office as chancellor in 1978. Faculty members frequently complained of his failure to consult with them in matters concerning personnel or academic policy.

Even his detractors, however, acknowledged that he played a major role in transforming UC Santa Barbara from an institution with a lackluster reputation into a major university with several programs of high national standing.

Huttenback said in April, when questions concerning his use of university funds first arose, that he believed the expenditures on his home were justified because he uses his home extensively for university business, particularly for fund-raising. He said he would repay the disputed funds if an investigation found that he had misused the money.

Huttenback's resignation is effective Dec. 31, but he is scheduled to take a leave of absence starting Sept. 1. He is to return to the university in July, 1987, to resume his previous faculty post as a history professor, Gardner said.

In a statement released in Santa Barbara, Huttenback said he believes that his resignation is "in the best interests of all concerned."

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