The status of UC Riverside Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs (VCSA) James Sandoval’s future is in question after numerous sources reveal that, as of Friday, Nov. 10, he is on leave from the university.
The leave, sources say, comes in the wake of a pending investigation of Sandoval.
This is the second time this academic year that questions have been raised internally around Sandoval’s status in his position. In July, Sandoval, who began his tenure in 2002, was due to undergo the five-year review process — a performance evaluation of senior campus administrators that is conducted by a confidential review committee every five years of an administrator’s tenure.
Though, after speaking with numerous staff within the VCSA division, none have recollection of receiving a form for Sandoval’s review.
According to university policy, a “review of each senior campus administrator will be conducted no later than the fifth year of service in that position.” While the policy also allows for either the chancellor or executive vice chancellor to conduct these reviews earlier than five years, numerous sources claim that the last review of Sandoval was completed in fall of 2012, making his evaluation overdue.
Former Assistant Dean of Students Joe Virata is serving as VCSA in the interim. When speaking during public comment at Wednesday’s ASUCR senate meeting, Virata expressed that “the student affairs division is committed to continuing to work and support ASUCR in anything that I can do while I am in the role of keeping the division moving forward.”
Sources inform us that, as of Friday, Nov. 17, Virata has been appointed as interim assistant vice chancellor and dean of students. While there was speculation regarding whether Virata would assume the role of VCSA in its entirety, the source notes that the Chancellor’s office could be looking elsewhere to fill the position permanently.
Still, the campus maintains that Sandoval has not been let go. When asked for comment regarding the status of Sandoval on Friday, UCR Director of Media Relations John Warren offered the following via email: “Vice Chancellor James Sandoval is still employed by the university, and is on leave.”
This story is developing.
Update (11/15/17 – 9:04 p.m.): This story was updated to clarify the relationship between the ongoing investigation and Sandoval’s leave of absence.