Courtesy of Stan Lim

In the last year, UC President Michael Drake has faced a series of security breaches at his university-provided housing that both damaged the property and created concern for him and his family’s safety. Most notably, President Drake’s home was spray-painted this past May with horrifying racial slurs in a profanity-laced tirade. Luckily, President Drake was not home at the time of this hate crime, but the UC Regents are scrambling to find a solution to this security issue. While the safety of President Drake should be of high concern to the Regents and the UC Community, it is reprehensible that the same concern for workers is not shown to employees who make the functions of this institution possible.

The regents recently rejected a plan to purchase a new home for President Drake in a vote of 13-7. This plan’s rejection was largely due to the price of $12 million as well as the minimal security upgrades. It is incredibly shortsighted to consider buying a new multimillion-dollar home to address security concerns for a single employee while UCSD refuses to honor the contracts of SRU-UAW negotiated during the historic 2022 strike. In an anonymous statement by one of the regents who voted in favor of the proposal, they stated, “It is unconscionable to continue to wait, hoping for better options in one of the tightest, most expensive housing markets in the country. Pledging to care about his safety rings hollow after five months of inaction since he was the victim of a terrible hate crime.” That statement rings pretty hollow after more than five months of relative inaction from the UC system to address the desperation of students who face the reality of no housing at all.

While President Drake is required to live in university housing, a multimillion-dollar home is far from necessary. His current residence is valued at $6.5 million. It’s completely unacceptable to house him in this residence and consider purchasing another $12 million dollar home while telling students to figure it out when it comes to finding livable housing. While this money this purchase would utilize has been said to be from a “private gift,” it says something that the UC system can find the money to buy an extravagant home for its president but not supply its students and workers with affordable housing. 

These individuals are being penalized for the apparently heinous crime of being poor, as was seen in UCLA’s recent housing plan that would put students from low-income backgrounds into criminally small living quarters. Students at UCSC are camping in the forest and living in trailers in a desperate attempt to receive the education they are entitled to. This fall, over 2,300 students were left on the waiting list for housing at UCSD. In Santa Barbara, students have been living out of vans and hotels. There is yet a viable plan to address this housing shortage. There is yet anything other than platitudes and empty reassurances. The UC system is failing its student body repeatedly and disrespectfully, so considering a ridiculously expensive plan to house its president when that plan introduces little to no increased safety is a slap in the face of everyone paying already exorbitant tuition. It’s the equivalent of saying they care about safety, but not our safety.

Action after action, inaction after action, the UC’s proposals only further reinforce that they will repeatedly and automatically devalue their students and their workers. No one disagrees with the fact that these attacks on President Drake’s home deserve addressing, and his safety should be prioritized, but it is pretty shameful that the same concern isn’t shown to all workers and all students.


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    The Highlander editorials reflect the majority view of the Highlander Editorial Board. They do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the Associated Students of UCR or the University of California system.