The University House of UCSD lies on some of the most premiere real estate in the UC system. Nestled in the wealthy enclave of La Jolla Farms on the cliffs above Blacks Beach, the university house remains unoccupied and is shrouded with controversy. Originally built in 1949, the mansion became the de facto residence for the chancellor of the university to reside in and host university related functions. Fast forward fifty or so years to 2004, and the house was declared unlivable due to ill maintenance and structural issues. In addition to this, the house is built upon indian burial grounds.
There seem to be three main groups who have opinions on what to do with the university house. First, there is the university itself which basically wants to retrofit/rebuild a newer, more modern house (though it currently is progressing very slowly). Secondly, there are the Kumeyaay native americans who want the ground to remain untouched since it is a holy burial ground. Thirdly, rich La Jolla Farms neighbors seem to enjoy having the house unoccupied and not hosting events, so they are fighting for the house to become a historic site, which would prevent it’s demolition and rebuilding. To me, the University seems to have the most substantial claim, as it is a highly expensive property that remains unused.
Chancellor Fox has been living in a downtown La Jolla residence costing $6,900 per month, with an additional $15,000 a year for utilities and expenses related to hosting university functions. In March of 2010, she and her husband purchased a 1.3 million dollar house. She still receives $20,000 from the university as part of her housing stipend. This all sounds very ridiculous to me, and ultimately seems like a huge waste of money. She’s laughing all the way to the bank, probably sipping on Chandon and chowing down on caviar, all at the university’s expense.
Currently, after hundreds of thousands of dollars in legal fees, and years of inactivity, the university has announced that they are restarting the process of rebuilding and retrofitting. They are proceeding with increased involvement from the Kumeyaay tribe, and are attempting to minimize further impact on the burial ground. I personally can’t wait for University House to become functional again, but it will certainly be many more years before this happens.