UC Regent Norman Pattiz announces retirement amid sex harassment accusations

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Michael Drummond/File

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UC Regent Norman Pattiz — who was recorded asking an actress at his podcast studio whether he could hold her breastswill retire in February after several calls for his resignation over the lewd comments.

On Feb. 16, Pattiz will step down, according to a retirement letter sent to the UC Board of Regents. Pattiz, 74, has been a UC regent since 2001.

“Serving the greatest educational institution in the world has been a privilege and a pleasure,” Pattiz wrote in the letter.

At November’s UC regents meeting, dozens of students called for Pattiz’s removal from the board. At the time, Pattiz stated to The Daily Californian that he had no intention of resigning, adding, “I’ve been around for 15 years. I’ve seen students protest everything and anything. I never thought it would be me.”

Pattiz has denied that the recorded comments made last year were sexual harassment, calling them a “bad joke.” In the weeks after the first audio recording surfaced, an additional recording was leaked where Pattiz could be heard describing pubic hair and pornographic films to colleagues.

In a responding letter to Pattiz, UC Regents board chair George Kieffer stated, “After so many years you deserve a break.”

“I want to express my deep appreciation for the years of service you’ve given to the University of California. … We will miss that experience as well as your deep understanding of the issues facing higher education in general,” Kieffer continued in his letter.

According to Pattiz’s letter, UC regent Ellen Tauscher will assume Pattiz’s current responsibilities as chair of the Regents’ Oversight Committee and National Laboratory LLCs.

“I expect our friendship will continue, as will the deep relationships you’ve built with so many other Board members as well as members of the University community,” Kieffer stated in his letter. “I know you will always be there for the University when called upon.”

Alexandra Yoon-Hendricks is the managing editor. Contact her at [email protected] and follow her on Twitter at @ayoonhendricks.