Olian’s spending explained

Million-dollar renovation project on the Olian’s home sparks student outrage, questions regarding use of funds at UCLA

Matt Fortin

Quinnipiac students are still reacting after reports surfaced that administration is moving forward with plans to renovate Olian’s university-owned home for nearly one million dollars.

Nicole Giordano, a freshman, went so far as to create an online petition called, “Get Quinnipiac President Judy Olian Fired,” which garnered 333 supporters before it was taken down.

In the description of the petition, Giordano cites Olian’s “lavish and extravagant” spending, and suggests there are parallels between her past use of funds during her time as Dean of the Anderson School of Management at UCLA, and the estimated cost of renovating her home here in Hamden.

Q30 News took a closer look at these claims, and found an in-depth report published by the Center of Investigative Reporting in 2013. It uncovered what was referred to as a “pattern of lavish spending” by high ranking UCLA staff. The report focused on the spending incurred on first class airfare, something the university bans unless a medical condition requires it.

In the report, CIR claims that Olian racked up the highest tab on first class airfare, allegedly costing the university 300,000 dollars between 2008 and 2012.

Olian did have a doctor’s note on file during this time.

This story drew attention from mainstream media in the Los Angeles area, and prompted reaction from university administration. Admin countered the claims by saying that her spending was simply an investment towards the 450 million dollars she raised during her 12.5 years at the public institution.

During last week’s town hall forum, which was prompted by the student outrage, Olian said her spending at UCLA was 100 percent approved and audited by administration.

And as for the renovations here in Hamden, the petition was taken down after Olian met with Giordano personally, and explained that the house is an important investment for the school to make.

It is also important to note that the decision to renovate Olian’s home was made by the board of trustees, not Olian herself. In total, the school spends 30-40 million dollars annually on infrastructure alone.

The home is located at 305 Spruce Bank Road and is adjacent to Quinnipiac’s Mount Carmel Campus. It was obtained in April of last year, before Olian assumed office.

It will be passed down to Olian’s successors, and will host events for students, parents and donors.