Embattled University of California Chancellor Dies After Apparent Jump From Building

A University of California chancellor died Saturday in an apparent suicide jump from a 43-story apartment building on Saturday, authorities said.

Denice Dee Denton, 46, the chancellor of the Santa Cruz campus, apparently jumped from an undisclosed section of the Paramount luxury apartment building around 8 a.m. and landed on a parking garage, police and university officials said.

The Medical Examiner's office and a university spokesman confirmed her death, though the cause was still under investigation.

"Those of us who worked closely with Denice valued her intelligence, humor, and commitment to the ideals of diversity and higher education," UC Santa Cruz Campus Provost David S. Kliger said in a statement. "We are deeply saddened by her death."

Denton recently was criticized for demanding expensive remodeling to her campus home and for helping her partner secure a top-paying university position.

In March, she defended $600,000 worth of renovations to her campus home she demanded during contract negotiations before being hired in 2004.

Campus employees criticized the expenditures as lavish while the university raised fees and cut budgets.

An employee union in 2005 criticized the university's creation of a $192,000-a-year job for Gretchen Kalonji, Denton's longtime partner and a former professor of materials science at the University of Washington in Seattle.

University officials defended the hiring, saying Kalonji's experience would be an asset in her role as director of international strategy development.