University artwork burned at Sonoma State president’s home tied to sex harassment scandal

Tensions surfaced in 2017 about displaying more artwork in private residences, something not 'within the customary deployment' of the university’s art collection.
By: | May 5, 2022

Sonoma State University President Judy Sakaki and her husband often tell the harrowing story of how they escaped with their lives amid choking smoke and burning embers as flames destroyed their home and all their possessions during the 2017 Tubbs fire.

Sakaki recounted the experience again last week in a video presented to the Academic Senate before it decided to push ahead with a motion of no confidence in her leadership amid a campus sexual harassment and retaliation scandal involving the president and her husband, lobbyist Patrick McCallum.

What Sakaki didn’t say in the video — and has not discussed widely — is that nearly $85,000 in artwork donated to the university for public viewing and educational purposes was among the items destroyed when the massive wildfire burned her home to the ground.