UC President Janet Napolitano answered questions from lawmakers about a scathing state audit of her office during a legislative hearing Tuesday. Reviews of her response to the audit—which contends UCOP has been hiding money, overpays its employees and interfered with the auditors’ survey of employees—were very critical. A column in the LA Times emphasized how UCOP has become a bloated administrative office while academic staff have limped along at the system’s ten campuses. Even worse, the column contends, the audit undermines Napolitano’s credibility as a champion of public higher education, an institution under threat from a number of directions. After Tuesday’s hearing, the San Francisco Chronicle reported on emails that suggest Napolitano misled lawmakers about her interference with the auditor’s investigation. UCOP has stated Napolitano’s testimony, which emphasized that her review of auditor surveys was intended to guarantee accuracy, was truthful. In particular, the Chronicle article shows Napolitano wanted survey responses that had already been turned in to the auditor withdrawn. During the hearing, Napolitano said she did not ask campuses to withdraw their responses. The issue has received attention across the media spectrum, even appearing in a Breitbart article.
In other news, overtime costs for law enforcement from the Coulter protests totaled $500,000, an amount UC Berkeley may be on the hook for according to one report. Meanwhile, The Chronicle of Higher Education revisited the Katehi scandal at UC Davis and found the ousted campus president is bitter about the events that led to her downfall. Adding to the string of bad publicity, news broke that 25 retired UC employees are receiving pensions of over $300,000. In good news, a study found Berkeley is the number one pipeline to Silicon Valley.
5/5 – Column: The audit of UC’s management shows that the real threat to higher education is inside the house (LATimes): Not only the does the column hammer Napolitano for her mismanagement, it argues that the bad press makes it hard to the UC leader to effectively lobby for the UC system:
What the report and the responses demonstrate is that UC, once the jewel among U.S. public universities, is not in good hands. A thorough housecleaning is in order. That’s not merely because of flaws in the UC administration’s spending and accounting, but because those flaws undermine the administration’s ability to make the case for UC’s mission and protect the system from its enemies.
5/5 – Editorial: Answers from UC’s Napolitano do not engender confidence (EastBayTimes): The editorial takes a similar stance as the LA Times, arguing that Napolitano’s office must be reigned in.
5/3 – Emails raise questions about Napolitano’s testimony on audit (SFChronicle): The article shows emails suggesting Napolitano asked for survey responses to be withdrawn from the auditor, contradicting testimony she gave to lawmakers.
5/3 – Assembly Speaker: “Not Our Desire” To Strip UC’s Constitutional Independence (CapRadio): Democratic Speaker Anthony Rendon has not embraced calls to remove UC of its independence despite being worried by the audit’s findings.
5/2 – Lawmakers grill University of California chief over audit (AP): An overview of the hearing.
5/4 – Cal Legislature Testimony: UC’s Napolitano Interfered with Audit (Breitbart): The alt-right outlet covered the audit outcry in a fairly by-the-books manner, mirroring the reporting found in mainstream outlets.
Watch the Tuesday hearing here (the link is near the bottom of the list).
5/3 – A Year After Her Ouster, Linda Katehi Still Can’t Resist a Fight (Chronicle): The article focuses on Katehi as she prepared to rejoin the university as a faculty member.
5/5 – University Of California ‘Recalled Retirees’ Receiving $300,000+ In Annual Pensions (CBS): The news comes amid questions of whether UCOP overpays its employees.
5/2- Coulter clash at UC Berkeley costly for university (SFGate): The Alameda County Sheriff’s Office said overtime costs from the Coulter protest, reflecting the efforts of a number of agencies, cost $500,000. According to the article, UC Berkeley is working to reimburse the involved agencies.
5/2 – A public university sends more grads to Silicon Valley’s tech giants than any Ivy League school (BusinessInsider): San Jose State came in at number eight, while Berkeley led the way.
5/5 – Strawberry suit: UC Davis and former professors clash over who owns the fruits of research (AP): The article includes a number of good puns, while also raising the question of to whom does the rewards of publicly-funded research belong.