Katehi Resigns

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi resigned on Aug. 9 as the campus’s leader, though she remains a tenured member of the university’s faculty. An investigation by an outside law firm cleared Katehi of the most serious charges leveled against her, including nepotism and retaliating against employees who worked with UCOP, however it did find she misled the press and UC President Janet Napolitano on multiple occasions and violated some UC policies regarding outside service and minor rules governing reimbursement.

Napolitano released the following statement to the UC Davis campus:

On April 25, 2016, I met privately with Linda Katehi to discuss a series of misjudgments and policy violations of such a serious nature that she should resign her position as chancellor of UC Davis. Regrettably, Chancellor Katehi refused to resign and made public statements to campus leadership and others that she intended to remain as chancellor. I then placed Chancellor Katehi on immediate administrative leave and authorized the hiring of an outside firm to investigate a number of concerns.

The investigation is now concluded, and it found numerous instances where Chancellor Katehi was not candid, either with me, the press or the public, that she exercised poor judgment and violated multiple university policies. In these circumstances, Chancellor Katehi has now offered to resign, and I have accepted that resignation. These past three months and the events leading up to them have been an unhappy chapter in the life of UC Davis. I believe it is in the best interest of the campus, the Davis community and the University of California that we move forward.

Chancellor Katehi will transition to becoming a full-time faculty member in accordance with the terms of her pre-existing contract. We will immediately form a search committee and conduct a national search for a new chancellor to lead this extraordinary campus. Ralph Hexter will continue in his role leading the campus during the pendency of the search. The Office of the President will support and work with Davis’ faculty, students, staff and community to ensure the campus continues its impressive upward trajectory. 

In her resignation letter, which can be read here, Katehi cites the UC investigation to insist she broke no university rules. Her statement begins:

Seven years ago, on April 27, 2009, former UC President Mark Yudof invited me to come to UC Davis to serve as Chancellor. I came with great excitement to serve as the campus’ first woman Chancellor and to work with members of the faculty, staff and student community. Approximately 100 days ago, the University of California placed me on leave and commenced an investigation into three allegations. The investigation regarding these allegations has been completed and the investigators have confirmed that as to material allegations concerning my service to this institution, I did not violate UC policies or laws.

The UC investigation into Katehi can be read here. However, significant chunks of text have been redacted. Key findings include:

  1. The report clears Katehi of exercising nepotism toward her son and daughter-in-law
  2. Katehi made statements that were “misleading, at best, or untruthful, at worst” to UCOP and the media about her role in contracting with Nevins & Associates and other communications firm to rehabilitate the university’s online reputation in light of the 2011 pepper spray fiasco
  3. Katehi did not intentionally misuse student activity funds for physical education in the budgeting process
  4. Katehi generally made sure she was only reimbursed for professional travel expenses, not those of a mostly personal nature. Some instances of policy non-compliance did not result in personal profit for Katehi or a loss for UC
  5. Katehi gave inaccurate information about when she began service on the board of DeVry, therefore violating UC policies governing the reporting of outside service
  6. There is no evidence that Katehi threatened retaliation against employees who cooperated with UCOP

Andre Knoesen, chair of the university’s Academic Senate, released a statement praising Katehi for contributions to the campus. In the statement, Knoesen seems critical of Napolitano:

Chancellor Katehi’s decision to resign as Chancellor today is understandable, given the recent interactions between the Chancellor and President Napolitano, including the investigation initiated by the President. These circumstances have had a negative effect on the Davis campus and make it impossible for Linda Katehi to be effective as a Chancellor.

Katehi’s attorney Melinda Guzman released a statement saying Katehi “won” in the face of “baseless accusations.”

“Other issues concerned her DeVry board service, an issue resolved in the past, and alleged misrepresentations to President Napolitano and the media regarding social media contracts. The report found these were never intended to benefit Linda Katehi and were not designed to “scrub the Internet” as inaccurately portrayed by the media. The report does not reach a conclusion that Katehi was untruthful, citing only that she may have minimized her knowledge or role in the contracts. In my opinion, there were many contracts, many goals and many people involved, leading to likely misunderstanding or miscommunication on these contracts,” Guzman said.

“Linda Katehi and her family have been exonerated from baseless accusations of nepotism, conflicts of interest, financial management and personal gain, just as we predicted and as the UC Davis Academic Senate found within days of this leave,” stated Guzman.

The Sacramento Bee has a deep dive into Katehi’s obsession with her reputation, as discovered in the UC investigation:

“The evidence indicates that Chancellor Katehi was acutely concerned with damage to her personal reputation following the 2011 pepper spray incident, and that she was interested in the consultants working to improve her own online reputation as well as the reputation of UC Davis,” the report concluded, noting that Katehi was involved in and approved hiring three firms for $407,000 to repair her online image, as well as that of UC Davis.

Katehi and her staff sought out firms on the East Coast and in Sacramento, meeting with them and discussing how to create a LindaKatehi.com webpage, edit Wikipedia posts and submit op-eds under her name to publications that might crowd out negative press from others.

The report noted that improving Katehi’s reputation also would improve that of the university’s. But documents show that she constantly sought help in what one aide recalled as her desire that they “get me off the Google.”

“Linda wants to understand generally how we plan to address the lingering negative pepper spray-related online search content associated with her name,” reads a September 2012 email from Barry Shiller, who was brought in after the pepper-spray incident to handle her communications strategy.

At one point in 2014, Katehi emailed staff member Luanne Lawrence, saying she wanted to speak to her about “Google in general.”

“I did a search recently and it seems to be the worse (sic) I have seen in a long time,” Katehi wrote. “I am afraid we have regressed and would like to discuss with you a change in strategy.”

Media coverage: SacBee | LATimes | SFGate | DavisEnt

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Media Coverage 8/5/16

The press turned its attention back to Linda Katehi, with the Bee reporting on Katehi’s luxurious UC-funded travel habits. Meanwhile, Nicholas Dirks was ridiculed by the student Daily Cal for building what it termed an “escape hatch” to elude student protests, a characterization the chancellor’s office rejected. Elsewhere, UCOP released a compensation report for 2015.

 Katehi

8/1 – UC footed first-class flights, high-end hotel rooms for Davis chancellor Katehi (SacBee):  Katehi’s bill for international travel, intended to woo donors, cost UC $174,000. The bill includes limo service, first-class seats and tour guides. The cost for her husband to join on the trips is not included in that figure, but the article notes it too was picked up by UC. The article notes Katehi often incurred fees for rebooking flights last minute and upgrading her seating. In 2011, while in Hong Kong, she secured an extra hotel room just for her luggage. Other tidbits abound in the article.

7/28 – The Katehi Years at UC-Davis (Chronicle): An overview of Katehi’s tenure leading UC Davis.

7/29 – The Slow-Motion Downfall of Linda Katehi (Chronicle): A look at Katehi’s resistance to her critics.

Dirks’ Door

7/29 – Campus builds escape hatch for Dirks’ office in California Hall (DailyCal): UC Berkeley Chancellor Dirks had a $9,000 escape door built near his office in response to student protests.

8/3 – UC Berkeley denies chancellor built an ‘escape hatch’ to flee student protests (TheGuardian): A university spokesperson called characterizing the door as an “escape hatch” to be “the concoction of a 19-year-old headline writer.” However, the official did note the door was made in response to the student body’s tendency to protest.

This & That

8/2 – Forced to Justify Board Membership (InsideHigherEd): A closer look at new rules limiting UC officials capacity to serve on outside boards, with particular attention to a rule that requires officials to justify how the service will benefit UC. A more typical standard is to prove the service will not create a conflict of interest.

7/27 – Outgoing UC Student Association president submits report of recommendations to UC system (DailyCal): The association requests formal recognition by UCOP and the regents so it can’t be ignored when its presence would be deemed inconvenient.

7/4 – Former Berkeley Law dean criticizes faculty committee’s response to initial complaint, files new grievance (DailyCal): Former Berkeley Law dean Sujit Choudhry has filed a grievance attempting to block a new investigation into his misdeeds. Choudhry has been accused of sexually harassing his assistant. At first, Choudhry was docked some pay for a year and required to apologize and attend counseling. This second investigation, spurred by a lawsuit filed by the assistant, could strip Choudhry of tenure.

2015 Compensation
7/29 – Compensation at the University of California (UCOP): The UC system released it’s compensation report for 2015.
Also, State Controller Betty Yee released an update to a website that lists public sector salaries. One can filter by UC or CSU employment, thought names are not included. Meanwhile, the SacBee released an article showing the state’s most active lobbyists.

Media Coverage 7/29/16

A very slow news week for the UC system. To offset the lull, I’ve included some links to reports on funding public higher education, as the topic was brought into the spotlight by Democratic Presidential Candidate Hillary Clinton, who has pledged to make college tuition-free for students coming from families earning below $125,000 a year.

UC News

7/24 – Homeless and hungry in college: Not just a ‘ramen-noodle’ problem (SJMN): An in-depth look at how students struggle with paying for living expenses such as housing and food related to attending college.

7/25 – California Colleges To Post Sex Assault Policies (AP): A new law requires all universities in California to post their sexual assault policies online and provide copies to students and faculty. Assembly Member Susan Bonilla says she wrote the law in reaction to issues at UC Berkeley.

7/25 – Longtime UCLA medical school dean Sherman Mellinkoff dies at 96 (LATimes): Mellinkoff led the school for 25 years.

Public Higher Ed Finance

7/28 – Reining in Wall Street to Benefit All Americans (The Century Foundation): Dean Baker argues a financial transaction tax could generate $105 billion annually, money that could be used to support tuition-free public education. The author notes that if the cost of college keeps rising, the tax wouldn’t be enough moving forward. Skip to the end for the part on higher ed, as the beginning of the report explains why a FTT is a good idea.

7/28 – Do state subsidies for public universities favor the affluent? (Brookings): No, the report finds. By looking at both per-student spending by the states and what students of different incomes levels pay in tuition, the report concludes state funding may be slightly progressive.

Media Coverage 7/22/16

The regents voted to implement new rules governing service on corporate boards just after the Chronicle broke a story about a UCSF employee who has made millions from companies that have, in turn, made millions from UCSF. Also, the regents voted to change their own bylaws, a move that some see as intended to limit public scrutiny.

Regents & Outside Compensation

7/18 – UCSF Medical Center CEO profits from firms doing business with hospital (SFChronicle): Mark Laret, the CEO of UCSF Medical Center, sits on the corporate boards of two companies that do millions of dollars of business with the public hospital. Laret’s compensation from the two companies exceeds $5 million. UCSF maintains Laret’s service is above board and that the CEO is not involved in purchasing decisions. At the heart of the controversy is whether Laret’s role to minimize costs for UCSF conflicts with his job to maximize profits for the two companies.

7/21 – UC regents toughen moonlighting rules for top executives (SFChronicle): Senior UC execs must explain how service on a corporate board or consulting work would benefit the UC system under new rules the regents approved. The rule would not apply to those who have already received permission to work outside UC. In other news, 19 top executives including nine chancellors, received 3 percent raises. See the action item here. More from the SacBee.

7/21 – Editorial: Tighten rules for moonlighting UC officials (LATimes): The LA Times editorial board came out in favor of tougher rules on moonlighting, including forbidding UC executives from serving on boards that do business with UC. The new rules approved by the regents do not forbid that practice.

7/21 – UC chancellors get raises – some for second straight year (EBTimes): Chancellor Dirks’ salary has increased by $30,000 since June 2015.

7/20 – UC Regents take steps to streamline board operations, dig more deeply into crucial issues (LATimes): The regents agreed to reduce the number of committees  and to spend more time meeting as a full body. According to the article: “The proposal now affirms that all regents have the right to raise any issue at any time and that all open committee meetings will be videotaped and posted online. The board would retain the right to weigh in on all committee actions, rescind any decision delegating authority to UC administrators and maintain the right to investigate allegations of misconduct by a regent.”

7/15 – A Near Coup d’Etat at the University of California (AmericanThinker; NB this was written before the changes went into effect): Former Regent Velma Montoya characterizes the “streamlining” of the regents as a move to concentrate power in the hands of one committee and to limit public scrutiny.

 7/19 – UC Davis chancellor’s outside activities prompt UC regents to consider tightening moonlighting rules (LATimes): A preview of the changes the regents approved on moonlighting.

7/18 – Katehi scandal at UC Davis called ‘worse than pepper spray’ (SacBee): Emails reveal the strategizing of Katehi’s office as the Bee broke news of the chancellor’s service on two corporate boards that raised ethical questions.

This & That

7/18 – UC regent named as chancellor of community college system (SF Chronicle): Eloy Ortiz Oakley will remain a UC regent as he takes over the state’s community college system.

7/19 -State funding cuts during the recession still shortchanging Cal State students, officials say (LATimes): The nation’s largest university system receives state funding worth $7,858 per full-time student, compared with $9,686 in 2007-2008. The system has had to deny admission to qualified students and defer maintenance on numerous buildings. At the same time, the system’s graduation rate lags behind the national average.

7/18 – Berkeley Student Killed in Terror Attack in Nice (IHE): The 20-year-old was one of 84 people killed in the attack. Three other Berkeley students, all in France on a study abroad program, were injured.

Public Higher Ed Finances

7/17 – Bonuses Push More Public-College Leaders Past $1 Million (Chronicle): Five public university leaders hit the $1 million compensation mark.

7/14 – Finances of City College’s President Are Under Federal Investigation (NYT): Feds are investigating whether CUNY President Lisa S. Coico misused research money to reimburse a private foundation that paid for the president’s personal expenses.

Media Coverage 7/15/16

A busy week for UC news, as Berkeley’s chancellor is under investigation by the university system for improperly accepting free athletic training from a university employee and misusing public funds for a trip to India. The investigation comes on the heels of a number of accusations that the chancellor has mishandled sexual harassment incidents and an investigation into a football coach suspected of inciting violence. Speaking of football, it’s possible a current coach at UCLA was privy to the serial sexual child abuse by Jerry Sandusky while the UCLA coach worked at Penn State. Additionally, a report found widespread hunger among UC Students and the national media paid attention to California’s fight over out-of-state enrollment. On a brighter note, UC earned more US patents in 2015 than any other university.

Dirks

7/12 – UC Berkeley chancellor under investigation for alleged misuse of public funds, personal use of campus athletic trainer (LATimes): Chancellor Dirks is being investigated for “misuse of public funds for travel and the personal use of a campus athletic trainer without payment.” Dirks says he will comment when the investigation is over.

7/13 – Chancellor Nicholas Dirks under investigation for alleged misuse of funds, athletic services (DailyCal):  Faculty claim this incident adds to a general sense of distrust toward Dirks.

& more from SFGate, including the detail that the whistler-blower, a former colleague of the trainer being investigated alongside Dirks, was fired for embezzlement.  The San Jose Mercury News puts the investigation into the context of recent campus controversies. Also, read the letter from UC COO Rachael Nava to Dirks.

Hunger

7/12 – 1 in 5 University of California students struggles with hunger, study finds (SJMN): A total of 42 percent of students are food insecure, based on a survey of 9,000 students.

& more coverage from the LA Times.

Football

7/11 – UC Berkeley renews controversial coach’s contract (SFGate): Damon Harrington’s $150,000 contract was renewed. While faculty ask for a new investigation into his role in an athlete’s beating and another athlete’s death, Cal football players have rallied behind the coach.

7/12 – Unsealed testimony claims Tom Bradley knew of Penn State abuse (DailyBruin): UCLA football defensive coordinator Tom Bradley knew of Jerry Sandusky’s serial sexual child abuse while working at Penn State, according to testimony recently unsealed by a Pennsylvania court. Bradley denies knowing about any abuse.

& a nice student op-ed on what is sacrificed by the desire to win on the field.

Out-of-State

7/8 – Editorial: University of California in denial over damage it did (SDUT): Short editorial questions UCOP’s dismissal of the state’s audit.

7/7 – Public Colleges Chase Out-of-State Students, and Tuition (NYT): While the political fight over UC’s out-of-state student population has drawn much attention, this article notes public universities across the country have turned en masse to out-of-state students for the money they bring. As schools let in more students from out-of-state capable of paying higher tuition, the enrollment of black, Hispanic and low-income students declines.

7/12 – After Outcry, University of California Increases In-State Admission Offers (NYT): A recap of the UC system’s increased in-state admission offers in light of political pressure.

7/11 – Flagships Must Create New Models to Preserve the Public Good (Chronicle): Dirks recounts the history of declining state support for higher education, noting the current course is unsustainable if schools like Berkeley wish to remain great. Take note:

For Berkeley, as for other public institutions, this will mean becoming ever more aggressive in developing new funding models, including innovative master’s programs and more executive education. It also means using our assets in more commercial ways. While we need to shore up and sustain traditional sources of support from state and federal governments, we must also turn to methods that have been successfully used by private universities, including modest though regular increases in tuition while raising the discount level for financial aid, and endowing need-based student aid through fund raising.

This & That

7/8 – CSU cries foul on research grants in San Onofre deal (SDUT): CSU claims UC was unfairly privileged in getting access to $25 million for greenhouse gas research tied to a settlement over the failure of a nuclear plant. A plan to distribute the money to five UC campuses was struck down by the Public Utilities Commission, which may reopen the entire settlement.

& the UCLA Faculty Association with a few comments.

7/13 – Report: UC system secures more US patents in 2015 than any other university (NAI): UC had 489, followed by MIT with 278.

 

 

Media Coverage 7/8/16

The UC system followed through on a deal with the state to admit more in-state students and, at the same time, increased its enrollment of students of color. At Berkeley, the chancellor agreed to hold a follow-up investigation on the football team, though it’s unclear how much of a focus there will be on a coach who was linked to a student’s death and the beating of a player.

Enrollment

7/6 – UCLA, UC Berkeley boost admissions of Californians, including blacks and Latinos (LATimes): Both UC flagship schools admitted 1,000 more Californians each, including a significant boost in the number of black and Latino students. System-wide, the number of Californians admitted increased by 15 percent, which the article speculates may help ease the concerns of legislators critical of the university following a state audit that alleged the system exercised preferential admission practices for out-of-state students.

7/6 – UC campuses admit more Californians after years of falling rates (SJMercury): Assemblyman McCarty, who has led the criticism of UC’s out-of-state admissions policies, called the news “a good start.”

Football

7/2 – UC Berkeley chancellor orders new probe of football program (SFGate): UC Berkeley chancellor orders a new investigation into the school’s football program following a student death and team-led beating. Faculty protested after a Chronicle investigation revealed a probe into a coach linked to both incidents was biased. The new investigation will not focus on the coach, but instead the overall program.

This & That

7/2 – Cal student among victims in Bangladesh attack (SFChronicle): Tarishi Jain, a native of India, was 18.

7/1 – UC Davis chancellor withholds $200,000 scholarship donation as inquiry continues (SacBee): Embattled UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has withheld donating $200,000 to the university as she is investigated by UCOP. The money comes from her service on the board of an academic publisher, a position she has been criticized for taking.

7/3 – Katehi investigation proceeds, compromises made (DavisEnterprise): UC agrees with Katehi’s team regarding a third party handling the chancellor’s university-owned electronic devices.

6/30 – UCLA Professor Accused Of Sexually Harassing Grad Students Is Returning (HuffPo): Gabriel Piterberg was suspended without pay for the Spring 2015 term, at which point the history professor left for a European fellowship.

Media Coverage 7/1/16

It was a quiet week for UC in terms of media coverage. However, in the legislature, AB 1711 has appeared to falter. The bill, which is intended to cap out-of-state enrollment, has hit a roadblock and been significantly altered, according to the official website of the Legislature. First, the bill’s author, Kevin McCarty, amended the bill as it was being considered by the Senate Education Committee. Instead of setting a percentage cap on out-of-state enrollment, the bill now states out-of-state students must exceed the standards which in-state students are held to for admissions. The change is likely a response to the state audit’s finding that out-of-state students were being held to a lower standard than in-state students. However, the bill also failed to pass within the Senate Education Committee on June 29, though reconsideration was granted. See more here.

In other news, questions have arisen over Berkeley’s handling of an investigation into a football player’s death. Also, some have questioned whether UC attempted to stage a PR campaign to counter the impact of the state’s recent audit. Additionally, some UC Davis faculty members wrote a harsh editorial criticizing Napolitano over her handling of the Katehi affair.

Football

6/29 – Critics question Cal’s probe into football coach’s actions (SFChronicle): An inquiry that cleared Berkeley’s football coaching staff of dangerous practice techniques was conducted by those with personal ties to the coaching staff, thus raising questions about the legitimacy of the report.

6/30 – Faculty wants probe, asks UC Berkeley to suspend coach rehiring (SFGate): The BFA (meaning…Prof. Burawoy & co) have asked the university to not renew a contract with a Cal football coach until that coach’s role in a student’s death is properly investigated.

This & That

6/30 – Op Ed: Napolitano hurting UC system, action needed (EBTimes): Article accuses Napolitano of bungling the Katehi investigation, playing the press for political ends and failing to understand the role of the university in civic life.

6/27 – UC Berkeley spends big on chancellor’s campus fixer-upper (SFChronicle): University has spent $1 million sprucing up the chancellor’s official residence.

6/28 -UC spent $158,000 on campaign to counter critical state audit (SacBee): UCOP spent the money on a statewide campaign to boost its image, an effort at least partially intended to soften the blow from the state’s audit on out-of-state enrollment.

6/26 – Op Ed: How race-based affirmative action could return to UC (LATimes): A recent ruling by the Supreme Court that affirmed UT Austin’s consideration of race in admissions could open the doors for affirmative action at UC should voters overturn Prop. 209.

California Finances

6/30 – A Tale of Two Pension Funds (Medium): Stanford’s David Crane on how untimely reporting on California’s pension system makes it harder to manage.

Also, see the full California State Budget. Brown’s introductory budget message notes the importance of UC to the state very early on. Also, read the California Budget & Policy Center’s deep dive on the document.