Media Coverage 2/24/17

Gary May will be the next leader of UC Davis. The electrical engineer and computer scientist, who earned his doctorate at Berkeley, will fill the void left by Linda Katehi, who resigned in August after having been found to violate a number of university policies. His salary will be $495,000, including $75,000 coming from a private endowment. Elsewhere, UC President Janet Napolitano’s role advocating for undocumented students was highlighted by multiple publications, one of which contrasted her current position with the 2.5 million people she deported as Secretary of Homeland Security. In an op-ed, Chancellor Nicholas Dirks committed UC Berkeley to education more low-income students.

2/23 – Gary May confirmed as UC Davis chancellor, permanent replacement for Linda Katehi (SacBee): Gary May, 51, was confirmed by the UC Regents as UC Davis’ new chancellor. May, who will become the school’s first African American leader, is currently dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech. He assumes his post Aug. 1. The Bee notes:

May will receive an annual salary of $495,000, which includes $75,000 in faculty chairman funds from a private endowment. His combined salary will be almost 17 percent higher than former Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi’s $424,360. But UC made a point of saying in a statement that his base salary of $420,000 is less than Katehi’s base was.

Read more: LA Times | KCRA | Chronicle
2/23 – Why Immigrant Students Are Changing Their Minds About Janet Napolitano (Atlantic): The article notes that UC President Janet Napolitano has become a leading defender of students protected under the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, despite overseeing the deportation of 2.5 million people while Secretary of Homeland Security.
2/22 – UC President Janet Napolitano blasts Trump immigration crackdown as a backward step (LATimes): Napolitano characterized Trump’s crackdown as too broad to be effective and likely to stir up fear and distrust, which will make communities less safe as people will be unlikely to cooperate with law enforcement.
2/23 – Dirks Op-Ed: Top universities must enroll more low-income students (SFChronicle): The out-going Berkeley chancellor affirms the campus’ commitment to educating more low-income students, via partnership with Bloomberg Philanthropies and the Aspen Institute, while characterizing the state of higher-education funding as perilous. A highlight:

Consider: An average of only 22 percent of students receive Pell Grants (an indicator of low-income status) at America’s top 270 colleges and universities — a list that includes the University of California campuses, Stanford, the California Institute of Technology, the Claremont colleges, and many others. By contrast, 38 percent of students enrolled at all other four-year institutions receive such grants.

In short, the wealthier among us have access to the best schools, while those from low-income families, who would benefit most from education at an excellent college, are excluded. This produces impediments to social mobility and contradicts our self-understanding as a meritocracy. The public has every right to demand more.

This is why UC Berkeley has joined a coalition of the country’s top colleges and universities in the American Talent Initiative, a Bloomberg Philanthropies and Aspen Institute-led effort that met for the first time last week. Our collective goal is to educate 50,000 more low- to moderate-income students by 2025. While UC Berkeley already prioritizes affordability and enrolls more low-income students — 9,000, or 34 percent of our student body — than any other university of our stature, we consider it essential to our public mission to give California’s underprivileged a stronger foothold in society.

2/17 – California assemblywoman introduces bill to freeze Cal State tuition until 2020 (LATimes): Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva (D-Fullerton) has authored a bill to cap CSU and CCC tuition and mandatory fees. It is backed by the California Faculty Association, which represents the faculty in the CSU system.
2/22 – State Sen. Glazer introduces $2 billion higher education bond bill (DailyCal): Voters will consider the bond in 2018. The last such bond centered on higher education was issued in 2006. Campus leaders stressed the importance of funding structural maintenance at the Berkeley campus.

8/12/16 Media Coverage

The big news this week, detailed in an earlier blog post, is the resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. Elsewhere, lawmakers in Sacramento approved an audit of UCOP. UC Davis is also in the news for delayed financial aid payments to students and a tricky legal maneuver involving its medical school and claims of sexual harassment.

UC News

8/11 – Lawmakers approve audits of UC spending (SFChron): Legislators approved an audit of UCOP. “We must be assured the maximum resources are directed to classrooms and student services,” wrote Assemblyman Phil Ting, who requested the study, in a statement. The Chronicle begins its article with a noteworthy lede:

Spending at the University of California’s Oakland headquarters has nearly doubled in recent years, and official staff counts vary by nearly 500 people, depending on who’s doing the counting. / So on Wednesday, state lawmakers authorized an audit of UC’s Office of the President to determine whether its $686 million annual budget — more than twice that of the Legislature — is money well spent.

The article notes the lede is a bit misleading, as only half of the UCOP budget is actually spent on UCOP operations. The rest funds student services, research, study abroad trips, etc. Also see: LATimes

8/6 – San Jose State’s Spartan Stadium now named after credit union (SJMN): Not UC, but of note: The school gets $8 million for the name change.

8/10 – Top 100 (Capitol Weekly): Capitol Weekly’s list of the top 100 political players in the state includes Janet Napolitano at #24, calling her a an “aggressive advocate” for the UC system. Ironically, #25 is Elaine Howle, the state auditor who produced a report deeply critical of UC this year. The list also includes Steve Juarez, UCOP’s Sacramento lobbyist, as #89. Here’s what it says about Juarez:

UC is a mighty institution that gets things done, and one of the reasons is Steve Juarez, who lobbies on behalf of UC’s Office of the President. People in both houses who know higher education lobbying – and some outsiders, too – say Juarez is one of the reasons. He’s smart, prompt and detail-savvy – characteristics that count for much in the Capitol. UC offers up relatively few bills each session, so Juarez’ load may not seem all that heavy. But he also serves as a communications channel between the Legislature and the university – a critical role, given the image problems that have confronted the school this year and last.

8/10 – UC Davis’ Katehi gets $424,360 ‘parachute’ common for university presidents (SacBee): Katehi will retain her president-level pay for one year as she transitions to a full-time faculty member. The article notes:

The practice of paying a college president an additional year after leaving office is common across the country, said James Finkelstein, a George Mason University professor and expert on university executives. “What she is getting is very typical of the type of parachutes that other presidents have had,” he said.

Finkelstein said the policies began after lawyers started representing university presidents in contract negotiations. “It has begun to slip over from the private sector into the university sector – what I call the CEO-ization of the university presidency,” he said.

8/6 – Court spurns UC Davis harassment suit defense that cites First Amendment rights (SacBee): UC Davis is attempting to kill a lawsuit by a medical resident who says she was sexually harassed and unfairly criticized. The legal move raises questions about how easy it is to sue a large organization in California.

8/7 – UC Davis may issue emergency loans due to financial aid backlog (SacBee): UC Davis is behind by two months on giving out loans and financial aid. Students may need to take out short-term loans to get by.

Elsewhere

8/12 – Messy Breakups Make More Noise (IHE): Katehi isn’t the only campus leader to step down amid controversy. Some think this could signal a new trend in the relationship between campus executives and boards, who can hire and fire campus leaders. Others see a shift in the expectations places on campus presidents.

8/11 – Employees Sue Four More Universities Over Retirement Plan Fees (NYT):  A number of elite private schools have been sued for failing to secure better terms on retirement plan fees.

8/9 – AAU Memo to Clinton & Trump (AAU): The nation’s top research universities have asked the major party presidential nominees to back “policies that foster innovation, enhance college affordability, attract and retain top international talent, and make the federal investments in research and higher education more efficient.”

8/5 – How Much Does Living Off-Campus Cost? Who Knows? (NYT): A study by the Wisconsin HOPE lab, which was founded by sociologist Sara Goldrick-Rab and works to make colleges more affordable, found that schools frequently over- or underestimate the cost of living off campus. This matters, not only for a student determining where to enroll, but for how federal loan limits are calculated.

8/4 – The Mess at Oberlin (Academe): Steve Lubet, a professor of law at Northwestern, argues for keeping separate one’s academic career (and any discipline one may invite) and personal statements in light of a controversy surrounding an Oberlin professor’s conspiratorial social media posts maligning Jews and Israel.

8/11 – The Quality Crisis at 4-year Public Colleges (ThirdWay): A report on higher education in California finds much to criticize — including low graduation rates — but much to praise at various UC campuses, too, including above-average enrollment of Pell students paired with above-average graduation rates.

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

Media Coverage 6/16/16

The legislature passed a $171 billion statewide budget that increases funding for UC, though the specter of AB 1711 — which would cap out-of-state enrollment at 10 percent and increase overall enrollment by quite a bit — still looms. Beyond UC, the budget is more conservative than legislative Democrats had hoped, as Brown was able to secure $2 billion to shore up the state’s rainy day fund. While the state’s economy has been growing, Brown senses a future recession is near. In total, UC gets $3.3 billion, an increase of $125.4 million over last year, though $18.5 million is tied to the Regents adopting a cap on out-of-state enrollment. The nature of that cap is unspecified by the budget bill. UC already has such policies in place on the three campuses with the highest rate of out-of-state enrollment — Berkeley, LA and San Diego.

Budget & out-of-state cap

6/15 – State budget heads to Gov. Brown: How education fared (EdSource): In addition to UC ‘s increased funding, CSU also saw a raise of $161 million. In the K-12 world, there was a big focus on early childhood education.

6/17 – Budget pushes UC to limit non-resident enrollment, CSU to boost graduation rates (EdSource):  The Regents are likely to discuss how to cap out-of-state enrollment in July or September.

6/16 – California lawmakers create a University of California research center on gun violence (LATimes): Included in the budget is $5 million to establish a center on gun research. The federal government has long had a ban on funding such research. The funding will cover the first five years of operations. Where the center will be located is still up in the air.

6/10 – California budget deal seeks nonresident enrollment cap at UC (SacBee): Written before the budget passed, this article notes an Assembly plan to give $1.1 million to the state auditor to annually look into UC was left out of the final budget deal.

More coverage: California Legislature approves $171 billion state budget (LATimes); California budget by the numbers (AP); California lawmakers approve budget bill – on deadline (SacBee); More State Funds, on One Condition (IHE)

UC Merced expansion

6/16 – UC Merced moves forward with major campus expansion (LATimes): UC Merced will take a public-private partnership approach to a $1.14 billion expansion that will create room for 4,000 new students.

6/15 – UC Merced to expand through unusual partnership (AP): The campus expansion will be funded by the university, the UC system and developers, who will share in the operating revenue from new dorms, a dining hall and other facilities. According to Napolitano: “UC Merced, the youngest campus in our system, is poised to become a model for our other campuses as we look for the most efficient ways to construct, operate and maintain facilities that enable us to pursue our teaching, research and public service missions.”

Katehi

6/15 – UC Davis chancellor sent aides to Switzerland to learn image-boosting tactics (SacBee): About $17,000 was spent on sending staff to study PR pros abroad and across the country in an effort to revamp the university’s own image.

6/10 – UC delays release of public records in UC Davis, Katehi probe (SacBee): UC says it is delaying the release of records requested by the Bee so as to not interfere with witness interviews pertaining to the Katehi investigation. The documents, requested in late March, include “contracts issued to consultants, emails, travel expenses for Katehi and other UC Davis officials and the complete text of a 2012 marketing study.” Also, it’s noted Napolitano claims she never asked Katehi to give up her faculty post.

This & That

6/12 – Students mark 32nd annual Latino graduation at UC Davis (SacBee): Less than 40 percent of latina/o and chicana/o students are enrolled by their junior year. UC Davis hosts a special graduation ceremony to celebrate those who do make it through.

6/13 – Report: California public colleges not producing enough STEM degrees (EdSource): California compares poorly to other states in terms of producing STEM grads, which this nonprofit thinks is a huge deal. The group, the Campaign for College Opportunity, seems to put more blame on CSU than UC, noting both systems produce about the same number of STEM grads despite CSU having twice the enrollment of UC.

Elsewhere in the great American West…

6/15 – University of Wyoming president to evaluate program cuts (AP): A downturn in the nation’s least populous state is forcing budget tightening at Wyoming’s only public four-year university. The school needs to trim $40 million. For perspective, the entire state budget is about $1.5 billion a year. Some of the savings will be made by reducing the amount of research faculty conduct and increasing the amount of teaching, as positions are left vacant.

Media Coverage 6/10/16

Coverage of the UC system has been dominated by the tussle between UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi and UC system President Janet Napolitano, who placed Katehi on leave.  As an investigation into Katehi begins, the chancellor has filed a formal complaint with UCOP, possibly paving the way for a lawsuit. Napolitano’s name has popped up in a number of media outlets as a possible VP choice for Hillary Clinton, though the UC system’s top administrator is rarely near the top of any lists.

Katehi

6/2 – Conflict of interest alleged between UC president and investigator in Katehi case (Aggie): Student newspaper notes academic senate chair is also skeptical of the firm hired to investigate Katehi, due to the lead investigator’s ties to Napolitano. Also, check out this “Students for Linda” Facebook page. The opposition, “Fire Katehi,” has more likes…

6/3 – UC Davis delays release of public records regarding beleaguered chancellor (SacBee): UC Davis has dragged its feet on releasing a number of records, a move the SacBee clearly thinks is illegal

6/3 – When universities try to behave like businesses, education suffers (LATimes): Column calls out Katehi’s membership on two corporate boards who, the author alleges, have interests that conflict with UC (DeVry and Wiley) and goes on to discuss the corporatization of public higher education

6/3 – Suspend probe of Katehi, UC Davis chancellor’s reps demand (SacBee): Katehi’s lawyer says the firm investigating her client is biased, asks for the investigation to be halted.

6/3 – Suspended UC Davis Chancellor’s Attorney Reacts To Allegations (CapRadio): Katehi’s lawyers say their client only broke one rule — by joining the DeVry board — but that UCOP was well aware of that move before it happened. The lawyers also contend UCOP tried to mislead the public and media and insists the hold up on public records is due to UCOP, not UC Davis.

More coverage: Suspended UC Davis Chancellor: Conflict of Interest Taints Investigation (KQED); Katehi’s team wants investigation ‘scrapped’ (DavisEnt)

6/8 – Katehi’s team files a grievance, sets stage for a lawsuit (DavisEnt): A grievance filed by Katehi may be the first step in the filing of a lawsuit. The complaint cites breach of contract, violation of privacy rights and defamation, violation of confidentiality rights, retaliation, constructive termination and discrimination due to gender. Katehi alleges UCOP tried to slander her by releasing what she claims was a confidential memo, though UCOP says the memo was requested by the media and disclosure was in the public interest.

6/9 – Katehi Fighting Back against Allegations from UC President Napolitano (DavisVanguard): A longer rundown from Katehi’s perspective on the various missteps by UCOP. Among them, Napolitano asked Katehi not only to resign as chancellor but to give up her faculty position.

6/10 – UC Responds to Allegations from Katehi’s Attorney (DavisVanguard): UC insists Katehi is holding up investigation by not turning over UC-owned devices and refusing to meet with investigators. The investigation is set to end in early August.

6/8 – We narrowed Clinton’s VP possibilities to 27 (WaPo): This article mentions Napolitano as a potential VP pick, though it doesn’t say much about why she made the list.

Sacramento

6/9 – UC retirement plan under threat (Capital&Main): McCarty proposes including language in the budget bill to block a loophole that would allow high-earners in the UC system to use a private IRA and avoid the PEPRA cap.

6/1 – Editorial: UC should heed assembly’s message on in-state students (UnionTribune): Editorial backs state audit finding that UC isn’t allowing enough in-state students to enroll

6/3 – State lawmakers vote to cap nonresident enrollment at UC schools (LATimes): The measure still needs to be approved by the senate.

ALSO: Compare the assembly and senate budgets for UC beginning on page 38.

This & That

6/3 – UCLA sells landmark Japanese garden for $12.5 million (LATimes): I don’t really know what this is about, but seems interesting UC gets rid of a cultural asset for some cash.

6/8 – UC admissions applicants face more essay choices, shorter lengths (EdSource): The UC system will do away with its two longish essay questions for freshman and transfer applicants, instead letting applicants choose four shorter questions from a range of topics. Move is intended to deter canned responses and to be easier to evaluate.