But No One is Asking Where the Oversight Was –
Both the Davis Enterprise and the Sacramento Bee have been on this aspect of the investigation. On Thursday, the Davis Enterprise reported on a UC Davis police investigation, laid out in a three-page probable cause statement that led to a search warrant in early December.
Now it has been learned that she had a secret checking account to be used for the campus’ “Take Back the Night” program. According to the audit, nearly $12,000 in university funds had been deposited into the account and $5400 had been withdrawn for personal use over a period that covered 2002 to 2009.
In addition, $25,000 in payments of grant funds were made to produce a campus anti-violence guide that was never completed.
From the Vanguard’s standpoint, the focus on Beeman by police investigators and the media insulates the university from a good deal of scrutiny. If this indeed occurred of a period that covered 2002 to 2009, where is the university oversight of the money? They simply allowed an individual at the program director to have $500,000 of grant money at her control without any type of scrutiny or oversight?
It is obvious that the university has a vested interest in containing the damage to a middle manager such as Beeman. Neither the police investigation nor the news accounts in the Enterprise appear to ask any tougher questions of the university itself.
Let us start examining the issue of the crime statistics. We know, because we covered it at the time, the campus was reporting much higher levels of rapes than any of the other UC’s. At the time, the university was very quick to offer up the explanation that it was not due to a higher sexual assault rate at UC Davis than other UC’s, but rather that UC Davis had a better reporting system.
But should that not have been a red-flag? Who was responsible for oversight of the Clery Act reports? A responsible administrator might have looked closer rather than simply assume we had a better reporting system. That leads me to believe that probably the university was not interested in checking things out until a staff member inadvertently discovered the discrepancies in the reports from the actual figures. But that took three years.
The news coverage is quick to add that the Police Chief Annette Spicuzza “has said the inflated numbers were not used in the DOJ grant application” and that it is not clear if the university would have to return any of the nearly $1 million awarded from the U.S. Department of Justice’s Office on Violence Against Women grant.
Obviously embarrassed, UC Davis officials are making changes by stating that they will now have a “three-person panel check sexual assault report numbers against case files with redacted personal information to ensure privacy.” That is a good reform to ensure accuracy in the future, but it still dodges the question of past culpability and who should have been on the ball.
Clearly if Beeman did what she is accused of, she will face serious consequences, but to date it is odd that the entire inquiry has focused on her, when again, she was a fairly low level staffer at UC Davis.
That leads us back to the embezzlement questions. Difficult questions need to be asked about the system of oversight that exists at the university. How is it that an individual could be funneling grant money into a private account not over a short period, but rather over a nearly seven year period and the only reason that they are discovering this is that there was an audit and investigation into her alleged misuse of travel money?
What other money is being misspent by other middle managers like Beeman? Does the university have accurate checks in place?
It is easy for the university, the police, and the media to throw Beeman under the bus, and this does not alleviate her responsibility, but it appears from the accounts so far that she should not have been able to do what she did, and would not have succeeded without a complete lack of oversight and scrutiny from the university. This is an area that is rife for investigation and here, UC Davis officials must come up with answers, not just Beeman. The Vanguard will be on this story to attempt to get answers.
—David M. Greenwald reporting