By Paul Medved
Recent events have brought to light, yet again, the extraordinarily poor judgment and leadership of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. So far two State Assembly members and the San Francisco Chronicle have issued calls for her resignation. I wish them every success. And that’s just based on her latest misdeeds. Well here’s something else to consider…
Among the many ways Chancellor Katehi has sought to makeover and promote (exploit?) the image of UC Davis is in the context of intercollegiate athletics (ICA). What better, quicker way than winning football and men’s basketball games before large television audiences?
However, over the past six years she has attempted to do so paying little more than lip service to commitments the students, the Regents and prior campus administrations have made over time to ensure stability, integrity and opportunity within this uniquely chartered and incredibly important campus resource.
Last year alone the students of UC Davis contributed over $20M in initiative fees to ICA. That’s fully two-thirds of the department’s operating budget. In return, the university was and still is expected to run the program according to the conditions set out in those Regent-approved student fee initiatives.
However clear evidence obtained over the past six years strongly suggests that under the direct supervision of Chancellor Katehi and other high officials within her administration the university has seriously and opaquely departed from the intent and the terms of at least two of these initiatives and thus failed to protect the interests of its students.
These apparent violations raise equally serious ethical, procedural and legal questions and they are the subject of a pending Whistleblower Complaint currently being investigated by UCOP.
UC Davis is currently seeking to hire a new Director of Athletics. Counting interim occupants of that position, this will be the fifth individual to serve as AD in the past six years.
It seems to me completely appropriate that the hiring process be immediately suspended pending a thorough review of the Complaint and its relevance to the future of the program as well as any other reviews, investigations, or hearings which might be underway or contemplated.
In the meanwhile I suggest that Interim AD Teresa Gould be allowed to continue on in her present capacity until such time as the UC Davis community can come to terms with what has happened under the Katehi administration, learn from it, and then find a better way – make that a much better way – forward.