Pressure Mounts on Katehi, UC Regents As Three More Call For Resignation

UC Davis Alum and Assemblymember Luis Alejo calls for Chancellor Katehi's resignation
UC Davis Alum and Assemblymember Luis Alejo calls for Chancellor Katehi’s resignation

Three more lawmakers on Thursday asked embattled UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to resign. Most notable was Assemblymember Luis Alejo, who represents parts of Monterey, Santa Clara and Santa Cruz counties but is himself an alum of the UC Davis School of Law.

In a press release, Assemblymember Alejo indicated he has sent a letter to University of California President Janet Napolitano and the UC Board of Regents asking for the removal of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi after revelations Katehi engaged in outside employment that conflicted with her responsibilities to the university.

“I met with Chancellor Katehi this week and found her explanations for accepting a position on the board of a for-profit university under federal investigation for defrauding students and taking six-figure compensation for sitting on the board of a text book publisher unsatisfactory and disappointing,” Assemblymember Alejo said.

He said, “Her decision to pad her $424,360 taxpayer-funded UC salary with these outside activities is indefensible while the cost of attending a public university in California soars increasingly out of reach for our young people, many of whom must take on huge student loan debt just to get an education. I believe Chancellor Katehi’s ability to serve as an effective leader of a UC campus is compromised. To restore the public’s trust in the leadership of UC Davis and the University of California as a whole, Ms. Katehi should resign or be removed from her position as Chancellor of UC Davis.”

The Assemblymember’s comments were similar to those of Sacramento area Assemblymember Kevin McCarty, who became the first last week to call for her resignation after deeming her explanation unsatisfactory.

Assemblymember Alejo was joined by Jim Cooper and Lorena Gonzales, all Democrats.

In a statement, Assemblymember Cooper wrote, “It saddens me to think that while our students are strapped with student debt to pay for the astronomical prices of college textbooks, Chancellor Katehi in a clear conflict of interest received $420,000 from the same textbook publishers that are exploiting our students.”

The Bee reports that the Assemblymember wanted to issue the statement last week, but decided to give the chancellor a chance to resign on her own. According to the Bee, Assembly spokesperson Skyler Wonnacott said, “A whole week went by and she hasn’t done anything. The assemblyman doesn’t think she has properly addressed the situation.”

Assemblymember Lorena Gonzalez tweeted, “Make that 5. She needs to go.”

Meanwhile, while five Assemblymembers have called for her resignation, the two legislators representing the Davis campus have stopped well short of such calls.

Last week, Senator Lois Wolk stated, “At this time, I believe calls by some for her resignation are premature.”

She did say, “These are very serious issues that jeopardize the reputation of the University of California and go beyond one chancellor, involving many in high leadership positions at the university. These issues need to be thoroughly reviewed and policies revised. Chancellor Katehi is working to restore the confidence that has been lost.”

In the meantime, in a meeting with the Vanguard editorial board, Assemblymember Bill Dodd said he was not calling for the chancellor’s resignation. Instead, he said that the legislature should look at the policy of the state of California that has allowed tuition and textbook costs to get out of hand and re-examine the laws that allow our chancellors to serve on such boards.

“I really believe that President Napolitano has a big job to do,” he told the editorial board on Thursday. “A whole bunch of bills are needed. Let’s understand what the problem is.”

He said he is neither “defending nor chastising” the chancellor. Instead, he is chastising the policy which he said is not transparent. “That’s what we expect as taxpayers of the state of California,” he said. “We need to do a deep dive into the policy and make stronger policies.”

In his letter to UC President Napolitano, Assemblymember Alejo wrote, “As a UC Davis alumnus, I believe Chancellor Katehi violated the trust of UC Davis students and the larger University of California community by accepting membership on the Board of the for-profit DeVry Education Group, the subject of a federal fraud investigation, and academic publisher John Wiley & Sons.”

“I believe her actions are a clear conflict of interest with her responsibilities to students as Chancellor of UC Davis, demonstrated a lack of good judgment and appear to violate University of California policy on outside professional activities for UC senior management, of which she is a member,” he said.

He added, “Her decision to pad her $424,360 taxpayer-funded UC salary with these outside activities is indefensible while the cost of attending a public university in California soars increasingly out of reach for our young people, many of whom must take on huge student loan debt just to get an education.”

Finally, he said, “the University of California Office of the President and the UC Board of Regents should immediately revise its policy to prohibit UC senior managers from serving in compensated outside board positions.”

—David M. Greenwald reporting

About The Author

David Greenwald is the founder, editor, and executive director of the Davis Vanguard. He founded the Vanguard in 2006. David Greenwald moved to Davis in 1996 to attend Graduate School at UC Davis in Political Science. He lives in South Davis with his wife Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald and three children.

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26 Comments

    1. David Greenwald

      Eric:

      I have to disagree with you somewhat here. For the most part, the universe of legislators are going to be those in the region, those on the higher education committee, and maybe some like Alejo, who are alums. That five have already come out seems like a large, not a small number to me.

      1. Eric Gelber

        Fair point. Although, none of the 5 Assembly Members is on the Higher Education Committee and only McCarty is local. At this point, however, McCarty’s stance is certainly important. He is both local and, most significantly, Chair of the Assembly Budget Subcommittee on Education Finance.

        I have no strong opinion on whether Katehi should stay or leave. I just don’t know how clear the applicable rules are or if her conduct is that out of line with custom and practice of others in the state system in similar positions. And it seems that many are focusing on this issue because of other, longstanding issues they have had with her.

    2. South of Davis

      Eric wrote:

      > So, 5 out of 120 legislators, a handful of students,

      I take it you don’t spend much time talking to UCD students since it is more than a “handful” that want her gone.

      The real question is if the legislators have made a deal with Angelo Tsakopoulos and his Greek friends (who fund so many of their campaigns) to get the OK to remove her.

    3. Alan Miller

      So, 5 out of 120 legislators, a handful of students, and one defacer of artworks are demanding Katehi’s resignation. Quite a groundswell.

      You forgot Alan Miller. Been preaching “Fire Katehi!” repeatedly since 2011, while the other 116,000 original signers of resignation (should have been firing since Day 1) went back to watching “Wheel of Fortune”.

      And no, I didn’t spray paint the egghead.

  1. PhillipColeman

    From all appearances it seems that the political tide is turning overtly, after Chancellor Katehi was covertly given some time to depart semi-gracefully, and resign. From the outset, the silence from key area political figures, and the tepid proclamations from so-called supporters gave early indications of where we seem to be headed. The countdown has begun.

    President Napolitano will soon be asked publicly how she gave permission to Chancellor Katehi to do what is now publicly condemned.

    Deserved or not, needed or not, there’s always a certain element of sadness associated with forced removal of a presumed talented administrator. Flaws are revealed in the surrounding organizational environment–and when a head is stuck on a pike–everybody can conveniently say, “It was all her fault,” say we need to “move on” and deliberately try to avoid any blow-back to the question, “How could this have been happening for so long?”

    Causal factors are many. Why was it that the Legislature and the Board of Regents were apparently never aware of the current policy of allowing heads of public education institutions to serve on advisory boards and receive handsome compensation? Giving the University President unilateral authority to approve paid participation of university heads on for-profit boards of directors, are we to accept without any accountability that legislative and regent oversight responsibility was ignorant of this policy?

    Assembly Members and Senators are only now publicly posturing about the high costs of education and materials for our beleaguered students, conveniently forgetting it was they who stripped the collective public college and university budgets of most of its public funding.

    Doesn’t matter, it was all Chancellor Katehi’s fault. If we need to throw another log on the public fire, we’ll make it the University President. But there is a firewall firmly in place when it comes to the Regents and the Legislature. While Harry Truman said, “The buck stops here,” our California leadership says, “The buck stops there.”

    1. Misanthrop

      The legislature over many years defunded UC but the privatization and interconnectedness between the corporate ruling class and the educational ruling class have now become one. That current members of the legislature are actually taking a stand should be commended instead of ridiculed for policies put in place by those who came before them.

  2. Tia Will

    the University of California Office of the President and the UC Board of Regents should immediately revise its policy to prohibit UC senior managers from serving in compensated outside board positions.”

    I see this as an opportunity for both sides. Ms. Katehi has demonstrated again and again that her interests are more in alignment with private than with public educational models. When given the opportunity to choose in favor of public education and the students dependent upon it and the private sector model, her choices have consistently fallen in line with the private model. I see these events as an opportunity for her to choose a future career path more in keeping with her philosophy.

    Much more importantly however, I believe that this series of unfortunate revelations can and should serve as a basis for remodeling of the role of public educators in interacting with outside boards. I am strongly in favor of public/ private collaborations as long as the proceeds from these interactions go towards the support of California students and not to the private bank accounts of the participants. The Permanente Medical Group has had such a policy for at least the past 25 years so this is not impossible nor impractical. Doctors are free to participate in the educational and/ or service provision of outside groups with the understanding that all of the proceeds go back to the Permanente Group, not to the individual. How better to build trust and provide a role model for students than to volunteer the time of senior researchers and administrators thus building truly collaborative practices between public and private institutions rather than income generators for the already very wealthy !

    1. The Pugilist

      I don’t see an opportunity for both sides.  I see this as a further example of the harm that UC has done to the students and taxpayers.  They’ve created a culture of greed where an academic is trying to enrich herself rather than the community.

      1. Tia Will

        The Pugilist

        They’ve created a culture of greed where an academic is trying to enrich herself rather than the community”

        I agree. And now they have a chance to acknowledge and rectify the situation. That I see as an opportunity and I hope it is not wasted.

  3. Alan Miller

    Assemblymember Alejo was joined by Jim Cooper and Lorena Gonzales, all Democrats.

    gunrock, March 15, 2016 at 9:02 am: I think it ridiculous to negotiate with terrorists.

    Are Alejo, Cooper & Gonzales “supporting the views and actions of terrorists” — (in your opinion)?

  4. Alan Miller

    Y’know, ya’ll need to go back and watch the video “Katehi’s Walk of Shame”.  That should have been the end right there.  Leader my ass.

    Link (3 minutes):

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nmfIuKelOt4

    Maybe go a good time to go back and review a few pepper spray videos while you are at it (example below, 15 minutes) – shameful!:

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yjXcaoEAkq4&ebc=ANyPxKpLpgeaKA93k6gGHbwomcwCvbqiNUFbxBpB2Z4xjCSQHyDcwmQ2eiO_FzIg_u47tOMvkpfsW42xvMf9UJZYoEaJkp7Zyw

    This whole thing reminds me of the fate and karma of O.J. Simpson.  He wasn’t convicted of murder, but he now is in jail for life on unlawful detainment charges, and pretty much everyone is OK with that as his fate, however he got there.  Similarly, Katehi should have been fired in 2011 after the pepper spray incident.  If this current scandal gets her finally removed as chancellor and shamed out of UC Davis, she gets what she deserved in 2011.

    Bye, bye Linda.

  5. Nancy Price

    I do not see UC/UCD  policies that have lead to the “corporatization” of the University being discussed here at all. Let’s just start with UCD’s  fairly long-term alliance with Monsanto. I will not here go into all the reasons this could be seen as problematic on many accounts. However, it is to some degree the state and federal cuts in funds for public universities that have led to these bargains with the devil. . More on UCD and Monsanto later

  6. Frankly

    Irony abounds.

    These students will undoubtedly vote for Hillary Clinton in great numbers.  I’m sure they voted for Governor Jerry Brown in great numbers.  And in doing so they vote for the chosen leaders of the wealthy government-business cartel.

    The little darlings don’t have a clue.

    They are brainwashed into supporting the cartel by the very members of the cartel.  Only periodically do these students recognize the problems they cause themselves and then they agitate to “fix” it.  But their brainwashing is so complete that they cannot connect the dots for the root cause and thus only dabble in repairing a symptom here and there.

    Katehi and Napolitano are higher-up the command chain in the cartel… and everyone in the cartel are in it for personal monetary gain.  Usually they are very good at hiding this… expertly applying that nuanced political, social and environmental correct facade that they have mastered.  However, because their personal mission is to accumulate as much money as possible, sometimes their greed overwhelms their judgement and gives us a window into the truth.

    There is some indication that more of these kids are starting waking up to the truth.  They are supporting Bernie Sanders in great numbers. However, at this point it appears that there are not enough of them to upset another win for the cartel.

    And so, after Katehi leaves with her a big fat pension and super premium life-time healthcare benefits, another “Katehi” will just take her place.  That is the way cartels work.

    1. Napoleon Pig IV

      Frankly,

      Excellent analysis!

      Short of a massive plague or foreign invasion, what can be worse than a presidential election choice of Hillary or Donald?

      UC used to be a great institution. But, there also used to be great libraries in Timbuktu and in Alexandria.

  7. Barack Palin

    If Katehi is being forced out then Big Sis should also have to go if she rubber stamped Katehi’s side jobs.  Otherwise Katehi is being roasted for something that was deemed acceptable by her higher ups.

    1. Barack Palin

      It looks like you’re right, Katehi had submitted paperwork but hadn’t received an answer yet.   I’ve always thought the more egregious one was the Wiley and Sons textbook maker position.  So are you saying the DeVry one is what’s getting her possibly fired and that the textbook one was okay?  Big Sis knew about the Wiley and Sons position.

      On Wednesday, Napolitano said that Katehi’s paid board seat with Wiley & Sons was approved by the Office of the President before Napolitano’s tenure began in 2013. But the UC president said she became aware of the appointment through annual reviews and doesn’t consider it a conflict of interest.

      http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article65110317.html

      Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article65110317.html#storylink=cpy

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