Katehi’s Resignation Letter

Chancellor Linda Katehi in February
Chancellor Linda Katehi in February

Letter from Chancellor Linda Katehi

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 principal allegations from April 27, 2016, cover three separate areas: (1) nepotism, (2) alleged misuse of student fee income and (3) communications as between myself and the President concerning my role in or knowledge of social media contracts for the campus.


The general allegations concerned whether I had violated UC policies in relation to the education or employment of my son, Erik Tseregounis and my daughter in law, Dr. Emily Prieto.  The report is clear: “[I] did not exercise improper influence over or offer favorable treatment to [my son or daughter in law]1.” I disclosed my family relationships by signing near relative forms, and that “effectively recused [me] from decisions relating to [their] employment2.”

As to my son, Erik, a graduate student, the investigators confirmed that I played no role in bringing him to campus as a graduate student or to influence his eventual employment as a graduate student researcher. They determined that Erik properly reports to faculty members of the UCD Academic Senate, and in fact, those to whom he reported did not even know that he was my son because he uses a different last name.  They specifically found that “no evidence suggested that Dr. Prieto (my daughter in law) exercised oversight of [Erik’s] graduate work, research or compensation3.” I played no role in his education or employment, the setting of his salary or other details of his position and I was properly “walled off from academic and personnel decisions related to [my son] consistent with the near relative agreement4.”

It should be noted that the investigators confirmed that confusion exists as to whether graduate student employment triggers the requirement for execution of near relative disclosure forms.  In fact, in at least one instance the Campus Counsel himself did not believe the disclosure forms were required and, yet, I executed the near-relative disclosure form and in good faith complied with the policy.

As to my daughter in law, Dr. Emily Prieto, the investigators confirmed that she came to the UC Davis campus long before I or my son even knew her. I signed a near-relative disclosure form, likely before one was due, when she became engaged to marry my son.  The investigators confirmed that “nor does any evidence suggest that Chancellor Katehi influenced Dr. Prieto’s career trajectory5.” In fact, I “had no role in selecting Dr. Prieto” and the “investigation team found no evidence that [I] was involved in decisions regarding Dr. Prieto’s promotions and/or salary increases6.” The team also confirmed that her supervisor and others “took steps to honor the near relative agreement and to ensure that the Chancellor was not involved7” in proposed promotions and that in fact I did not discuss my daughter-in-law’s salary or promotions with anyone at UC Davis.

Lastly, the investigation team also confirmed that the UC Board of Regents had approved title and salary changes for my direct report, Dr. Adela de la Torre.  They specifically found “no evidence suggesting that Chancellor Katehi proposed a pay increase and title change for Dr. de la Torre because Dr. de la Torre employed Chancellor Katehi’s daughter-in-law or because Dr. de la Torre advised or employed Chancellor Katehi’s son8”.

As to the allegations of nepotism, I am grateful that the investigation team confirmed my position and the early opinion of the UC Davis Academic Senate that I had not violated nepotism rules, and that in fact, I had followed near-relative policies to disclose my family relationships, and that I had played no role in influencing decisions concerning their education or employment.


The investigators reviewed the allegation of misuse of student fee income regarding fees and athletic programs.  They confirmed their opinion “did not appear to have any involvement in this line-level budgetary decision9”, and, and that there were “no policy violations or management concerns related to the use of SASI revenues10.” In fact, the investigators did not ask me any questions concerning this item, which had apparently been resolved by the campus and the UC in 2014. I am grateful that the investigators confirmed that I did not violate any financial management issues.


During the course of the investigation, the investigators were asked to review my travel expenses. My travel expenses had been audited annually without any material findings and the report specifically mentioned that “There is no evidence of intentional misconduct with respect to Chancellor Katehi’s travel,11” and “it does not appear that Chancellor Katehi personally profited or that UC Davis suffered a financial loss12.”


The investigators found that “There is no evidence that Chancellor Katehi retaliated or threatened retaliation against employees for the cooperation with this investigation or with UCOP13”. Again, I am grateful to the investigation team for these findings.


During the investigation, questions arose both in the media and with the investigation team regarding my commitment to contribute to a UC Davis scholarship from my board service proceeds. When I made a commitment to donate $200,000 to the campus, I had contacted the UC Davis Advancement office and my personal accountants to commence arrangements.  My husband and I have created five different scholarships at UC Davis, UCLA and the University of Illinois. I have every intention of proceeding with a gift to the university to benefit students.


The investigation team was later asked to comment on my outside board service.  My commitment to serve on boards of directors aims at improving higher education opportunities for students. I have attempted to assess each opportunity with the assistance of others on campus or in the greater community, to ensure the time invested parallels the goals of the campus. I regret that my decision in relation to the De Vry board created concerns about my dedication to this campus. I have accepted this mistake and I have apologized for it.


Regarding the social media contracts, the investigation team felt that I had minimized my knowledge of or role in the contracts and that my statements were “misleading, at best, or untruthful, at worst14”, apparently not reaching a conclusion on that issue.  I have never intended to mislead the President or anyone concerning my knowledge or role in these contracts.  In fact, at the recommendation of UC Davis Foundation leaders, the campus sought to retain social media contractors.  Many, including myself, sought referrals to vendors to assist us with social media projects. There were three vendors, many contracts, and several different objectives, including primarily improving the image of the campus, enhancing social media as a strategic vision for learning and creating a Digital Acceleration Lab for the campus, a first of its kind center for an American university.  I believe the contracts, the number of vendors and the interest by the media and the community cause some confusion regarding the objectives of these efforts and my participation in them.  The investigation team found “no evidence that Chancellor Katehi was personally involved in the negotiation of the Nevins Contract, nor any evidence that [I] discussed the contract language.15

They also found that “because the Chancellor’s reputation was so intertwined with that of UC Davis, the work does not appear to amount to a misuse of University resources16.” This finding is significant to the extent anyone believes that the contracts were aimed at improving my reputation and not that of the campus.

They also found that “consistent with Chancellor Katehi’s representations, … the evidence indicates that the consultants did not aim to “erase” or “rewrite” history.  Instead…the contracts generally aimed to improve the reputation of the University and the Chancellor by producing positive content17.” This finding is significant given that some have erroneously believed that the contracts were aimed at scrubbing the internet from negative stories about me or the campus.

All in all, I am grateful for the work of the investigation team in exonerating me in 5 of the 7 items which they ultimately investigated.  It has been very important for me that the investigation team conduct this investigation and confirm that I did not violate policies that are central to the mission of the academy and to my family, namely the issues of nepotism, conflicts, financial management or personal gain.  The other two issues concern unintentional misunderstandings between me and President Napolitano, and it remains my hope that over time these differences will be resolved.  I am grateful that there are no material findings regarding nepotism, conflicts, financial mismanagement or personal gain, and that I may continue to work hard within the academic mission knowing that my integrity has been exonerated on these issues.

It has been my privilege to serve the UC Davis campus as its Chancellor for the past 7 years. During my tenure as Chancellor I was blessed to be surrounded by hard working and committed colleagues who have helped us raise over $1.13 billion for the campus from wonderful friends and alumni, with a new record this year of $226 million, to help us grow and expand programs, increase diversity at all levels of the campus, and promote new exciting and promising academic and cultural activities for the campus.  I am very proud that our campus has been able to provide free access to education to more than 55% of its undergraduate students, while at the same time it has become one of the top public Universities in the county and around the world and, according to Forbes, in 2016, the first university in the US in terms of the number of women in STEM field.

I attempted to create an aggressive vision of a global university, one which supports faculty development and academic programs, innovation and economic development while it always has at its center the advancement of students. I am proud of your many accomplishments.

I always viewed administration as a service to the academic community. A role we all may play if there is a call for it. I am thankful to all for your support and critique, for your vision about UC Davis and for your efforts to make a difference. As with all service positions, a time comes when we aspire to go back to where our roots are. Being an academic who loves teaching, and seeks to always innovate, I am very happy to go back to what I always have aspired to be, a faculty member. It is true that the past few months have been very difficult for the campus and my family the two things I have loved the most. As a result, at this time, and for the benefit of our campus and my family, I have decided to resign my position as Chancellor and to assume my role as a tenured faculty member with the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering and with the Interdisciplinary Program of Gender, Sexuality and Women Studies.  I am forever grateful to the many who have supported me as Chancellor, or as a colleague, in addition to the many members of the UC Davis Foundation Board, Alumni Board and members of the Davis and greater Sacramento community. I believe in the vision of UC Davis, and I look forward to doing my best to support the campus now and in the future.

About The Author

Disclaimer: the views expressed by guest writers are strictly those of the author and may not reflect the views of the Vanguard, its editor, or its editorial board.

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  1. Marina Kalugin

    I was extremely saddened to hear this horrible “news”….  I first met you, Linda Katehi,  when you first arrived and held a staff meet and greet, and I handed you my card hoping we would stay in touch..

    The campus was in awe that someone of your caliber would grace our campus and that we finally had a leader with true world renown….an a woman and someone who was an engineer and who holds so many patents and a true researcher and innovator…

    The whole package and such a wonderful caring person.

    I am so sorry that Napolitano wore you down but I can only imagine the stress you had been under.

    As the campus faculty, Academic Senate, Administrators, other leaders and managers, rallied around and attempted to right the wrongs and illegal actions of Janet Napolitano, who continues to breach the policies of this land grant institution, and who seems to think she can still bully people into submission as she did as the Head of Homeland Security and after what she did to Ed Snowden on the NSA matter,  I am aghast that she got her way…

    As I told Emily, who is a dear old friend from when I worked at EVE, and was on the committee wih the MSO at the time, who hired that bright and truly caring recent UCD graduate for a position as “undergrad advisor”… that I truly hope you would return, and I would volunteer in your office to help with anything you need.

    As you are aware, EVE is a tiny program and yet Emily instated many useful programs to attempt to increase student numbers…and then, she decided to work on her PhD while working half-time….the MSO and I thought that was a terrific idea…….Not long after I was invited to apply for the Manager position at then Microbiology and simultaneously as the Manager of the Center for Development and Development…   Emily actually coached me on how to interview, as I had not interviewed nor applied for a job in many years….

    I have been in that role for more than 12 years now…more than 8 year past my first “reported” retirement date…

    I had no idea that Emily married your son….until 2 weeks before the SHTF  so to speak….and I only read about it in the DE…..

    I knew Emily returned to UCD after some years working in a college in the midwest, as I ran into her on campus a few times….but I totally missed that.

    Emily became a good friend of my son, an Engineering major, when he couldn’t get proper advising at COE during those years…and she and I were good friends…and so on.

    I was so horrified about so many things that were going on, that I sent a letter to the DE, not long before this fateful day…

    and, there is way more to all of these stories.

    I put my foot down and truly did what I could to right these wrongs…

    I took it personally, as Emilly, who is now your daughter-in-law tried to help my son when no-one else could or would.

    Of course, now that you are not coming back, I will simply retire….I have been on leave for a few weeks….but, now I don’t see why I would want to work in the Chancellor’s office and help to correct some things there, which I have become painfully aware of.

    My replacement has been hired at Microbiology and Molecular Genetics, so I cannot really go back…

    Nor, do I want to….it was time for me to move on anyway.

    For those shills on this DV site, perhaps they may understand what I go through for friends and family…always have and always will.

    If I can be of any service to you, in any capacity, please let me know.

    Truly, you were the best Chancellor, and I have known all of them and worked closely with all of them since I arrived in 1970 as a freshman…

    My life has revolved around UCD and education ever since…

    The union moles who led the protests and so on,   those who snitched to the Napolitano and shared confidential information to her and the media… those names I will not reveal, except to mention that the list includes the current police chief, Matt Carmichael, who I thought was a friend of mine and yours…….  don’t yet understand who you are and what you did and why…

    Some may get it some time..

    Others will stay satisfied that their “job” was done…and yet, they have had wide ranging and devastating effects on this campus, UC, the state and so on….it personally affected me, my department and the CBS Dean search also…which I also take extremely personally…

    Marina Kalugin (Rumiansev)


  2. Jerry Waszczuk

    UC Davis drops big plan for Sacramento with Katehi’s departure



    The resignation of Linda Katehi as chancellor of UC Davis effectively ended efforts to make the university’s World Food Center the centerpiece of a third campus, possibly in Sacramento’s downtown railyard.
    World Food Center spokesman Brad Hooker confirmed that the university was not pursuing such a plan, announced by Katehi in 2014. “No one is working on it,” he said.

    Hector Amezcua hamezcua@sacbee.com

    In fact, Hooker said, the World Food Center is planning to move to another space on the existing UC Davis campus.

    Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article116468138.html#storylink=cpy

  3. Jerry Waszczuk

    Former UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi in line to become feminist institute leader



    Former UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi is in position to lead the school’s Feminist Research Institute.
    The program, established in 2015, funds and promotes the study of how gender, sexuality, race and other social structures affect research, according to itswebsite.
    The Feminist Research Institute board filed a request in November to name Katehi its new director, said UC Davis spokeswoman Dana Topousis. The decision will be made by interim Vice Chancellor for Research Cameron S. Carter and isn’t likely to happen until next year, she said.


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