Chancellor placed on leave after multiple controversies at UC-Davis

Investigators will look into hiring, contracts, and use of fees

Janet Napolitano, president of the University of California (UC) system, placed UC-Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi on administrative leave Wednesday night, pending an investigation into several issues.

Three areas to investigate

In her statement, Napolitano cited three areas where investigators will look into "serious questions" about Katehi's actions: potentially hiring family members for campus jobs, misusing revenue from student fees, and misleading UC leaders and the public about her role in certain social media contracts.

Napolitano said that Katehi's daughter-in-law, a UC-Davis administrator, received promotions and pay increases totaling more than $50,000 over 2.5 years. Katehi's daughter-in-law also reports to one of Katehi's direct employees and oversees a research program that employs Katehi's son.

In addition, Napolitano said Katehi may have made "material misstatements" when claiming to have no knowledge that UC-Davis administrators contracted with a consulting firm to clean up the school's reputation after a video showing a campus police officer pepper spraying students went viral in 2009. Napolitano says she learned of evidence that Katehi had several "interactions" with one consultant multiple times and attempted to schedule meetings with others.

Finally, Napolitano said she has received complaints that student fees have been used for "unapproved instructional purposes," but did not elaborate.

"I am deeply disappointed to take this action," wrote Napolitano. "But Davis is a strong campus, nationally and internationally renowned in many academic disciplines. I'm confident of the campus' continued ability to thrive and serve California students and the Davis community."

Separately, Katehi has also faced criticism for accepting paid board positions with DeVry Education and a textbook publisher—although she quickly apologized and resigned from the DeVry position at Napolitano's request.

Katehi "committed" to staying

In an email to the campus Wednesday, Katehi wrote that she is "100 percent committed" to remaining chancellor.

Katehi's attorney, Melinda Guzman, characterized the leave as "disappointing, unprecedented and, based on the facts, entirely unjustified."

Also see: How to develop academic leaders

By Wednesday evening, more than 400 faculty members had signed a petition opposing any further "preemptory action" until the Academic Senate or campus administrators had been consulted (Watanabe, Los Angeles Times, 4/27).


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