For now, embattled Chancellor Linda Katehi has been removed from her post at UC Davis, where scores of student activists have demanded her ouster in recent months.
Some critics lost faith in Chancellor Katehi in 2011, when she presided over the brutal pepper-spraying of Davis undergraduates lawfully assembled on a campus quad. Others fault her for a costly, ill-conceived attempt to scrub the incident from Web searches. Still others say she ignored a clear conflict of interest when taking a lucrative position on the board of a company that publishes college textbooks.
Until this week, University of California President Janet Napolitano had publicly stood by her subordinate, even as members of the state legislature called on Katehi to resign. But Wednesday, Napolitano placed Katehi on 90 days paid leave while ordering an investigation into her conduct. Put another way, Californians will pay Katehi roughly $106,000 in salary to fulfill zero responsibilities for three months while investigators figure out whether she should be fired. Katehi earns $424,360 per year.
The letter informing Katehi that she’s being placed on leave airs several new allegations against her:
- “First, questions have been raised about the employment of some members of your family, including whether employment actions related to your daughter-in-law and son violate University conflict-of-interest policies and requirements related to the employment of near relatives. Your daughter-in-law, who directly reports to one of your direct reports, has received promotions and salary increases over a two-and-a- half year period that have increased her pay by over $50,000 and have resulted in several title changes.”
- “During that same period, you put forward a pay increase of over 20% and a title change for your daughter-in-law’s supervisor.”
- “More recently, it appears not only that the academic program in which your son holds a paid research position was moved into the same department in which your daughter-in-law is employed, but also that the program was placed under her direct supervision. It does not appear that appropriate steps were taken to address, document or obtain approval for the fact that your son now reported to your daughter in-law, who, in turn, was supervised by one of your direct reports.”
- “The independent investigation also will determine whether the employment status of your daughter-in-law with respect to supervising the research center that employed your son violated requirements regarding the proper use of Student Service Fee revenue. See Regents Policy 3101 — University of California Student Fee Policy and implementing guidelines. You have verbally assured me that all matters relating to the employment of your husband, son and daughter-in-law have been consistent with policies and procedures, but documents and other information appear contrary to that assurance.”