A motion asking for a vote of no confidence against UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi failed to gain a majority of votes needed to pass, school officials said Friday.
A large majority rejected the motion, with 697 people voting no, or 69 percent of the 1,009 voters. About 37 percent of current and former faculty eligible to vote did so.
Despite the large margin of victory, Friday's results did not mean a clear endorsement for Katehi, her supporters cautioned.
A competing measure calling for a vote of confidence in her leadership did pass, but the resolution also condemned the actions that brought Katehi's leadership under scrutiny: the Nov. 18 pepper-spraying of Occupy UC Davis protesters on the school's campus.
"They rejected the idea of no confidence that's very clear," said Walter Leal, an entomology professor who was the first professor to sign the confidence measure. "They gave some confidence, but they also gave some criticism. She doesn't have a blank check with this vote."
The competing measure received 59 percent of the vote 586 yes votes and 408 no votes.
Aldo Antonelli, a philosophy professor and Katehi critic, said he wasn't surprised by Friday's results.
More professors work in fields that have benefited from her leadership those in agriculture, engineering and veterinarian medicine than in the humanities, which has suffered under her leadership, he said.
While the pepper-spraying incident brought her leadership to a vote, critics say her problems go deeper.
As state funding is cut, UC Davis, like other UC campuses, has pursued higher tuition from out-of-state students, private donations, and federal and corporate research grants.
Critics say that has meant the "privatization" of the state school, while supporters say her approach is moving the school forward.
It's unclear what effect, if any, a vote of no confidence would have had on her tenure.
The vote was nonbinding, and officials at the University of California could not recall a time when a no confidence vote has been approved on any UC campuses.
The only vote questioning the confidence of a UC chancellor in recent memory took place at the Davis campus six years ago, UC officials said, who added they couldn't remember another such vote.
The vote against former Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef failed, 734 to 320, with about 40 percent of eligible members of the Academic Senate voting.
A UC Davis spokeswoman did not respond to requests from The Bee for a comment from Katehi.