Controversy not an unfamiliar companion for UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi
A second state legislator has called on UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi to step down, citing reports in The Sacramento Bee that she served on corporate boards and received outside pay.
Assemblyman Evan Low, D-Campbell, a member of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee, issued a written statement earlier this week calling for her to step down.
“Recent revelations show that Chancellor Katehi has received an outside compensation of $420,000 on top of her already hefty taxpayer-funded executive pay,” Low said in the statement issued Tuesday. “She was also engaged with a board that is being investigated for false claims regarding their students’ success.
“Her personal interests and financial gains have strayed away from the interests and mission of the University and its students. I join my colleague Assemblymember Kevin McCarty in calling on Chancellor Katehi to resign from UC Davis. These activities are distracting her from her role as chancellor and could further damage the name and image of the University.”
McCarty, D-Sacramento, chairman of the Assembly budget subcommittee overseeing education finance, called for her to resign last week after revelations in The Bee that Katehi had agreed to join the board of the for-profit DeVry Education Group without prior approval from UC President Janet Napolitano.
DeVry is being sued by the Federal Trade Commission for allegedly inflating its job placement statistics, and Napolitano said Wednesday that position was not an appropriate one for Katehi to have accepted.
Katehi also has been criticized for serving as a paid member of the board of John Wiley & Sons during the 2012-2014 fiscal years, earning $420,000.
Katehi since has apologized, resigned from DeVry and donated $200,000 in Wiley & Sons stock to student scholarships.
The San Francisco Chronicle editorial board called Thursday for Katehi’s departure, while the Los Angeles Daily News editorial board wrote Tuesday it “wouldn’t be sorry to see her resign or be removed.” The chancellor also finds herself the subject of a planned “Fire Katehi” rally by a student group at the campus on Friday.
Katehi has sparked controversy since she was named to the UC Davis post in 2009, and in 2011 weathered a firestorm of criticism over campus police pepper-spraying students during a peaceful tuition protest on campus.
Napolitano said in an interview Wednesday with The Bee that she supports the chancellor.
“When you look at the performance of Davis academically, when you look at it competitively, when you look at money raised, all the kinds of things that benefit a campus, she’s been a very good and effective leader,” Napolitano said. “So the question is, to me, what is the proportional punishment that’s right in this circumstance?
“And is having a chancellor who’s overall doing a very good job resign in the middle of the school year, who does that really hurt? I think in the end it will hurt Davis, I think it will hurt the campus. And I want to work with her to prevent this from occurring, for sure, but also on accomplishing the very beneficial plans she has underway for the campus.”