Education

Katehi’s fate as UC Davis chancellor could be decided at special regents meeting Thursday

A group of UC Davis students, aiming to see Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi fired, occupy the area outside her office in March on the fifth floor of Mrak Hall. The group occupied the area beginning March 11, even sleeping there over their spring break.
A group of UC Davis students, aiming to see Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi fired, occupy the area outside her office in March on the fifth floor of Mrak Hall. The group occupied the area beginning March 11, even sleeping there over their spring break. Sacramento Bee file

In what may signal a decision on the future of UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, the University of California Board of Regents has scheduled a special meeting Thursday to discuss a “personnel matter, Davis Campus.”

The meeting, to be held at UC San Diego at 2:30 p.m., is closed and will be attended by regents only, according to an agenda item posted late Monday.

UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein would not say whether the special meeting was about Katehi. The session is billed as a “special meeting,” although the Health Services, and Governance and Compensation committees were already going to meet that day.

Katehi’s personal spokesman, Larry Kamer, said he did not know anything about the meeting.

The session follows months of investigation by the office of UC President Janet Napolitano, who suspended Katehi on April 27, citing allegations that the chancellor engaged in nepotism and misused student funds. Napolitano also said she was concerned that Katehi had made “material misstatements” to the UC president and the media over her role in hiring firms to clean up the online image of UC Davis and herself.

A probe headed by former U.S. attorneys Melinda Haag and McGregor Scott was to be completed by Aug. 1 and delivered to Napolitano to determine Katehi’s future as chancellor at UC Davis, where she has served since 2009.

Katehi’s suspension came after a series of revelations in The Sacramento Bee regarding her acceptance of a board seat with DeVry Education Group, the spending of $175,000 to hire two firms to scrub the internet of negative postings about Katehi and the campus, and her role as a board member of the textbook publisher John Wiley & Sons.

Students upset over the revelations occupied the lobby outside Katehi’s office in a five-week sit-in that spurred several calls by lawmakers and others for Katehi to resign.

Napolitano remained a steadfast backer of the chancellor until late April, when she summoned Katehi to her Oakland offices and demanded she resign. Katehi refused to quit. She hired an attorney and spokesman who have since waged a public relations battle with Napolitano’s office.

Newly released documents show how UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi's aides scrambled to respond to the public relations crisis that engulfed her administration earlier this year. Katehi was suspended in April pending the outcome of a UC inves

Last week, The Sacramento Bee revealed Katehi had charged $174,000 in travel expenses to the University of California between December 2010 and February 2016. She flew first class, hired tour guides, took limousines and made numerous expensive travel changes during trips to Chile, Dubai, France, Austria, Switzerland, China, Mexico, Brazil, Cyprus, Germany, Italy, Greece and U.S. cities to attend conferences and woo donors, according to university records.

Katehi earns $424,360 a year as chancellor of UC Davis. Since she was suspended 103 days ago, Katehi has earned about $120,000 and has continued to enjoy the use of a 7,779-square-foot residence near the university.

New documents obtained by The Sacramento Bee show UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi billed the University of California for first class flights, guided, tours, expensive hotel rooms and limousines. Katehi has been on paid administrative leave. An o

Diana Lambert: 916-321-1090, @dianalambert

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