U.S. university head sent on leave over claim she quashed bad publicity

The chancellor of the University of California, Davis was placed on administrative leave on Wednesday over claims the school spent $175,000 to quash negative Internet posts.

University of California president Janet Napolitano said she would investigate whether the chancellor, Linda Katehi, violated school policies.

“I am deeply disappointed to take this action,” she said in a statement.

Katehi has come under scrutiny since the Sacramento Bee published documents on April 13 it said showed the university paid consultants at least $175,000 to quash negative posts about the school, and her after campus police pepper-sprayed student protesters in 2011.

Katehi, who has not commented on the newspaper report, has also faced questions over her acceptance of paid seats on the boards of DeVry Education Group and textbook publisher John Wiley Sons.

A number of state legislators have asked her to resign.

Napolitano said an independent investigator would look into the school’s employment of some of Katehi’s family members, Katehi’s accounts of her involvement in contracts related to managing of both the campus and her personal reputation on social media, and the use of student fees. 

“The serious and troubling nature of these questions, as well as the initial evidence, requires a rigorous and transparent investigation,” Napolitano said.

In March, Katehi, who has been chancellor since 2009, apologized in a letter to students for her role at DeVry, saying it violated UC policy and that she had resigned the seat.

She said her time between 2011 and 2014 on the board of John Wiley Sons, however, did comply with university policy.

About 33,000 students attend the university in Davis, about 15 miles (25 km) west of Sacramento.

(Reporting by Brendan O’Brien in Milwaukee; editing by John Stonestreet)

comments powered by Disqus