University of California at Davis chancellor resigns after ethics probe

DAVIS, Calif., Aug. 9 (UPI) — The chancellor of University of California at Davis resigned Tuesday following the results of a probe accusing her of multiple ethics violations.

Chancellor Linda Katehi was the subject of a three-month investigation by the Davis Academic Senate on accusations of misuse of university money, nepotism, and lying about her role in manipulating the university’s image on social media.

The probe was ordered by UC President Janet Napolitano in April and while investigators cleared Katehi of the allegations, Napolitano said the probe “found numerous instances where Chancellor Katehi was not candid, either with me, the press, or the public, that she exercised poor judgment, and violated multiple university policies.”

Napolitano continued, “In these circumstances, Chancellor Katehi has now offered to resign, and I have accepted that resignation.”

However, Katehi will stay with the university as chancellor emeritus and a university faculty member, ending a seven-year tenure in which the university became known as one of the top in the country.

“Linda Katehi and her family have been exonerated from baseless accusations of nepotism, conflicts of interest, financial management and personal gain, just as we predicted and as the UC Davis Academic Senate found within days of this leave,” Katehi’s attorney, Melinda Guzman said.

Katehi, the Greek immigrant and highly respected engineer, and Napolitano, the former governor of Arizona and secretary of Homeland Security, had sparred publicly for months despite Katehi raising $1 billion for the university and raising the university’s profile with bigger research projects and better diversity.

But her handling of a incident where campus police pepper sprayed protesting students in 2011 was roundly criticized, and later reports on her efforts to hire social media firms to bury references of the incident on the Internet worsened her situation.

Despite Katehi never asking permission to accept the position, Napolitano originally defended Katehi for taking a $70,000-a-year seat on the DeVry Education Group board — a for-profit education company that is being investigated for fraud — as relatively common for university senior staff.

Further reporting by the Sacramento Bee likely doomed Katehi’s job when it was revealed she also received about $420,000 for also being on the board of a textbook publisher.

Katehi said in a statement after Napolitano accepted her resignation, “a time comes when we aspire to go back to where our roots are.”

“Being an academic who loves teaching, and seeks to always innovate,” she wrote, “I am very happy to go back to what I always have aspired to be, a faculty member.”


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