Friday, August 12, 2016

The Scarlet (15-page) Letter

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi decided to step down Tuesday rather than attend an upcoming Board of Regents meeting on her fate after learning that her boss, UC President Janet Napolitano, had already weighed in with a 15-page letter spelling out the reasons she had to go.

Katehi had been expected to appear at a closed-door regents meeting Thursday in San Diego to respond to a 102-page report into whether she had engaged in nepotism, misled Napolitano and misused her office by contracting with firms to plant positive stories about her and UC Davis after the infamous 2011 incident in which campus police pepper-sprayed peaceful protesters.

Napolitano, however, had already delivered her verdict, stating in her letter to the regents that Katehi had repeatedly “exercised poor judgment” and “engaged in a pattern of misrepresentation” to both the president and the public.

Although she acknowledged Katehi’s “numerous achievements” at Davis, Napolitano said she had “lost confidence” in the chancellor and recommended her removal.

“The letter was brutal — there was so much more there than has been seen by the public,” said one regent, who asked not to be named because of the sensitivity of the issue.

Another regent said that although the investigation “didn’t find overwhelming evidence of a terminable offense, the reality is that the relationship was so destroyed that it would be untenable at this point for Katehi to stay on.”

Once she saw the letter, Katehi pulled the plug and killed the meeting.

“She wanted to see the report before she made any decision,” said Larry Kamer, the public relations expert whom Katehi brought in as her spokesman after she was suspended in April.

“She read it over, talked with those close to her, and decided that while she had been cleared of the more serious allegations, it was time to step out of the spotlight and return to teaching, which is what she truly loves,” Kamer said...

Full Matier and Ross column at

Note: The actual letter has not been released to the public, unlike a redacted version of the investigatory report.

No comments: