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Saturday, October 23, 2021

Letters to the Editor

Audit story misled

The California Aggie is an important source of information for students, faculty and staff at UC Davis, so it was distressing to see so much misinformation presented as facts in the story about the state audit of the University of California (Feb. 1).

The UC system is not under state investigation. An audit is not an investigation.

The university has cooperated fully with the nonpartisan Bureau of State Audits. Because of the complex nature and vast scale of its mission – 10 major campuses, world-class research facilities and five medical centers – the university already complies with myriad federal, state and local regulatory agencies. We open our books routinely for financial and programmatic reviews and audits.

We have nothing to hide and nothing to fear from this audit, which was approved nearly a year ago and reported on by news media. It has, however, imposed unnecessary costs and demands on staff time, even though UC is arguably the most audited and reviewed entity in California.

What is most troubling about The Aggie story is the unquestioning acceptance of the mean-spirited, unfounded claims of misconduct from a functionary in the office of state Sen. Leland Yee.

Adam Keigwin, Yee’s chief of staff, is cited as the source for allegations of conflicts of interest involving UC investments.

The truth is that the UC Regents’ conflict-of-interest policy – stricter than required by law, regulations or other pension funds – prohibits individual regents or members of the Regents’ Investment Advisory Group from offering advice or recommendations to the Treasurer’s Office regarding selection of investments or investment managers. The Treasurer’s Office makes decisions about specific investments, investment managers or investment management firms, and hires outside managers to choose individual equity investments. The regents’ role is limited to approving policy, asset allocation, benchmarks, risk budgets and guidelines.

There is no conflict of interest, and processes are in place to assure that, if there were, it would be handled appropriately. To report otherwise needlessly tarnishes the reputations of honorable people, whether they are UC employees or the regents, who perform public service as unpaid volunteers.

To suggest in the story that the audit might reveal fraudulent behavior, as Keigwin is allowed to do through innuendo, is irresponsible and disrespectful of the truth.

Transparency is critical to UC’s operations, and it has been a major thrust of President Mark Yudof’s tenure. Transparency is this institution’s best defense against misinformation. The more Californians understand UC and all that it does – not just for its more than 230,000 students, but for the entire state – the more likely they are to help us make the case for reversing the state’s disinvestment in higher education. A wealth of information about UC, including detailed financial summaries and audit reports, is publicly available via www.ucop.edu.

But transparency itself does not provide a defense against irresponsible untruths. We hope The California Aggie will be more vigilant – and consider the source – in future stories.

STEVE MONTIEL

Media relations representative

UC Office of the President

Stand with democracy

Dear President Obama,

“Those who make peaceful revolution impossible will make violent revolution inevitable.” These are the unforgettable words of President John F. Kennedy speaking from the White House in 1962.

For 30 years now, the people of Egypt have suffered oppression, humiliation, rigged elections, political persecution, torture and “emergency law.” For 30 years, every request for political reform and chances for a better future ? the current regime met with indifference. It was always said to us, “You cannot ‘afford’ democracy, you would not understand it and you do not deserve it.”

More than half the population of Egypt is under 30 years old. Most have never seen or known any other president or system of rule. Thus, it would seem that the status quo could go on undisturbed. Many people taking part in this revolution never knew what it means to live free or to have hope. Yet, amazingly, they discovered hope, and now they demand it. What our people ask for is no different from what any American expects and takes for granted. We want to live free. We want a better future.

Mr. President, the people of Egypt have broken through the barrier of fear. They realize that continuing Mubarak’s regime or being killed by his bullets represent the same conditions. They would rather give their lives to be free.

Mr. President, you have a moral choice of two options: (a) to maintain “business as usual” and continue U.S. support of the current despotic regime ruling Egypt, or (b) to come out and say it, honestly and clearly: Mubarak and his regime must go. The Egyptian people demand to live free and to thrive under a true democracy.

Please go online to sign a petition to President Obama:

http://www.change.org/petitions/president-obama-the-right-side-of-history-is-with-democracy-not-mubarak

AHMED AHMEDIN

Graduate student, electrical and computer engineering

AYMAN NAGUIB

Director of Engineering

Qualcomm, Inc.

HESHAM EL GAMAL

Ohio State University

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