Katehi violates UC policy, fails to disclose corporate board positions
UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi came under fire last week when the Sacramento Bee reported that she had accepted board positions at dubious corporations during her time as chancellor. In February, Katehi took a board position at DeVry Education Group, a for-profit company that offers college degrees. DeVry is currently under federal scrutiny for “allegedly exaggerating job placement and income statistics,” according to the Bee’s report. UC spokeswoman Dianne Klein has said that Katehi accepted the DeVry board seat without UC permission, which is a violation of policy. The DeVry board position pays $70,000 annually. The chancellor must be held accountable for her actions.
In addition to her position on the DeVry board, from which she resigned on March 1, Katehi also served as board member for John Wiley & Sons, a publisher of textbooks, college materials and scholarly journals, from 2012-2014, according to the Bee’s report. During her time at Wiley & Sons, Katehi received $420,000 in pay and stock.
In light of these reports, there has been widespread discontent across the state. On March 4, Assemblyman Kevin McCarty (D-Sacramento), who heads the budget subcommittee on education finance, called for Katehi’s resignation. Assemblyman Evan Low (D-Campbell), a member of the Assembly’s Higher Education Committee, has also called for Katehi to step down. This Friday, March 11, the UC Student Workers Union at Davis is hosting a “Fire Katehi” rally at the Memorial Union.
Acknowledging mistakes after they have been made is not enough. Katehi earns $424,360 a year as chancellor of UC Davis. She should focus her energy on making UC Davis a stronger, more inclusive, more cost-effective campus, not moonlighting on corporate boards. Additionally, Katehi’s activities present a clear conflict-of-interest. As chancellor, her job is to advocate for the UC Davis student body, one currently facing heavy debt as a result of staggering tuition and textbook costs. How is serving as a board member for a textbook company, which makes its profit on high textbook prices, advocating for UC Davis students?
The chancellor has attempted to mitigate the outcry over her paid board seats by pledging to give $200,000 (the value of her Wiley & Sons stock) to a scholarship fund for UC Davis students. While this move might be smart from a public relations standpoint, the Editorial Board would feel much more comfortable with the chancellor seeking to establish funds and revenue streams for UC Davis services on her own, not just when she is pressured or playing damage-control.
Katehi can begin to regain the trust of the UC Davis campus by becoming more transparent. The student body deserves to know which outside boards or corporations the chancellor is making or has made money from, considering that many of us, our parents and our families are paying taxes to fund the chancellor’s already-exorbitant salary (and house).