Respectful student involvement critical
After initially expressing support for UC Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, University of California (UC) President Janet Napolitano announced April 27 that Katehi was placed on a 90-day paid investigative administrative leave.
Napolitano’s change of heart came after a series of suspicious events were brought to light, including Katehi accepting a paid position on the board of DeVry Education Group, the allocation of at least $175,000 to improve UC Davis web search results and, most recently, questions regarding the chancellor’s employment of immediate family members. The investigation will be carried out by a third-party group to determine which, if any, university policies were violated. During her leave, the chancellor’s position will be filled by Acting Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter, who was previously UC Davis provost.
The Editorial Board appreciates the precautionary action taken by the UC in investigating decisions made behind the doors of Mrak Hall. As a top research university, UC Davis must be managed by trustworthy administrators who take students’ best interests to heart.
UC Davis students have played an active and vital role in bringing awareness to the chancellor’s actions. On March 11, the student Fire Katehi group began a sit-in on the fifth floor of Mrak Hall, calling for the chancellor’s resignation. The protesters left Mrak on April 15 and have since organized additional demonstrations, continuing to elevate the issue.
It is only fair that the investigation progresses transparently, avoiding suspicious actions similar to those it is reviewing. As the investigation commences, students should remain informed and continue to take interest in campus events.
In the event that Katehi is dismissed from her position, we hope that student involvement is welcomed in the process of appointing a new chancellor. Student committees and other forms of respectful involvement can add to increased productivity and avoid disruptive behavior.
With the year coming to a close and many students preparing for graduation, it is necessary for the administrative drama to remain separate from the university’s educational goals. The Editorial Board hopes that the investigation of Chancellor Katehi and the oversight of Acting Chancellor Hexter operate seamlessly, prioritizing the university’s core academic values and avoiding further interruptions.