UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has resigned following an ethics probe investigating whether she potentially violated nepotism rules, misused student funds and misled administrators about her role in a social media scrub.
Katehi drew criticism in 2011 when campus police used pepper spray on student protestors. She said she shared the students’ “outrage” at the incident, but was blamed by many for allowing it to happen. This year, the controversy was stoked again by a Sacramento Bee report saying the school had spent $175,000 to hire a PR firm to scrub images of the pepper spray incident from social media. UC President Janet Napolitano initiated an investigation into whether Katehi really had authorized school funds for the PR engagement, and whether she had also violated nepotism rules by hiring and promoting her son and daughter-in-law, the L.A. Times reports. Napolitano placed Katehi on administrative leave in April.
Katehi announced her resignation on Tuesday via her lawyer, Melinda Guzman, who said “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.”
But a statement from Napolitano paints a different picture. “The investigation is now concluded, and it 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 wrote. “In these circumstances, Chancellor Katehi has now offered to resign, and I have accepted that resignation.”
Katehi “will transition to becoming a full-time faculty member in accordance with the terms of her pre-existing contract,” Napolitano wrote, and a search will begin for her replacement as chancellor.