Amid criticism of her administrative and executive decisions, UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi has been placed on investigatory administrative leave, according to a statement released Wednesday from the UC Office of the President.
UC President Janet Napolitano, with the support of the UC Board of Regents, plans to appoint an independent investigator to look into Katehi’s actions as chancellor. A report on this investigation is set to be submitted before the start of the 2016-17 academic year.
“I am deeply disappointed to take this action,” said Napolitano in an email. “But Davis is a strong campus, nationally and internationally renowned in many academic disciplines. I’m confident of the campus’s continued ability to thrive and serve California students and the Davis community.”
In November 2011, police pepper-sprayed protesting UC Davis students during Katehi’s tenure as chancellor. The Sacramento Bee reported April 13 that UC Davis administration spent at least $175,000 on consultants to dilute search results concerning the event.
Katehi defended her decisions in a statement released April 18, saying that she hired firms specializing in search engine optimization in order to offer a complete picture of the UC Davis campus for potential donors and to show its “extraordinary achievements.”
The UCOP statement also explains that recent events have raised questions about UC Davis’ employment of Katehi’s family members and the improper management of student fees.
Katehi faces additional controversy surrounding possible conflicts of interest concerning her service on the boards of for-profit corporations DeVry Education Group and John Wiley and Sons, which publishes textbooks.
UC Davis students occupied the floor where Katehi’s office is located for more than 35 days in protest of her actions. The UC Student Association also voted to demand her resignation at its April 15 meeting.
“We represent 240,000 students who expect a pattern of principled leadership,” said UCSA President Kevin Sabo in an email. “We applaud President Napolitano’s decisive action and commend her for standing with students.”
UC Davis Provost Ralph Hexter will act as chancellor in Katehi’s absence.