Regents retain consultants to investigate alleged UCOP survey interference

Daniel Kim/Senior Staff

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UC Board of Regents has retained a third-party law firm and consultant to investigate the alleged interference with campus surveys by the UC Office of the President in connection to the recent state audit, according to a press release issued by chair Monica Lozano this morning.

Former California Supreme Court Justice Carlos R. Moreno and law firm Hueston Hennigan LLP were announced as the parties responsible to conduct a “fact-finding review of actions undertaken by the Office of the President,” according to the statement.

At its special meeting in May, the Board authorized the retainment of an “independent external law firm or other consultant” to assist a regents working group in reviewing the allegations against UCOP. The working group consists of regents George Kieffer, Bonnie Reiss, John Pérez, Charlene Zettel and Lozano, who also serves as chair.

Moreno served as an associate justice of the California Supreme Court from 2001-11. Moreno started his career as a deputy city attorney in the Los Angeles City Attorney’s office, and served on the United States District Court for the Central District of California prior to serving on the state supreme court.

According to the release, “Justice Moreno will provide expertise in the areas of fact-finding and neutral evaluation, while Brian Hennigan (of Hueston Hennigan LLP) will be the firm’s partner in charge of providing legal services.”

California State Auditor Elaine Howle, in an April 25 audit report of UCOP, raised a series of concerns with UCOP, including an allegation that the office “intentionally interfered” with the state auditor’s efforts to assess the types and quality of services UCOP provided to university campuses.

A set of surveys was originally sent to UC campuses in October 2016 to evaluate services provided by UCOP, according to the state audit report.

“Correspondence between the Office of the President and the campuses shows that the Office of the President inappropriately reviewed campuses’ survey responses, which resulted in campuses making changes to those responses prior to submitting them to us,” Howle alleged in her office’s audit report.

Contact name Audrey McNamara and Bobby Lee at [email protected].