Linda P.B. Katehi survived as chancellor of the University of California at Davis after an incident in 2011 where campus police used pepper spray against students engaged in a non-violent protest. And she survived other controversies in the years since -- even as some students and faculty members demanded her ouster................
But on Wednesday evening, she was placed on administrative leave, in part over allegations that haven't been the dominant issues for those demanding her ouster.
Janet Napolitano, the president of the University of California system, placed Katehi on leave, citing possible "serious violations" of university policy with regard to conflict of interest and the employment of family members. A letter from Napolitano to Katehi said that the chancellor's daughter-in-law has received "promotions and salary increases over a two-and-a-half year period that have increased her pay by over $50,000 and have resulted in several title changes. During that same period, you put forward a pay increase of over 20 percent and a title change for your daughter-in-law's supervisor."
Further, Napolitano's letter said, the academic program that employs Katehi's son has been moved into the department where her daughter-in-law works, and "placed under her direct supervision."
The letter said that it "does not appear that appropriate steps were taken to address, document or obtain approval for the fact that your son now reported to your daughter-in-law, who, in turn, was supervised by one of your direct reports." An independent investigation will now be launched, Napolitano said.
And it appears Katehi will continue to fight for her job. A statement released by her lawyer, Melinda Guzman, said: “Tonight’s action is disappointing, unprecedented and, based on the facts, entirely unjustified.... This smacks of scapegoating and a rush to judgment driven purely by political optics, not the best interests of the university or the UC system as a whole."If Katehi loses her job, though, the ostensible reason will not be for attacks on her students by her police force, or her attempts to erase those attacks from the public memory, but for plain vanilla nepotism.