Written by David Greenwald Thursday, 18 June 2009 05:14
As a result of the Vanguard article on Monday, the University released an email from the incoming Chancellor sent on Friday in which she responded for the first time questions first posed last week by the Sacramento Bee.
She went on to directly argue that she was "not involved in the admissions decisions that were the subject of the Tribune's "Clout Goes to College" investigation."
Moreover, "Because of the governmental relations aspect and the involvement of University of Illinois System trustees, the so-called “Category I” admissions process was not part of the regular admissions system and was handled at a higher level in the institution."
Senator Leland Yee has expressed concern about Chancellor Katehi's involvement:
“The students and taxpayers of California deserve to know the level of Ms. Katehi’s involvement in this scandal. It is very disturbing that such corruption happened under her watch and that she has been less than forthcoming in responding to these charges. There needs to be accountability.”Further examination of the Chicago Tribune website, casts doubt on the incoming Chancellor's explanation that these issues were "handled at a higher level in the institution."
Indeed the Vanguard has now uncovered emails on the Chicago Tribune site that shows her direct-line subordinate making these decisions to admit students with scores and grades that should have been too low for consideration.
Here is a student put on the wait list at the behest of Keith Marshall, associate provost for enrollment, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign who instructs admissions officer Abel Montoya:
"Put [redacted] on the waitlist. ... I know he's very low at Benet, but those are the orders."
Who is Keith Marshall?
According to his website:
"Keith Marshall is the Associate Provost for Enrollment Management with responsibility for the campus' enrollment management strategy, including oversight of the Office of Admissions and Records and the Office of Student Financial Aid."His boss is Provost Linda Katehi.
In fact this was not the only email showing Keith Marshall's involvement.
Here is a Category I student who is admitted ahead of more qualified students. "Keith Marshall, associate provost for enrollment management, instructs the admissions office to accept a student after trustee Robert Sperling checks on the applicant's status."
According to the email:
"... He has a (redacted) ACT and is (redacted) percentile at Stevenson. He would be another good candidate for June. ... Hope we don't take too big of a hit for putting him in ahead of other more qualified students."
In just a cursory examination of the emails, we see two instances where Keith Marshall, an Assistant Provost, who works DIRECTLY under Provost Linda Katehi is the one asking for these students to be either admitted or waitlisted despite their low scores. This would seem to directly contradict Linda Katehi's claim that the decisions were made over her head.
When the Vanguard posed this to the UC Davis News Service, we got the following response:
"At the University of Illinois, there are officials above the Provost (including the Chancellor) who communicate directly with the admissions director without going through the Provost¹s office.In other words, UC Davis is claiming that Ms. Katehi did not know what her employees were doing.
Chancellor-designate Katehi has been clear that she was not aware of or involved in these matters."
They further suggest that:
"The Governor of Illinois has appointed a commission to look into the whole affair."As Senator Yee suggested:
“It is imperative that Ms. Katehi tell the public what she knew and when on this issue. The University of California obviously has a bad history when it comes to transparency, and we do not need another executive who is willing to cover-up wrongdoing."At this point, the Vanguard believes that UC Davis ought to be much more aggressive in trying to answer this question. Her defense is that she did not know what her subordinate was doing. That does not seem to be much of a defense. Under most chains of command, supervisors are responsible for the conduct of those who operate underneath them in addition to their own conduct. UC Davis needs to be much more vigilant in pursuing this matter.
---David M. Greenwald reporting
NYFM are you serious? Because her corruption was at Illinois, its not fair to doubt her ability to do the job at davis? Look, when you are applying for a job they always ask you if you were fired from another job, and why. It is totally relevant, whether it happened at Illinois, Davis, or Transylvania.
"This supposed incident didn't happen at UC Davis, so no need for UC Davis to be investigating anything. You are just using this topic to further your campaign against the UC, Blog Boy."
Hey "Blog Terminator", read the article in the Sac Bee. Katehi was CC'd on the emails, so knew or should have known what was going on. Her excuse that she thought they were routing requests is mind-blowing when you read the emails. The emails clearly admit the student isn't qualified, hope putting in a less qualified student won't upset more qualified students (I am paraphrasing) and the like. Katehi needs to leave - sooner than later. She is embarrassing herself and UC Davis.
Let me get this straight. Scanning the articles on this issue, it appears that "Illinois state lawmakers" demanded favored admissions treatment for their friends. So Senator Yee's solution is to hand over control of the University to state lawmakers?
I haven't followed this issue closely, but I do know that state legislators and regents ultimately control state universities, and that administrators who defy their demands risk losing funding for state university systems. If a university administrator were to give favored admission treatment to his/her own friends, family or acquaintances, that would be a scandal. If they buckle to state legislators' or regents special admission demands, the scandal should be laid at the feet of the legislators and/or regents. It seems to me that Senator Yee should spend his time warning his colleagues and the regents not to make scandalous demands on UC admissions officers.
I think the best course of action is to press the regents of UC to put in place firm rules against such special admissions requests, and a mandatory process that admissions directors and chancellors must follow upon receiving such requests, and that such requests and any action taken on them be publicly posted.
It is important to protect the University administrators from inappropriate demands by state legislators and regents. The administrator should not be faced with what could be construed as extortionist demands to either accept a politically connected student, or to risk funding for all students.
At this point, I think the problem here is that the Chancellor has some explaining to do. If the President refused to investigate the Chancellor's role in the Illinois mess, then who has the authority to investigate? I understand the paradox, but sometimes the solution in one place is the problem in the other. Obviously Illinois legislators and political leaders have too much influence over processes they should play no part in. In california they perhaps have too little influence to even provide meaningful oversight. The lesson of Illinois is not that we should have no legislative oversight, it's that we should not allow too much power. There needs to be a midway point and I think if you look at Yee's legislation, it provides it.
People getting into Universities through connections happens everywhere all the time. Didn't George Bush get into Yale on legacy? Didn't UC have a similar scandal in the 90's. The real issue should be that people should stop complaining about affirmative action admissions and realize that who gets in is always the result of a flawed human process. If a University does too much of this favoritism it may eventually hurt the reputation of the institution because the quality of graduates not the quality of the admissions. Getting in is one thing getting out is quite another.
As for this attack upon the new Chancellor it just seems to be in poor taste as a way of greeting a new leader of a prestigous university.
Sue Greenwald is the apologist here. She must be high. (What's new?) While I'm not going to defend Ms. Katehi, Sue really doesn't get it. Of course, remember she is married to an academic, and they can do absolutely no wrong. Listen to her fawn over them. If she had her way, professors would be sainted.
Professors and college administrators are smart people. They should be able to recognize when they are being asked to act unethically and take the responsible path. How juvenile for Sue to suggest that they should be protected from having their ethics and good judgment put to the test. (Of course, many of us have heard that just because someone is intelligent doesn't mean that they have a lick of sense or common sense. And Sue acting like a juvenile is nothing new. How many times have we heard her on TV during City Council meetings whining like a 5 year old, "It's my turn. It's my turn." or when she was Mayor, "I'm in charge.")
Create law to protect college administrators from acting irresponsibly? Wrong approach. Expect professional administrators to administer professionally and sanction them when they don't.
"Expect professional administrators to administer professionally and sanction them when they don't."
Sue, I think you are missing some of the point here. I agree we may not want legislative oversight, since the legislature cannot keep its own house in order. But some kind of outside oversight is needed, bc the UC regents are completely out of control. However, the other question is should Katehi remain as UCD Chancellor, given the latest scandal? I have very real questions as to whether she is fit for the office she currently holds at UCD. In view of the very damning evidence, I think she needs to go. Which brings up a third issue. Why is it that UC has to go outside the system to hire these losers, while ignoring in-house UC faculty that are highly qualified, have a real stake in UCD, and would do a very good job for a lot less?
em>>Why is it that UC has to go outside the system to hire these losers, while ignoring in-house UC faculty that are highly qualified, have a real stake in UCD, and would do a very good job for a lot less?
Name one (or more).
As we have already seen here, the Chancellor position is not such an enviable post, considering the expectations, responsibilities, and sacrifies it entails. Frankly, $400k/yr with an almost-sure paycut doesn't really do justice to Katehi who is knowingly coming in at such a challenging timing with hostile legistrature and public climate. I am pretty sure that there are no current senior UCD administrators who would be willing and stupid enough to fill Vanderhoef's shoe right now.
I am definitely a strong advocate for our great universities. Our teaching/research institutions are still the best on the planet, and are the most significant remaining area in which the United States and California still excel. They keep us competitive by attracting the best of global talent, as well as by developing our home-grown talent. They spin off businesses that drive our economy. Maintaining the excellence of our universities is critical to the future prosperity of California and the United States.
We have a model that works, and has worked incredibly well. It would be foolhardy to place the running of the system more directly into the hands of the legislature.
I have heard very good things about the new chancellor. The faculty with whom I have spoken are genuinely enthusiastic, and faculty are a notoriously critical lot. I think we should be supportive of her and wish her great success.
Sue is just beyond a rational discussion and no longer worth acknowledging.
Katehi has been caught red-handed in a sordid affair at her present place of employment and has tried to obfuscate her role. She has basically lied to all of California. She does have great credentials but those no longer matter. She was complicit in corruption and has tried to fake her way into a new job.
I think some autonomy for the UC has served the institution well but it is at a point of extremes as the public has no recourse in situations such as these and the UC President and Regents are holding firm to a big mistake.
Some additional oversight is overdue, perhaps some legislative oversight, distributing the appointments for the Regents and perhaps even electing 2-3 Regents directly by the voters.
Let's see. According to today's Tribune article, out of 1800 documents, the reporter found 14 e-mails that were Category 1 admissions related AND on which Katehi was cc'd but not directly addressed. She was also not involved in the day-to-day management of admissions. Having read the two examples posted here and being a busy person, I find it reasonable to accept that someone could remain detached from this situation. Until someone comes up with a smoking gun, this "scandal" is nothing more than a witch hunt in my opinion.
Tempest, meet teacup.
Tempest, meet teacup.
With the evidence so far, that's correct. All that the quoted e-mails to Katehi say is that this or that bigwig was interested in this or that applicant, and all she did was forward the information to the admissions office. With the existing evidence, Katehi at worst chose not to be suspicious of her own superiors: the chancellor, the president, and the provosts. Although she does supervise the admissions office, it does not serve at her pleasure. If the chancellor wants the admissions office to do something, the provost has no authority to chancellor, no way, you have to go through me first.
Should Katehi have this "sixth sense" that Leland Yee wants her to have? Maybe he has in mind that her main duty as provost was to look for scandals; after all, he seems to think that that's his duty. But if that wasn't her only major duty, you have to remember that we're not paying top dollar for this woman, even though she will be paid a lot. We're paying below the market median for a chancellor of a large research university campus. A lot of people were fairly unimpressed with our last provost, Virginia Hinshaw. But Hinshaw is now paid almost as much at Hawaii-Manoa as Katehi will be paid at Davis, and significantly more than Vanderhoef is paid as our outgoing chancellor.
As every knows, though, Leland Yee is not satisfied with merely paying less than the market rate. Yesterday he came back to that subject, when he said, "There is absolutely no justification for such a bloated salary" as Katehi's. I don't know whether he simply doesn't know that Jeff Tedford is guaranteed five times Katehi's salary and last year earned seven times her salary. Or whether he believes the myth that Tedford's compensation could not be used to help students. Or whether he thinks that a football coach has a much more important job than a campus chancellor. Or whether he's just plain dishonest.
Anyway we can see what kind of chancellor Leland Yee wants for UC Davis. He wants someone who is always on the lookout for scandals, above, below, and sideways; and who is paid half as much as other research university chancellors. It sounds like he's willing to destroy UC Davis in order to save it.
Sue Greenwald is the apologist here. She must be high. (What's new?) While I'm not going to defend Ms. Katehi, Sue really doesn't get it.It's sad that John D. cannot make his point without being a complete assh*le. It is inappropriate to say "she must be high." Who are you to make derogatory comments about another person without putting your name to them.
I share the concerns of poster “PeripheralDavisResident” that some of the above dispay a witch hunt mentality. Katehi served under the UI chancellor, and everything that has so far been published confirms her statements that the program to give special admissions treatment to the politically connected was carried out from the chancellor’s office, rather than from her office. She only worked at UI for two years before being appointed by UCD. One could more easily infer that she started job hunting shortly after she arrived because she didn’t like atmosphere at UI than one could infer that she is a chief culprit in a corrupt program. Whatever happened to the principle of “innocent until proven guilty”?
The Chicago Tribune does an aggressive job of muckraking. They exposed the very direct ethics issues involving Obama and Rescoe house purchases. And although there were direct and provable problems involving Obama’s conduct in this case, most of us still support Obama wholeheartedly.
I suspect that much needed reform at UI will result from the Tribune’s excellent investigative reporting. As poster “Anon Coward” pointed out, there do seem to be regulations in place here at UC against political influence in the admissions process. Perhaps the Regents should work collaboratively with Senator Yee and our other state legislators to assure us all that these regulations are airtight and scrupulously enforced.
"With the evidence so far, that's correct. All that the quoted e-mails to Katehi say is that this or that bigwig was interested in this or that applicant, and all she did was forward the information to the admissions office."
From the evidence, it looks pretty damning to me. Katahi's superiors knew about it, her subordinates knew about it, she was cc'd on many emails, but she somehow was not in any way involved? If she did know, which is the most likely scenario, she is corrupt. If she didn't know, she should have, which would make her incompent. Either way she needs to be gone from UCD. And I have no doubt there are many faculty at UCD who would be happy to take Katehi's job at $315,000 w perks.
The problem Sue is that you don't seem to want to hold Katehi responsible if she did something wrong--you seem to believe that the structure was the problem period. I agree there are problems in Illinois that would not present themselves in California, that does not mean you hold people blameless if they did bad things.
"We have a model that works, and has worked incredibly well. It would be foolhardy to place the running of the system more directly into the hands of the legislature.
I have heard very good things about the new chancellor. The faculty with whom I have spoken are genuinely enthusiastic, and faculty are a notoriously critical lot. I think we should be supportive of her and wish her great success."
Well I have heard very bad things about Katehi from news sources, as opposed from UCD faculty who are not about to say bad things about their boss. Why should we be supportive of someone like Katehi, who is corrupt or incompetent?
I agree with your point that legislative oversight is a mistake. But some kind of oversight is warranted. During these tough economic times what have we seen from UC:
1) A 100% raise for the UC President;
2) A 20% raise for the UCD Chancellor;
3) A 27% (?) raise for the UCSF Chancellor;
4) A new convention center for UCD;
5) A new winery for UCD;
6) A new music auditorium for UCD;
7) Renovations to Rec Hall at UCD;
8) A new stadium for UCD;
9) A new wine institute for UCD;
And the list goes on!