Skip to comments.CA: UC in denial - Reaction to scandals is itself scandalous
Posted on 01/17/2006 10:18:53 AM PST by NormsRevenge
The University of California Board of Regents and senior UC executives will gather at UCSD today for three days of meetings. We'd like to use this opportunity to urge them in the bluntest fashion possible to get their act together.
The combination of blitheness, arrogance and denial seen in UC leaders' reaction to several recent scandals must be replaced by candor and reform.
The latest scandal was the slap on the wrist given to Winston C. Doby, UC vice president for student affairs, after an internal investigation showed he had acted improperly in pushing UC Merced officials to create a job for the son of then-UC Provost M.R.C. Greenwood.
It also documented Doby's highly questionable role in the hirings of an unqualified young woman as an analyst and a personal friend for a job with an inflated salary. Doby was reprimanded and lost some powers after being on paid leave for two months. He responded to the minor punishment by decrying a "witch hunt."
In context, Doby has a point: Given the anything-goes atmosphere promoted by UC's leaders, being held accountable for anything may seem like a witch hunt.
Consider what happened after the San Francisco Chronicle's fall report that UC had lavished a staggering $871 million in hidden compensation on top officials without basic legislative approval. UC President Robert Dynes downplayed the idea that UC had done anything wrong.
Or consider what happened to Greenwood, who resigned Nov. 4 after reports she helped a business partner win three high-paying jobs in the UC system.
Did Dynes react with outrage to Greenwood's gross dereliction of duty? No. In a shocking decision, he authorized a 15-month grant of paid leave that gave the disgraced Greenwood more than $300,000 before UC's own inquiry into her actions was completed. The Chronicle also reported two other departing executives got even-bigger bonuses.
So much for the explicit 1994 vow by then-UC President Jack Peltason that such parting payoffs would be stopped.
Yet UC leaders aren't embarrassed by evidence their past promises are worthless. Instead, tellingly, there is parsing of "regental intent" about what constitutes an acceptable bonus for a departing official. Please.
If, say, the state lottery agency engaged in such shenanigans, heads would roll. But UC has always used its elite academic reputation to put off those who want it to behave responsibly and responsively in the wake of credible criticism. Instead, UC leaders seem to calibrate their reaction to unflattering stories. The goal: doing the exact minimum to create an appearance of caring about propriety without actually doing anything to prevent future impropriety.
This must end. If UC won't change its ways, then the Legislature needs to remind it who is boss: the taxpayers who pay the bills and the lawmakers who draft the budgets. If UC still balks, then Sacramento should yank its chain the harder, the better.
A few weeks back it was reported that a mid level functionary at UC got $380,000/year.
Grey Davis' payoffs just keep on giving.
Oh sorry, that's "Grayout Davis."
There seems to be an epidemic of this.