I was so done with associating the University of California, Davis with the nonchalant pepper spraying of student protestors. That is until Linda “Scrubby” Katehi saved the day.
It’s the incident that cost California taxpayers nearly $1 million after the cellphone video debut of “UC Davis Police Channeling Bull Connor Taking on Peaceful Protest over Budget Cuts and Tuition Hikes” on Nov. 18, 2011.
Just in time for the state deadline to send Sacramento more of my money, it was reported Davis Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi spent another $175,000 plus to hire a pair of consulting firms to try and “scrub” all references to the pepper spraying incident off the Internet to create a more positive image of the university and herself.
I always need to be reminded that the state and its standing army of bureaucrats including Katehi with a base salary of $400,000 — which is more than two times what Gov. Jerry Brown makes — are good stewards of the money sent their way by single working moms, farm workers, truck drivers, and even highly paid code writers.
Some say Katehi has a bruised ego. If you make $400,000 a year on the public dole with the promise of a monthly retirement check that’s five times as high as what an average California taxpayer earns when they are working one would think you could develop a thick skin.
The real question is why is Katehi so dumb. That’s right, dumb. If you think you can “scrub” the Internet of indiscretions — public or otherwise — you’d have a hard time passing the SAT test.
Katehi also is either greedy or can’t manage her finances well enough to get by on her pittance of $400,000 a year plus taxpayer provided housing. That explains her serving on the corporate board of textbook companies that have a price fixing scheme with universities that is the envy of the oil and drug cartels as well as serving on the board of a for-profit university under federal investigation. Perhaps she needs the money so she can buy more mirrors for her home so she can bask in the glow of her ego.
Like most education royalty that believes the peasants — read that taxpayers — should eat the proverbial cake, Katehi had her minions in the Office of University Scrubbing formerly known as media relations put those who question her wise choice of limited dollars in their place.
The Great Katehi through her mouthpieces notes that the $5.4 million budget Davis has for “external communications” is a mere pittance when compared to the university’s $4.3 billion budget and that it “compares favorably with other institutions of higher learning.”
At least we know country bumpkin chancellors toiling in the Central Valley are keeping up with the Joneses at Stanford University and Harvard.
That’s comforting, I’m sure, for parents of undergraduate students paying $13,952 a year in tuition for their child to attend the Berkeley of the Valley.
Perhaps it is why some Cal Aggie parents half-jokingly chastise their sons and daughters for not getting pepper sprayed on Nov. 8. 2011. The $30,000 award that each of the 21 students that were pepper-sprayed received from their lawsuit is tax free. That means if they had taken a bit of pepper spray in their eyes they would have had two years tuition covered and had $2,096 left over to buy textbooks from the firms that Katehi is paid to serve on their boards or at least have one heck of a Picnic Day beer bust.
And now people are asking Katehi to resign.
It’s amazing how small minded taxpayers, students, tuition paying families, and even fiscally responsible legislators are.
They just don’t recognize greatness when they see it.
Peons are willing to accept absolutes such as the Internet is forever but not Katehi especially when she is testing her theory with other people’s money.
I’d be remiss if I didn’t mention that Katehi said Saturday the Sacramento Bee — which scoured public documents to find the contracts for $175,000 — mispresented the facts.
That comes on the heels of Friday’s statement by UC Davis Provost Ralph Hexter that the university didn’t use public or student funds when it hired consultants to “optimize search engine results in order to highlight the achievements of our students, facility, and staff.”
So if Davis is being transparent why didn’t they say whose money was being used as well as show the cancelled checks to prove it isn’t being drawn on an account overseen by the State of California? If a public university or school gets a private donation that money is being invested into a taxpayer financed agency they still have to honor a quaint little concept called “public trust.” That’s especially true given that just a few days earlier in another statement UC hacks waxed eloquently about how $5.4 million as a budget for the university’s “extremal communications” was quite reasonable.
It’s not very often I’m in agreement with student activists — Katehi has to go and do so without a big fat severance package.