The chancellor of UC Davis stepped down this week, following years of controversy—but the students who demanded she resign over unethical behavior and wasteful spending will find themselves disappointed by the perks she takes with her.
Linda Katehi essentially gets a paid year off, colleting a $424,000 salary, retirement and benefits. And when that “transition year” is up, she’ll continue working for UC Davis as an engineering professor, the Sacramento Bee reports.
Katehi’s problems began in 2011, when she decided to remove from the quad students who were peacefully protesting about rising tuition costs. A campus police officer was caught on camera pepper-spraying protestors in a face.
A damning investigation into the incident found that the police officer had not only deployed unreasonable force— he wasn’t even supposed to be carrying that type of pepper spray to begin with. Katehi, too, was to blame, the investigation said, for sending police out in the middle of the afternoon and for failing to warn them against using force.
Katehi’s response: Spend hundreds of thousands of university dollars to protect her own personal reputation. More than $400,000 went to a PR firm that tried (unsuccessfully) to scrub mentions of the pepper spray incident from the Internet.
Another UC investigation found that she’d also spent university money on first-class travel and limousines. While traveling in Hong Kong, she used university funds to pay for a hotel room used solely for storing her luggage.
The police officer who pepper-sprayed students also got a cushy deal. Though he was suspended from working, he continued to receive $70,000 in salary, the Atlantic reported—and upon his departure, he got $38,000 in worker’s compensation for the “psychiatric injuries” he supposedly suffered from an angry public that had viewed the video.
The students’ pain was physical in addition to psychiatric. But as the Atlantic notes, when the university settled, each protestor received a mere $30,000. At least two of the students reported regular panic attacks after the incident, and one frequently woke up screaming.
— Jillian Kay Melchior writes for Heat Street and is a fellow for the Steamboat Institute and the Independent Women’s Forum.