AMY GOODMAN: In 2012, the University of California reached a $1 million settlement with 21 protesters who were pepper-sprayed. Earlier this month, The Sacramento Bee reported that the UC Davis, University of California, Davis, paid consultants $175,000 to improve its online image, in part by scrubbing negative search results related to the pepper-spray incident. That news came to light while students were occupying the office of Linda Katehi. Well, I was recently on the campus of UC Davis, on this 100-city tour, and spoke to two of the students involved in the five-week sit-in.


AMY GOODMAN: Explain this first issue of the conflict of interest.

KYLA BURKE: Yeah, so, there are three like conflict of interests or unethical moonlighting positions that Katehi had. The first was with DeVry University, which she broke policy by taking it. She didn’t get the approval that she was required to.

AMY GOODMAN: And what was that position?


PARISA ESFAHANI: Just on the board.

KYLA BURKE: On the board of DeVry University, which, additionally, DeVry University is being investigated by the federal government for like unethical practices and essentially lying to their students.

AMY GOODMAN: This a for-profit university?

KYLA BURKE: A for-profit university. And so, there was that. So it’s like taking — making the choice to be involved with that company that’s being investigated for like unethical practices, for how it treats its students. And additionally, like, she broke the policy and didn’t do what she was supposed to do and just did what she wanted to. And then there was Wiley & Sons textbook, which is a fairly obvious conflict of interest.

AMY GOODMAN: What did she do?

KYLA BURKE: She got a position on the board of Wiley & Sons textbook, which is —

PARISA ESFAHANI: They’re all board positions.

KYLA BURKE: They’re all board positions, yeah — which is a textbook company, which is a fairly obvious conflict of interest, because what’s in the best interest of the students is lower textbook prices, and what’s in the best interest of that company is not. And UCs are like one of their biggest customers, and prices went up while she worked for them. So…

PARISA ESFAHANI: Specifically, UC — John Wiley & Sons is — UC Davis is John Wiley & Sons’ biggest client. And there is another conflict of interest in that Chancellor Katehi’s husband is a professor in chemistry, I believe, and his class used John Wiley & Sons textbooks last quarter. So she’s serving on the board, and he’s making his students get those textbooks. That’s a pretty clear — yeah.

KYLA BURKE: And then, additionally, there was King Abdulaziz University, which is a Saudi Arabian university, that was essentially buying citations. They were paying like prominent professors at universities to, like, include them on their papers, so that they would be — like, show up as working there. So it went from a university that no one had ever heard of to being ranked above MIT in one year, which, as like a prominent research university, that’s like an unethical research practice. So…

AMY GOODMAN: And what did Chancellor Katehi have to do with that?

KYLA BURKE: She was on the board of that, as well, she said, to bring diversity to the school, although we couldn’t figure out what that exactly meant.

AMY GOODMAN: That was Parisa Esfahani and Kyla Burke, two students at UC Davis who took part in a recent 36-day sit-in calling for UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi to resign.

View the entire article – Source – Democracy Now and Truthout: After Student Occupation, University of California at Davis Chancellor Is Put on Leave