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UC Davis chancellor's outside activities prompt UC regents to consider tightening moonlighting rules

UC Davis chancellor's outside activities prompt UC regents to consider tightening moonlighting rules
Gov. Jerry Brown, left, talks with University of California President Janet Napolitano during a UC Board of Regents meeting in San Francisco in 2015 (AP Photo/Jeff Chiu)

The University of California regents will consider tightening moonlighting rules this week after the controversy over outside activities by the UC Davis chancellor.

The regents, who will open a three-day meeting Tuesday in San Francisco, will vote on a proposal to add another level of approval for moonlighting requests, create an independent review committee to assess them for real or perceived conflicts of interest and decrease the number of for-profit boards senior managers can join to two from three. A statement describing the benefits UC would gain from the outside activities will also be required.

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The proposal was prompted by disclosures this year that UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi had taken paid board positions with the DeVry Education Group, which is under federal investigation for allegedly defrauding students, and John Wiley & Sons, a college-textbook publisher. Katehi had received permission for the textbook company position but not the DeVry board seat from the former and current UC presidents.

The moonlighting activities are not at issue in a current UC investigation into allegations against Katehi of nepotism, misuse of student fees and misleading statements involving her role in social media contracts. Katehi, who was placed on paid administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, has vehemently denied any wrongdoing and filed a grievance against UC through her attorney.

But the moonlighting disclosures, first reported by the Sacramento Bee, prompted some calls for Katehi's resignation and the proposal for stronger rules on outside professional activities.

"In the aftermath of the matter involving Chancellor Katehi, we reviewed current policy," a UC official said.

UC encourages its senior managers to serve on scientific boards, foundations and corporations as a way to share their expertise and learn about other administrative and educational practices.

In 2014, 49 of UC's 180 senior managers reported income from outside activities, receiving a total $1.77 million for them. That represented a decrease from $2.2 million reported by 52 managers the previous year. Senior managers include the president, chancellors, medical center chief executives, laboratory directors, some deans and other top administrators.

The highest paid senior manager was Mark Laret, CEO of the UCSF Medical Center, who reported $589,820 in total compensation for serving on the boards of two for-profit firms, Varian Medical Systems of Palo Alto and Nuance Communications, a Massachusetts software company. Laret is one of the UC system's highest paid employees, earning $1.6 million in 2014.

Other top earners in 2014 were David Feinberg, who stepped down last year as head of UCLA's health and hospital systems and reported $201,500 from OSI Systems Inc., Steward & Lynda Resnick Revocable Trust and Douglas Emmett, Inc. Paul Alivisatos, who resigned this year as director of the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory, reported $140,000 for work as a consultant  for Nanosys, advisor to Samsung Electronics Co., a speaker for Exxon Mobil and editorial positions for two nonprofits.

In other business, the regents will vote on a proposal to streamline its governing structure and discuss a major new study showing that 4 in 10 UC students do not have consistent access to high-quality, nutritious food.

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