There is a surprising report out of California that UC Davis contracted with consultants for at least $175,000 to”scrub the Internet of negative online postings following the November 2011 pepper-spraying of students. Equally disconcerting is that UC Davis paid to have these consultants improve the reputation of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi (right). I consider giving state money to consultants to improve your image as Chancellor to be a shocking misuse of money that should go to educational programs and expenses.
UC Davis has steadily increased the budget for the strategic communications office since Katehi took the chancellor’s post in 2009. This represented an increase from $2.93 million in 2009 to $5.47 million in 2015.
The contract, which you can read here, directs the contractors to “clean up” the image of Katehi and remove negatives references. I fail to see how the image of Katehi warrants public funds when the students are seeking tuition support and departments are seeking basic funding. If Katehi wants a better image, she can do a better job. She is the head of an academic institution. It is the university, not the Chancellor, that is the relevant measure here. The provision on improving Katehi’s image is as self-indulgent as it is wasteful.
What do you think?