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Its academic reputation may fall short of Berkeley, UCLA and Stanford, but the University of California at Davis boasts a fine department of viticulture and enology. UC Davis also teaches how abuse can generate waste.
The UC system, now headed by former Homeland Security boss Janet Napolitano, a politician and bureaucrat with no academic experience, has been bulking up on bureaucracy and abounds in such posts as “Vice-Chancellor for Equity, Diversity and Inclusion.” These draw salaries of more than $250,000 a year plus generous benefits. Bureaucracy is expensive and UC bosses have jacked up tuition and fees. Students have responded with peaceful, nonviolent protests and UC Davis bosses reacted by sending campus cops to pepper-spray the students.
Lawsuits from that incident cost the university more than $1 million, with much of the money going to politically connected law firms. UC Davis added to the waste by appointing a commission, headed by Cruz Reynoso, the state supreme court appointee of Gov. Jerry Brown California voters booted out in 1986. UC Davis compounded the waste in typical bureaucratic style.
To improve their image, they are hiring a new “associate chancellor for strategic communications” at $260,000, more than any communications official in the entire UC system, and more than previous UC Davis officials who did the same job. As for other UC bosses, they got a 7 percent pay raise last year, nearly twice as much as the 4 percent raise for those who actually teach students.
UC Davis did not fire any administrators over the pepper spray case. Instead they fired John Pike, the policeman who sprayed the protesters, though that move took a full eight months. Now officer Pike claims he suffered “psychiatric injury” from the incident and wants to collect workers compensation. And it looks like he will get it.
According to the state Department of Industrial Relations, both sides took Pike’s August 13 settlement conference off the calendar and will settle outside of Workers Compensation Court. That means the DIR will not have information on the deal. How typical of government to spray waste and abuse with a coat of absurdity.