University of California (UC) president Janet Napolitano’s office is under investigation for allegations that her staff tampered with a survey ordered by the state auditor.
According to a story first reported by the San Francisco Chronicle, UC’s board of regents has hired none other than former state Supreme Court Justice Carlos Moreno as well as a local law firm to investigate the allegations that Napolitano’s office improperly viewed a confidential survey.
Board chairwoman Monica Lozano said Monday that any such interference would have nullified the results of the survey. “Justice Moreno will provide expertise in the areas of fact-finding and neutral evaluation,” she told the Chronicle.
At the root of the controversy is an accusation in a report from state auditor Elaine Howle that says the university was insisting it needed to increase student tuition fees to cover costs while it clandestinely reserved $175 million in savings. The document says that Napolitano’s office inflated the cost of administrating the 10-satellite university complex and actually provided less funding than the official budget indicated.
The investigation was launched just as the state legislature introduced tough new legislation that is designed to bring the law down on anyone who interferes with a state audit with malicious intent, Campus Reform reports.
Howle is now accusing Napolitano’s office of vetting confidential responses that the audit from the university’s administrators.
The San Francisco Chronicle has obtained email transmissions between UC’s head office and its various campuses that would seem to indicate that Napolitano’s staff wanted to see the audit responses before sending them to Howle.
Napolitano testified before California legislators in May that her staff only assessed the responses after they had already been sent to the state auditor. Though she apologized for how the correspondence was managed, she said during her appearance that she “wasn’t involved in the day-to-day, back and forth of the surveys.”