UC President Parties on Taxpayers' Tab

Updated: Apr 5, 2018

Amid legislative calls to remove University of California President Janet Napolitano from office, new details were released this week by the San Francisco Chronicle highlighting her office’s extravagant spending, including thousands spent on parties and expensive dinners.

Ms. Napolitano, the former Department of Homeland Security director and governor of Arizona, threw a $4,200 retirement party in 2015 for Laine Farley, director of the college’s digital library. Records also show that between 2014 and 2016, Ms. Napolitano’s office threw 20 other parties for departing employees, ranging in cost from $500 to more than $1,000 each.

The President’s Office paid $13,000 for dinner and security at the luxurious Palace Hotel in San Francisco for 86 people to honor departing UC regents members, and another $36,000 for other regent dinners.

The UC system also paid $862,000 for Ms. Napolitano’s Oakland apartment during the past four years – including $11,500 monthly rent for the 2,400-square-foot apartment. Ms. Napolitano’s office said the apartment is used for official university business.

The new information follows the release of a critical audit by State Auditor Elaine Howle that detailed financial mismanagement by the UC President’s Office.

Previously undisclosed emails were released this week, showing that Ms. Napolitano had sought to coordinate responses to the audit among administrators at the Santa Cruz, San Diego and Irvine campuses. She even held a systemwide conference call to discuss the responses, which were supposed to be candid, independent responses from the campuses.

After contact with the President’s Office, several negative responses to survey questions were changed to positive responses, the Chronicle noted. The auditor said that because the president interfered with the surveys, the results were discarded.

“The tampering is absolutely outrageous and unbelievable,” said Assemblyman Phil Ting, who requested the audit.

A number of other financial documents that still are unavailable include details on foreign and out-of-state travel to Bermuda, Iceland, Germany, China, India, Australia, France, Italy, Mexico and other locations; and other catering, airfare, and entertainment charges.

Ms. Napolitano is the latest in a line of UC president who have come under fire for financial mismanagement. President Robert C. Dynes resigned in 2007 after serving five years in which he faced intense scrutiny over executive compensation; and in 1992, David Gardner retired as president and was given a controversial retirement package of nearly $2.4 million. (Source: San Francisco Chronicle, May 9 and May 10.)

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