SANTA CRUZ – UC Santa Cruz Chancellor George Blumenthal knowingly altered his campus’s response to a state auditor’s survey under the direction of UC President Janet Napolitano’s staff, according to state auditor Elaine Howle.
Howle revealed the “intentional” interference in the April 25 investigative report, “The University of California Office of the President: It Failed to Disclose Tens of Millions in Surplus Funds, and Its Budget Practices Are Misleading.”
On pages 85-87, the report describes how auditors sent two surveys to 10 campuses in October 2016, each designed “to assess the types and quality of services” the Office of the President provides to the campuses.
Howle explicitly asked each campus not to share its survey results externally; however, in February she learned the Office of the President had asked the campuses to send their survey responses to it for review before submitting them to the auditors.
In addition, the deputy chief of staff of the Office of the President organized a conference call with all campuses to discuss the survey and screened the surveys before the campuses submitted, according to Howle.
During this stage of the audit, four of those campuses – UC Santa Cruz, UC Riverside, UC Irvine and UC San Diego – changed survey responses at the request of the Office of the President to cast Napolitano and her office in a more positive light.
“Correspondence between the Office of the President and the campuses shows that the Office of the President inappropriately reviewed campuses’ survey responses, which resulted in campuses making changes to those responses prior to submitting them to us – campus statements that were critical of the Office of the President had been removed or substantially revised, and negative ratings had been changed to be more positive,” said Howle.
Table 15 of the report includes an example from the UC Santa Cruz survey. The original, 184-word survey response described an Office of…