January 2, 2006

Feminist Corruption

Early in 2005, I wrote in The American Conservative about the financial conflicts of interest and web of backscratching among Harvard President Larry Summers's most enraged feminist critics. After reviewing MIT professor Nancy Hopkins's conflict of interest, I turned to a second case that wasn't mentioned anywhere else in the voluminous commentary on Summers's remarks on why science and engineering departments at Harvard are heavily male:

Similarly, Denice D. Denton was celebrated for standing up to Summers to, in her words, "speak truth to power." This heroic tableau of the humble, no-doubt-discriminated-against woman engineering professor daring to defy the mighty male university president lost some luster when it emerged that Denton was UC Santa Cruz's chancellor-designate at $275,000 annually. One college supremo attempting to intimidate another one into not mentioning inconvenient facts is not what most people visualize as speaking truth to power.

A few days later, Tanya Schevitz reported in the San Francisco Chronicle on how Denton plays the game. The headline read, "UC hires partner of chancellor: creates $192,000 post for Santa Cruz chief's lesbian lover." ...

But Denton had a powerful defender in the woman scientist who had formerly headed UC Santa Cruz. M.R.C. Greenwood praised UCSC's two-for-the-price-of-three deal for the lesbian academics as the cost of gender diversity: UCSC "should be commended for attracting and hiring two very qualified female engineers."

Greenwood herself had just moved up to provost of the UC system, at $380,000 per year, almost $100,000 more than the man she replaced. Moreover, she had quietly brought with her a female scientist friend from Santa Cruz to fill the novel post of "Executive Faculty Associate to the Provost."

Are you noticing a pattern here?

Schevitz now reports on the latest on Greenwood:

The University of California's former No. 2 official, who resigned under a cloud last month, violated conflict-of-interest rules by helping to create a management job for a friend with whom she owned rental property, a UC investigation concluded Wednesday.

In addition, UC investigators found that a subordinate for the former official, ex-Provost M.R.C. Greenwood, had improperly helped create an internship for Greenwood's son, though they couldn't find evidence he had done so at Greenwood's direction...

UC said it started the investigation after The Chronicle asked about Greenwood's role in the hiring of two people: her friend and business partner, Lynda Goff, for a job at UC's headquarters, and Greenwood's son, James Greenwood, for a midcareer internship at UC Merced.

But UC won't take any action against Greenwood, 62, as a result of the investigation. In fact, a separation agreement that Greenwood and UC agreed to in November, a month before the investigation was completed, grants the former No. 2 official a 15-month leave at $301,840 a year. The money is a combination of the salary she earned as provost and in her previous job as UC Santa Cruz chancellor.

UC also promised Greenwood the right to return after her leave to UC Davis, where she worked years earlier, as a tenured professor of nutrition and internal medicine earning $163,800. In addition, UC agreed to give her $100,000 in research funding.

Sheldon Steinbach, vice president and general counsel with the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C., said it was "highly unusual" for the university not to have waited until the investigation was complete before deciding the terms of Greenwood's departure.

"This would seem indeed peculiar when you have mounting evidence of potential violations of university regulations to conclude a settlement prior to a determination of a full investigation," Steinbach said. "It seems at variance with common practice." ...

The latest revelations come on the heels of reports in The Chronicle that UC gave employees hundreds of millions of dollars in hidden pay and perks in addition to salaries and overtime. The state Legislature, which oversees a significant portion of UC's funding, is planning to hold hearings early next year into the university's compensation practices.

In the report released Wednesday, UC's general counsel said Greenwood should have recused herself from helping to promote Goff, 56, a UC Santa Cruz administrator who owned rental property with Greenwood in Davis.

Two months after Greenwood started as provost in April 2004, she hired Goff as an executive faculty associate. Then in August 2004, she hired Goff for a yearlong position in academic affairs with a $192,100 salary, a $44,300 raise from her pay at Santa Cruz.

In addition, the offer included a faculty relocation allowance of $50,000 and a low-interest housing loan if Goff were to take a permanent appointment in UC's academic affairs office. She eventually did so.

This past August, Greenwood offered Goff a permanent position as director of UC's new Science and Math Initiative, reporting to her. Goff took the job.

"Given their business relationship, Dr. Greenwood should not have participated in any way in decisions respecting Dr. Goff's employment," the UC report said.

Did there joint ownership of property reflect merely a business relationship?

In the Santa Cruz Sentinel, one Conn Hallinan, lecturer in journalism at UC Santa Cruz, was not pleased:

'Integrity in hiring? UC? An oxymoron. What happened with Goff and Greenwood is part of a pattern I call "academic corruption." The rationale is that these people could make so much more money working for some private university or private industry. I don't see either beating a path to their doors.

They have well-paid jobs in the nicest state in the union, and we have to give them $70,000 to move 72 miles? We have to invent jobs for their kids or friends? We give them low-interest loans while students burden themselves with crushing debt at high interest in overcrowded classes that make it almost impossible to graduate in four years? We cut programs and services so some kid of a vice provost can get a made-up internship that cost $5,000 less than our entire journalism program? ...

The corruption is not only at the level of the President's Office, it is part of the structure of the university, and the Regents are no better. The only reason they are annoyed is they got sidelined on all of this. But letting the Regents investigate this all is like recruiting the foxes to find out who has been pinching chickens. This was stealing taxpayers' money, plain and simple. You restore integrity by ending the skull-and-bones style of running a great public university and give it back to the people who send their children there.'

Of course, Larry Summers quickly backed down under pressure from these women, and promised $50 million to fund additional feminist corruption.

My published articles are archived at iSteve.com -- Steve Sailer

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