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posted by martyb on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:19PM   Printer-friendly [Skip to comment(s)]
from the you-can-run-but-you-can't-hide dept.

TechDirt reports

Earlier this year, we discussed how UC Davis detailed in a report that it spent $175k with a reputation management firm to try bury the 2011 pepper-spraying incident that has become so infamous, as well as to bolster the positive reputation and search results of its former Chancellor, Linda Katehi.

[...] A new report has been issued that makes it clear that the $175k with the one reputation management vendor was just the tip of the iceberg, and that Katehi's obsession with her own online reputation was far more serious than anyone had known. Indeed, her attempts to meddle in her own online search results started long before the 2011 pepper-spraying incident.

[...] While the initial reporting indicated a single vendor had been paid $175k on Katehi's request to try to control messaging about the school and herself through a barrage of good, but trumped up, press, UC Davis actually hired three different reputation management firms to do this, all to the tune of over $400k. And she appears to have been more concerned with her own reputation than that of the school she was to be stewarding.

[...] It goes without saying that as we, the link above, and several other online media outlets are discussing these revelations, and placing them alongside the original 2011 incident for context, the work of the three vendors and the nearly half a million dollars paid to them has failed.

Previous: UC Davis Chancellor Suspended After $175,000 Online Name-Scrubbing Antics
University of California in Davis Spent $175k on SEO and "Reputation Management"


Original Submission

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University of California in Davis Spent $175k on SEO and "Reputation Management" 42 comments

The University of California in Davis has spent $175,000 to try to improve its online image:

The University of California in Davis has spent $175,000 on search engine optimization (SEO) and online reputation management – to hide an embarrassing incident in which students were pepper-sprayed on campus. The massive bill has come to light this week after the Sacramento Bee filed information requests on the university's expenditure after it noticed that its "strategic communications budget" has nearly doubled from $2.93 million in 2009 to $5.47 million in 2015.

The newspaper found that the university had taken out several contracts aimed at "cleaning up the negative attention" that the university received when students were pepper-sprayed in November 2011 during a protest over large tuition fee hikes and in support of the broader Occupy movement of that time. The incident received worldwide attention when video was published of UC Davis police officer Lt. John Pike nonchalantly spraying a group of students with the chemical spray while they sat on the ground holding a peaceful rally.

[...] In an effort to limit the university's connection with the pepper-spraying, UC Davis hired Maryland-based Nevins & Associates for $15,000 a month for six months to "create and execute an online branding campaign" not just for the University of Davis, but also its chancellor Linda Katehi, who was widely criticized for her handling of the protests and faced calls for her resignation.

Here's the website of The University of California in Davis. Did I mention the University of California in Davis?


Original Submission

UC Davis Chancellor Suspended After $175,000 Online Name-Scrubbing Antics 40 comments

El Reg reports

Linda Katehi, the chancellor of the University of California, Davis, has been suspended pending an investigation into the decision to spent hundreds of thousand of dollars improving Google search results for her name, amid a range of other questionable activities.

The decision to put Katehi on paid administrative leave was made by UC President Janet Napolitano, who wrote a two-page letter(PDF) to Katehi noting she would be suspended for 90 days pending the outcome of a "rigorous and transparent investigation."

The revelation that Katehi's office had spent $175,000 in an effort to "achieve a reasonable balance of positive natural search results on common terms concerning UC Davis and Chancellor Katehi" was dug out by the Sacramento Bee looking into why UC Davis' "strategic communications budget" had jumped from $2.93M in 2009 to $5.47M in 2015.

The events Katehi was seeking to whitewash--when security officers pepper-sprayed sitting students back in 2011--received nationwide press attention for the seemingly callous way in which the undergraduates were treated. The news that the university had secretly spent hundreds of thousands of dollars trying to remove that reputational stain was similarly covered.

[...] Napolitano's letter also puts a spotlight on other concerns over Katehi's behavior, including the employment of her son, her husband, and her daughter-in-law by the university.

[...] The letter [also] refers to complaints that student fees have been used for "unapproved instructional purposes" which would be "a serious violation of University policy".

[...] UC Davis students have been holding rallies calling for Katehi's resignation for over a week.

Previous: University of California in Davis Spent $175k on SEO and "Reputation Management"


Original Submission

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  • (Score: -1, Troll) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:23PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:23PM (#389687)

    A high ranking woman cannot let her reputation slip since it might invite doubt into the validity of female supremacy.

    • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:30PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:30PM (#389691)

      kurenai.tsubasa, is that you? Have you forgotten to take your meds again?

      • (Score: 1, Funny) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:33PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:33PM (#389693)

        Oh now this is amusing. Any male chauvinist troll is assumed to be Ethanol. Any female chauvinist troll is assumed to be tsubasa. Your very assumptions are sexist!

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:40PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:40PM (#389702)

          Well you're sexist for making this issue about sexism into a valid conversation. I for one would welcome gender neutral words and names so we can avoid this crap in the first place!

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:45PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:45PM (#389707)

            I for one would welcome gender neutral words and names so we can avoid this crap in the first place!

            Here's one for you: Hermaphrodite.

            • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:04PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:04PM (#389720)

              Being a hermaphrodite is such a chore, I always need to wank both sides, or I'll be unsatisfied all day.

              • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2016, @09:34AM

                by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2016, @09:34AM (#390013)

                Such a shame you can't plug them into each other, so your higher brain functions are free to explore while the animal hormones work themselves into a tilly.

            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:29PM

              by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:29PM (#389734)

              Stirring the pot, stirring the pot!

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @11:22PM

            by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @11:22PM (#389787)

            Not sure if you mean for everybody, but it would seem prudent for ACs at least. How can we really be sure that the few UIDs that claim to be female are the only women commenting? (It's not just and azuma and I suppose tsubasa--I've seen a few other usernames casually mention being women here and some that I recognize from the other site. Those two are just the most vocal about it.)

            At least if I were a woman who'd heard the other site's reputation (and I'm sure this one's got the same reputation by now) for misogyny and wanted to find out for myself, I'd want to stay AC for a while. Plus, this site is quite browseable at 0 and even -1, unlike the other site.

            Personally, I view he when referring to an AC to be the gender-neutral he even if that usage has fallen out of favor. I gather it's mostly guys here, but when in doubt, it's not PC, it's just polite.

      • (Score: 1) by kurenai.tsubasa on Friday August 19 2016, @12:05AM

        by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) on Friday August 19 2016, @12:05AM (#389800) Journal

        I suppose if this is informative, I'll respond.

        Not ranty enough to be me and it lacks the requisite f-bombs and exclamation points! This story isn't Misogynerd Narrative, either. I generally try to make sure I'm logged in when I'm slamming women (but the obvious way to spot a comment I'm too lazy to log in for is cis-trans-whatever). Not sure what to make of the subject line, but the comment body is slightly reminiscent of MikeeUSA. As with any attempt to identify which AC is who, it's inherently error-prone.

        Of course, if I did want to say something as AC, well, people who think I'm completely oblivious to my habits aren't quite on the money….

    • (Score: 3, Touché) by Azuma Hazuki on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:40PM

      by Azuma Hazuki (5086) Subscriber Badge on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:40PM (#389701) Journal

      We know we're superior without needing to prove it like this :) [/s]

      --
      I am "that girl" your mother warned you about...
      • (Score: 3, Funny) by Jeremiah Cornelius on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:11PM

        by Jeremiah Cornelius (2785) on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:11PM (#389724) Journal

        Half-million? How people perceive her?

        Can't ANYBODY see this as a desperate cry for help!
        Somebody call an intervention... and a THERAPIST for God's sake!

        --
        You're betting on the pantomime horse...
        • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:27PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:27PM (#389732)

          Narcissists cannot stand criticism of any form and will do whatever it takes keep their ego from being wounded. Check out some quotes from the Wikipedia article on Narcissistic Personality Disorder:

          "In addition, people with NPD may exhibit fragile egos, an inability to tolerate criticism, and a tendency to belittle others in an attempt to validate their own superiority."

          "When their own ego is wounded by a real or perceived criticism, their anger can be disproportionate to situation"

          "Since the fragile ego of individuals with NPD is hypersensitive to perceived criticism or defeat, they are prone to feelings of shame, humiliation and worthlessness over minor or even imagined incidents. They usually mask these feelings from others with feigned humility, isolating socially or they may react with outbursts of rage, defiance, or by seeking revenge."

          Sending her to a therapist is a good thought, but narcissism is considered to be largely untreatable.

          Note the similarities with Donald Trump, who cannot help but lash out at every perceived slight.

          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday August 18 2016, @09:00PM

            by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday August 18 2016, @09:00PM (#389740) Homepage

            That's the same kind of ham-handed typecasting that would lead to a White man calling a Black man a nigger on the basis of skin-color alone.

    • (Score: 5, Informative) by bob_super on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:48PM

      by bob_super (1357) on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:48PM (#389711)

      While you're trolling, it is true that female presidents or CEOs are often the targets of a whole lot more vicious and personal attacks than their male counterparts when things go south (whether it's their fault or not). The "boys" just make bad mistakes or get the painful job done, while "heartless bitches" incompetently ruin companies and lives.
      A woman (or minority) who's made it to the top has to be a lot more careful than a white guy in the same position, and I think even anti-SJW crusaders can agree with that.
      Though not to that extent, IMHO. And it should be on her own dime.

      • (Score: 0, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:17PM

        by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:17PM (#389727) Homepage

        Bullshit.

        Women who make it to the top, whether or not they deserved to, often have something to prove and overcompensate -- which leads to the very kind of obtuse thick-headed counterproductive decisions most often associated with men, even if doing so under the cover of MUH VAGINAL SOCIAL JUSTICE.

        A good example of this is to tout "diversity" (with no straight white men!) which is not only a contradiction in terms but throwing the proverbial baby out with the bathwater.

        Another example where this was clearly not the case was at a previous employer where most of the software managers were women. Since there are parts of the world outside of San Francisco and New York, where "diversity" isn't beaten to death or even mentioned, women flourished because there was no pressure to act out of the ordinary and behave like bad stereotypes. One of them ended up taking a cushy gig with the UC system to roll out an Oracle database and I can say with certainty that she is still the least obnoxious female employed by academia.

        As a final afterthought, I would like to thank Oprah Winfrey for her push to eliminate the word "diversity" and replace with it "inclusion." The Blacks have been manipulated by the Jews for too long, and it's good to see them return to their post-civil rights-era productivity because Reagan started selling them crack and the Jews started pushing thug culture on their youth.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:58PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:58PM (#389739)

          Adding-

          I've seen too many women in high positions treated with kid's gloves when they fuck-up.

          While it may still be true that women suffer more sniggling and second guessing, they also don't bear the same personal costs when things go awry.

          • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday August 18 2016, @09:13PM

            by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday August 18 2016, @09:13PM (#389745) Homepage

            That's because they were put there by some other person, and that "other person" wants to save face.

            Marissa Mayer, for example. She was placed where she was by fellow Jews, did a tacky photo-shoot for Vogue in which she showed a (heavily airbrushed) underarm, [image.gala.de] and is now on her way to Fat City for being an utter fuck-up. Fiorina could be considered her right-wing counterpart for her own likewise ability to gut American business at the expense of the Middle-class.

            In my somewhat limited personal experience, I have seen that women who deserve to "be there" and move up or take greater offers "out of there" have earned the respect of their peers and supervisors alike and keep politics the fuck out of work. They aren't loud about identity politics or other bullshit, in fact, they don't believe in it, because identity politics are "picking the scab" to a wound that should be otherwise healed.

            Any sane corporate whore, male or not, smartly realizes that those they promote are good at their jobs. Being good at a job other than politics means -- first -- being good at that job and otherwise cleverly avoiding the politics and other non-job-related obstacles which pop up from time to time.

            Unfortunately, hiring often occurs due to nepotism and word-of-mouth. That's the weak link that incompetent workers get bailed from, whether it be because the boss was fucking her or because she was a friend of a friend of a friend of the boss and needed work.

            • (Score: 3, Informative) by kurenai.tsubasa on Thursday August 18 2016, @11:02PM

              by kurenai.tsubasa (5227) on Thursday August 18 2016, @11:02PM (#389777) Journal

              I have seen that women who deserve to "be there" and move up or take greater offers "out of there" have earned the respect of their peers and supervisors alike and keep politics the fuck out of work. They aren't loud about identity politics or other bullshit, in fact, they don't believe in it, because identity politics are "picking the scab" to a wound that should be otherwise healed.

              I would like to second this.

              The women who call me sexist simply because of my assigned gender and choice of profession: they completely suck at their jobs. The women who keep the politics out of it (one I didn't even know was a “feminist” until recently) and just git-r-done: some of the most competent people I've worked with. The women who believe in git-r-done instead of identity politics will always find, even in the face of gaslighting, sexually harassing, asshole managers and women supervisors who have loads of internalized misogyny and think it's still 1916, that in the end, once they demonstrate their value over and over again, they can rise to whatever level they wish to without any help from white knights or radfems.

              Glass ceilings only exist these days because of biological factors that won't change and dipshits who play identity politics and think the world just owes them a six figure salary and a corner office for being born with their reproductive system on the inside.

          • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2016, @05:32AM

            by Anonymous Coward on Friday August 19 2016, @05:32AM (#389938)

            ..I've seen too many women in high positions treated with kid's gloves when they fuck-up.

            I've worked in a University where a certain female member of the academic staff only got the job (with tenure) because she was such a fuck-up at her previous academic gig...the sneaky swine at the previous institute gave her such glowing references no-one thought to question them.
            The truth only came out when a post-doc from her previous place of employ started working with us, saw her in the corridor and uttered the immortal phrase 'what the fuck is that disaster doing here?' he then catalogued her disasters at the previous place of employ (verified later via 'side channels').
            Nothing was done (she remained there for at least a decade after I left my job there, and about a decade and a half after after the revelations about her past)

            Why was she still employed?

            1. Tenure - hard to get rid of someone once you've foolishly given them it.
            2. Gender - Females in Engineering, got to keep the numbers up irrespective of quality
            3. Ethnicity - She ticked this box as well, being non-white.

            I have to add, on point 3, over the years I've seen quite a number of staff of both genders who have managed to keep their jobs despite being obvious fuck-ups because of that card..again, a numbers game.

  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:43PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:43PM (#389706)

    How will this woman be punished? Will her personal assets become frozen as a result of a lawsuit for misappropriation of funds, and dereliction of duty? I would want this woman to become fucking homeless. $400K could fund a sizable scholarship for a student in perpetuity. Instead it was pissed away to some low-grade word-press monkey and a few ad-words campaigns.

    • (Score: 1, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:58PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:58PM (#389717)

      I'd be surpized if she didn't give herself a bonus for world class leadership in overseeing the improvement in the university's reputation.

      • (Score: 2, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @10:47PM

        by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @10:47PM (#389772)

        In addition to the $400,000 spent on consultants and reputation management , they also pay $424,000+ directly to her:

        Katehi will continue to receive her salary of $424,360 plus retirement and health benefits, but she will not have to teach classes in her transition year, after which she plans to become a UC Davis engineering professor.

        Read more here: http://www.sacbee.com/news/local/education/article94953062.html#storylink=cpy [sacbee.com]

        And we wonder why college costs are so high....

  • (Score: 3, Interesting) by Hawkwind on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:56PM

    by Hawkwind (3531) on Thursday August 18 2016, @07:56PM (#389715)
    This is last week's story, this week it's about Berkeley paying $200,000 to improve their Chancellor's image http://www.sfchronicle.com/bayarea/article/UC-Berkeley-invested-in-consultants-to-boost-9147047.php [sfchronicle.com].
     
    An information note about this story. Not trying to beg away this behavior but it has not been shown that either student or state funds were used (I suspect this is true but I want to hedge a bit). Really this story, and the Berkeley story, are about a string of missteps adding up to create ineffective leadership, I would characterize it as tone-deafness. Katehi did a lot of great things for UC Davis (research connections, donations, quality of students and faculty, facilities). But while I wish her the best I'm happy she's not continuing as Chancellor.
     
    Linda Katehi is an interesting tech story, if I have time I'll write a quick post later about her background and engineering accomplishmnts.
  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:16PM

    by Anonymous Coward on Thursday August 18 2016, @08:16PM (#389726)

    Googling "Linda Katehi pepper spray" returns "About 21,300 results". Good luck with the cover-up.

    • (Score: -1, Flamebait) by Ethanol-fueled on Thursday August 18 2016, @09:21PM

      by Ethanol-fueled (2792) on Thursday August 18 2016, @09:21PM (#389749) Homepage

      Yep. Jews now run the UC system. From Feinstein, down to Napolitano (what did she ever have to do with higher education, anyway?), on down.

      The UC system used to be respectable. Now it's just another money-maker for the ZOG and their useful idiots.

  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Gravis on Friday August 19 2016, @02:44AM

    by Gravis (4596) on Friday August 19 2016, @02:44AM (#389859)

    stop supporting shitty behavior! seriously, when someone does something absurdly wrong, you fire their stupid-ass. if you told them to do it then you are in the wrong line of work!

    why is it so hard for some people to just do the right and decent thing?

    • (Score: 3, Interesting) by gidds on Friday August 19 2016, @03:21PM

      by gidds (589) on Friday August 19 2016, @03:21PM (#390117)

      "I think you'll find it's a bit more complicated than that."

      Sometimes it's not obvious what 'the right thing' is.  Sometimes we make mistakes.  Sometimes ignorance or misunderstanding can lead us to make the wrong choice (especially when that misunderstanding has been carefully nurtured by those who would manipulate us).  Sometimes we do a wrong thing because we think it'll lead to a greater good, or avoid a greater harm (and maybe it will).  Sometimes all the choices we have are bad.

      And sometimes the right thing may look wrong to people who don't know all the facts.

      I don't know if any of those apply in this case — which is why I'm suspending judgement.

      I'm not denying the need to diligently seek out the right things to do, wisely judge them, and courageously do them.  But until you've been in that position yourself, you don't know how things look from there; if you did, you might judge differently.

      (That last condition may be the most important one here.  An online reputation is based on how things look — and appearances can be deceptive.  Letting the online world judge everything seems to be veering a little close to vigilante justice and mob rule for my taste.)

      --
      [sig redacted]