SAN FRANCISCO (AP) — The chancellor of the University of California’s Davis campus was put on paid leave Wednesday amid an uproar over her service on corporate boards and the school’s hiring of consultants to improve its image online, following the widely criticized pepper-spraying of protesters by campus police, the university’s president announced.
UC President Janet Napolitano plans to appoint an independent investigator to examine the “serious and troubling” questions raised by the actions of Chancellor Linda Katehi and to determine if they violated any university policies, Napolitano’s office announced in a statement.
In the meantime, Napolitano has removed Katehi from the post she has held for nearly seven years until the inquiry is completed. The campus provost, Ralph Hexter, will fill the chancellor’s shoes on an acting basis.
“I am deeply disappointed to take this action,” Napolitano said in the statement. “But Davis is a strong campus, nationally and internationally renowned in many academic disciplines. I’m confident of the campus’s continued ability to thrive and serve California students and the Davis community.”
Katehi did not immediately reply to emails seeking comment.
Along with probing whether Katehi has been truthful about her role in the hiring of the online image consultants, the investigation will evaluate if there were irregularities surrounding the hiring and compensation of three of her close relatives, Napolitano said in a letter to Katehi released by the president’s office.
Katehi’s husband is a chemical engineering professor at Davis, while her daughter-in-law works as chief of staff to the vice-chancellor for student affairs. Her son is a graduate student in epidemiology.
Chief among the potential conflicts of interest about which Napolitano said she is concerned was a raise of over $50,000 and series of promotions the daughter-in-law received over 2 ½ years while reporting to an administrator who in turn reported to the chancellor. Katehi recommended that the vice-chancellor’s pay go up by 20 percent during the same period, according to the letter.
Napolitano also expressed concern that the academic program where Katehi’s son has a paid research position was put under his wife’s supervision and that student fees may have been used inappropriately to finance the move.
“You have verbally assured me that all matters relating to the employment of your husband, son and daughter-in-law have been consistent with policies and procedures, but documents and other information appear contrary to that assurance,” Napolitano wrote to Katehi.
Napolitano’s announcement ended two days of tense speculation at the Davis campus over Katehi’s status.
A petition to Napolitano circulated among faculty members and signed by more than 300 professors earlier Wednesday stated they believed Napolitano had asked Katehi to resign and voiced objection to “this peremptory action carried out without any consultation.”
Katehi added to the intrigue with a midday email to her deans and vice-chancellors in which she said she was “100 percent committed” to staying on as chancellor.
“I very much look forward to continuing to lead the campus to greater levels of success and excellence in the future,” she wrote.
Katehi, 62, an electrical engineer who has advocated for women in the sciences, came under fire early in her tenure at Davis when campus police officers used pepper spray on seated demonstrators during a November 2011 Occupy movement protest.
The action received global attention because of widely circulated videos and photos of the cringing demonstrators getting sprayed.
The Davis Faculty Association called for Katehi’s resignation for ordering police to dismantle the protesters’ tent city. An independent investigation later criticized her for demonstrating ineffective leadership leading up to and during the incident, which sparked a series of campus reforms.
Although Katehi weathered the crisis, calls for her resignation resurfaced after The Sacramento Bee reported in March that she had accepted a seat on the board of a for-profit college company the federal government is suing and previously earned hundreds of thousands of dollars as a director for a textbook publisher.
Student protesters upset by what they perceived as a conflict of interest spent five weeks camped outside her office, staying there even after Katehi said she would donate some of the proceeds from her service on the board of textbook company John Wiley & Sons to a scholarship fund.
Pressure for her to quit continued to mount when The Bee reported the campus had spent at least $175,000 on Internet search optimization consultants who promised to diminish online references to the pepper-spray incident so the public would get a more favorable image of Davis.
In a statement last week, Katehi apologized for “a series of highly publicized missteps” that she acknowledged had overshadowed the university’s accomplishments and “been a setback to our reputation and hard-earned prestige.”
She disputed, however, the idea that her administration had tried to bury the pepper-spray incident by working with the search optimization firms and investing more than $2.6 million on advertising and campus outreach.
“Because of the importance of philanthropy to UC Davis and the need to make sure those searching for information about the university get a complete picture, we needed to do a better job telling the world about the university’s extraordinary achievements,” she said. “So we did what any organization in a similar situation would do ? we sought to strengthen our communications capabilities.”
In her letter to Katehi, Napolitano said the chancellor’s leave would last at least 90 days and could be extended by the university’s governing board.
UC Davis enrolls about 27,000 undergraduates and 4,600 graduate students at a campus 18 miles from Sacramento.
MEXICO CITY (AP) — Judges in Mexico have ordered two soldiers and three federal police officers to stand trial in connection with the torture of a young woman that was caught on video.
Federal prosecutors said Wednesday that all five face charges of torture. They are accused of torturing the woman after she was detained Feb. 4, 2015, in Ajuchitlan del Progreso, in the troubled southern state of Guerrero.
The video circulated on social and traditional media in recent days shows a female soldier interrogating the woman, pulling her hair and putting the muzzle of a rifle against her head.
Later, a female police officer suffocates the woman by putting a plastic bag over her head until she nearly passes out.
ATLANTA (AP) — Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump’s claim that Hillary Clinton is playing “the woman’s card” drew intense backlash Wednesday, from the Democratic front-runner herself as well as tens of thousands of critics on social media.
“If fighting for women’s health care and paid family leave and equal pay is playing the ‘woman card,’ then deal me in,” Clinton said in Philadelphia as she celebrated wins in four out of five of Tuesday’s Democratic primaries.
Trump had leveled the “woman’s card” accusation Tuesday after his own five-state primary sweep.
“She’s got nothing else going,” Trump told supporters in New York. “And, frankly, if Hillary Clinton were a man, I don’t think she’d get 5 percent of the vote.” He added in an immediate contradiction that “the beautiful thing is women don’t like her.”
Trump’s remarks prompted social media hashtags like #dealmein and #womancard, the latter ranking among the top 10 global trending topics on Twitter Wednesday, with more than 45,000 tweets by late afternoon.
Voters also circulated video of Mary Pat Christie, the wife of Trump backer and New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, who stood behind Trump during his victory speech Tuesday and looked as though she was rolling her eyes as he made those comments.
The exchange highlights Trump’s perilous standing among female voters who could help propel Clinton to the White House.
An anti-Trump super PAC, backed by Republican donors, last month launched an ad in which unnamed women read aloud quotes Trump has proffered about females. “Bimbo. Dog. Fat Pig,” the ad begins, with later references to Trump critiquing “flat-chested” women and referring to “a young and beautiful piece of a–” and a woman “dropping to your knees.”
In March, Trump distributed via social media an unflattering image of Heidi Cruz, Trump rival Ted Cruz’s wife, prompting the Texas senator to assert that “strong women scare Donald.”
Cruz, who’s aiming to topple Trump at the Republicans’ July convention in Cleveland, implicitly emphasized the front-runner’s turbulent relationships with women Wednesday as he tapped former candidate Carly Fiorina as his would-be running mate, praising her as someone who has “over and over … shattered glass ceilings.”
Four years ago, 11 out of 13 general election swing states went to the nominee who won among women. Of those 11, President Barack Obama, with 55 percent of the female vote nationally, won nine; Republican Mitt Romney won just two.
If Clinton manages an even wider advantage among women than Obama, Democrats say she may get a boost in states like Pennsylvania and Colorado, casting them out of Trump’s reach while allowing her to compete in GOP-leaning territory like Georgia and North Carolina.
As for Trump’s claim that women “don’t like” Clinton, he’s wrong at the very least about Democratic primary voters. Exit polls conducted for The Associated Press and television networks in 25 states this year show Clinton won 62 percent of female voters over Bernie Sanders’ 36 percent.
In a recent AP-GfK poll of the general population, women weren’t significantly more likely than men to have an unfavorable opinion of either Trump or Clinton. Women, however, were more likely than men to say they definitely would not vote for Trump in a general election, 66 percent to 60 percent. About half of men and women said they would definitely not vote for Clinton.
Among Republicans only, primary exit polls have shown Trump facing a gender gap his last remaining rivals do not have. In the 25 states polled, Trump won 36 percent women and 44 percent of men. Cruz and Ohio Gov. John Kasich both demonstrated consistent support across genders.
Associated Press News Survey Specialist Emily Swanson and AP writer Laurie Kellman contributed to this report from Washington.
Follow Bill Barrow on Twitter at: http://twitter.com/BillBarrowAP
PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Comcast Corp. on Wednesday reported first-quarter earnings that topped Wall Street’s expectations with help from an increase in subscriber numbers.
The cable provider also announced a plan that will give customers in trial markets a terabyte, or 1,000 gigabytes, of data per month.
Comcast added 53,000 video subscribers during the quarter, appeasing fears about “cord-cutters” who get rid of cable subscription in favor of video streaming services like Netflix and Hulu. In all, Comcast added 269,000 subscribers during the quarter, up nearly 36 percent from the same period a year earlier.
The Philadelphia-based company said it had profit of $2.13 billion, or 87 cents a share. Earnings, adjusted for non-recurring gains, came to 84 cents per share.
The average estimate of 22 analysts surveyed by Zacks Investment Research was for earnings of 79 cents per share.
Comcast posted revenue of $18.79 billion in the period, also surpassing Street forecasts. Twenty analysts surveyed by Zacks expected $18.65 billion.
Separately, the company announced that it is giving customers in trial markets a terabyte-per-month data plan. The company said this is an “enormous” amount of data that 99 percent of customers do not even come close to using.
“Our typical customer uses only about 60 gigabytes of data in a month — that’s far less than a terabyte (in fact, 940 gigabytes less), or less than 6 percent of a terabyte,” the company said in a blog post.
The plans in the trial markets where the company caps Internet data use will move from a 300 gigabyte plan to a terabyte on June 1, Comcast said.
Comcast’s shares rose 25 cents to close at $61.30. Its shares have climbed 8 percent since the beginning of the year, while the Standard & Poor’s 500 index has risen slightly more than 2 percent. The stock has risen almost 4 percent in the last 12 months.
Elements of this story were generated by Automated Insights (http://automatedinsights.com/ap) using data from Zacks Investment Research. Access a Zacks stock report on CMCSA at http://www.zacks.com/ap/CMCSA
Keywords: Comcast, Earnings Report, Priority Earnings
WASHINGTON (AP) — The House used a rare show of unanimity Wednesday to approve legislation requiring the government to get a search warrant if it wants people’s older emails.
The legislation would require federal agencies to get a warrant before they can force an email service provider like Google to provide access to data over 180 days old. Also protected would be older, stored electronic documents like videos, text messages and photos.
The bill updates a three-decade-old law, the Electronic Communications Privacy Act, enacted when the use of email was rare. Under it, warrants have been required for government access to emails under 6 months old, but older data has been considered abandoned and can be obtained by the government without prior legal approval.
Current law also allows government access without a warrant to any emails that recipients have opened. The House-passed bill would require a warrant for investigators to see those documents.
The House approved the bill Wednesday by 419-0. Its top sponsors are Reps. Kevin Yoder, R-Kan., and Jared Polis, D-Colo.
Underscoring its broad support, the measure was backed by both the liberal American Civil Liberties Union and the conservative Heritage Action for America.
A similar, bipartisan Senate bill with 27 co-sponsors was introduced last year but has yet to advance in that chamber.
BUFFALO, N.Y. (AP) — A New York zoo has welcomed a new African lion cub, its first cub to be born there in 25 years.
The Buffalo Zoo introduced the nearly 8-week-old male to the media Wednesday.
Zoo President Donna Fernandes says it was one of four cubs born to Lelie and Tiberius on March 5 but the only one to survive past the first couple of days. Fernandes says it’s common for entire litters born to first-time mother lions to die.
The new unnamed cub won’t be seen in the lion exhibit for some time, but the zoo plans to post pictures and video to social media.
The U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service classifies African lions as endangered because of loss of habitat and poaching.