Ex-Provost Guilty of Favoritism
A University of California investigation into the hiring of Lynda Goff concluded that former UC Provost M.R.C. Greenwood had violated university policies regarding conflict of interest.
Goff was hired as an executive faculty associate and later as the UC’s director of the Science and Math Initiative. Goff’s salary in both positions was $192,000.
Greenwood resigned from her position on Nov. 4 during an investigation of misconduct.
Greenwood and Goff jointly owned a house at the time of Goff’s hiring, and both were listed as co-mortgagees on a bank loan. Goff also planned to purchase Greenwood’s share of the house.
‘Because of her ongoing business relationship with Dr. Lynda J. Goff, which constituted a financial interest, Dr. Greenwood violated university conflicts policy when she offered Dr. Goff successive appointments in the Office of the President, and failed to disclose this fact,’ said the UC Office of General Counsel in a summary of its findings concerning Goff’s hiring.
Although Greenwood was faulted by the investigation, no retributive action will be taken against her because she has already resigned from her position as provost.
Greenwood is taking a 15-month paid vacation, during which she will receive $377,300. After she returns, she will assume a position as a professor in the College of Agriculture at UC Santa Cruz. Her salary will be $163,800 annually, and she will be given $50,000 per year for two years to help in her research.
‘While a faculty member at [UC Davis], and as Chancellor of [UC Santa Cruz], Dr. Greenwood earned, but never used, a one-year sabbatical,’ according to a transition agreement between Greenwood and the UC Regents. ‘Accordingly, Dr. Greenwood is entitled to take a one-year sabbatical leave commencing as of the date of Dr. Greenwood’s resignation. … It is also understood that former President Atkinson granted Dr. Greenwood permission to take a paid administrative leave for three months at a time of her choosing.’
M.R.C. Greenwood’s son, James Greenwood, is at the center of another hiring controversy, involving Winston Doby, UC vice president of student affairs.
During summer 2005, James Greenwood applied for three student affairs positions at UC Davis and two at UC Merced. He did not advance to the interview stage of hiring for any of these positions.
On July 11, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jane Lawrence spoke with James Greenwood on the phone. She provided him with encouragement, but said that there was no funding for additional internships.
On July 16 or 17, Doby had a ‘lengthy weekend breakfast meeting’ with James Greenwood. During the meeting, Doby suggested that an internship would be a good way for Greenwood to gain career experience.
On July 28, Greenwood was interviewed for a newly created internship provided by funds from the Office of the President. He was the only candidate for the job. The salary was $45,000.
‘At UC Merced, senior officials up to and including the executive vice chancellor and the chancellor were aware of the James Greenwood hiring and the fact that funding was being provided by the Office of the President,’ said the UC Office of the University Auditor in a report about the hiring. ‘This matter does not appear to have been the subject of extensive critical thinking about the possible perceptions regarding the propriety of hiring the provost’s son.’
Both Doby and M.R.C. Greenwood said that they did not discuss Doby’s efforts to hire James Greenwood with each other.
Although, according to the UC Office of the University Auditor, Doby ‘accepts the failure to recognize the appearance of favoritism … in providing funding for a specific individual, who was the son of his boss, for a position that didn’t previously exist,’ he defended his motives.
‘My goals of helping the Merced campus and helping a young man at a crossroads in his professional life were sincere and without malice,’ Doby said in a statement to UC President Robert Dynes.