“I don’t think it’s appropriate for me to resign at this moment,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi, after her decision to order peaceful protestors removed from campus had completely predictable consequences. (To which she responded with the kind of passive-voice accountability-avoiding language that is important to learn because it’s what separates us from the animals. Except the weasel.)
“Appropriate” is interesting phrasing, as if her responsibility for an indefensible decision that led to students on her campus being tortured with pepper spray was question of etiquette. It is, however, a word she likes. In a great catch by a commenter, it came up when she defended her role in allowing well-connected rich kids to jump the admissions queue at her previous (public) school:
When a politically connected Greek Orthodox priest wanted help getting the daughter of a family friend into the University of Illinois, he reached out to a campaign adviser to state Treasurer Alexi Giannoulias.
Giannoulias’ political director came through, getting the applicant into the university’s secret admissions system for students with clout, and she was plucked from her spot on the university’s waiting list and admitted.
Internal campus documents released this week show Giannoulias’ adviser Endy Zemenides sent information about the student to U. of I. Provost Linda Katehi in February 2008. He e-mailed from his law office, but copied his “Alexi for Illinois” campaign address on the exchange.
Katehi, who was born in Greece, then forwarded the information to her vice provost.
“Endy Zemenedis [sic] is the campaign manager for the State Treasurer,” she wrote. “This is the application of the daughter of a fairly prominent Greek family in Chicago.”
After Katehi’s inquiry, admissions officers decided that they would admit the student in the spring, regardless of whether there was any wait-list movement at the Urbana-Champaign campus. Not every student on the wait list that year was accepted.
Katehi, who is currently traveling in Greece, called her actions appropriate and said references to Zemenides’ position were not meant to carry any extra weight. [Well, she might have a future doing standup, anyway. –ed] “It is absolutely appropriate for me to pass along such a status inquiry,” she said in a statement. “I mentioned Mr. Zemenides’ title, simply because that was how I knew him.”
I think it would be “appropriate” for Katehi’s next job in academia to involve rolling flatbread around turkey.
…Another actual quote: ““I really feel confident at this point the university needs me…There are so many critical issues to be addressed and we really need to start the healing process and move forward.” I assume that the next OED will include among its definitions of “healing” “ensuring that nobody in a position of authority is held accountable.”