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UC Regents To Grill UC President, State Auditor Thursday Over Controversial Audit

Andrew Nixon / Capital Public Radio
University of California President Janet Napolitano testifies during a California Assembly hearing on the critical audit of the UC Office of the President on Tuesday, May 2, 2017.

University of California regents will publicly discuss a blistering state audit of UC President Janet Napolitano’s office for the first time Thursday when they meet in San Francisco.

The state auditor says Napolitano’s office kept a $175 million budget reserve secret from the public – and from UC regents. Napolitano says the auditor got it wrong, and that her office’s true reserve is a prudent $38 million.

The auditor also accused the president’s office of interfering with her audit – a charge Napolitano denies, while acknowledging her office should have handled the situation better and apologizing for the “misimpression” it created.

A majority of the regents have generally backed Napolitano, but several have been critical – especially elected officials like Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom and Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon.

Until now, regents have all declined comment – except for chairwoman Monica Lozano, who’s largely supportive of Napolitano.

One regent who isn't expected to attend the meeting is Gov. Jerry Brown. But his budget proposal last week speaks for itself: He wants to withhold $50 million from the UC until it complies with the audit recommendations – which the president’s office has said it will do.

The governor's proposal would also make that funding contingent on the UC achieving other goals that were part of an agreement Brown and Napolitano reached two years ago.

Also at Thursday’s meeting, regents are expected to approve the system’s first ever limit on nonresident student enrollment. The proposal would cap out-of-state enrollment at 18 percent for all campuses besides Berkeley, Los Angeles, San Diego and Irvine. Those four campuses already enroll higher percentages of nonresidents and would be grandfathered in at their existing rates.

It's the second time regents will discuss this matter after delaying action on an earlier proposal in March.

Copyright 2017 Capital Public Radio