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Dan Schnur on UC scandal: ‘The key is providing another set of eyes... without compromising their academic independence’

by Take Two®

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Former Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano speaks during a panel discussion on advancing women in politics at the National Democratic Institute Luncheon in Washington, DC, May 19, 2014. AFP PHOTO / Jim WATSON (Photo credit should read JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images) JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images

An ongoing audit into the University of California administration has revealed lavish spending, excessive salaries and some other pretty serious problems.

No one can really agree what to do about it or even who should be in charge of reform.

But Dan Schnur, professor of political communications at the USC does  has an idea. He wrote about it in a commentary published in the San Francisco Chronicle.

And he suggests that creating an independent commission is the key to addressing concerns over a mismanage UC system. 

The legislature has become increasingly restive as to what they see as not just irresponsible spending... but an unwillingness to disclose that spending. So, they're looking for a more aggressive oversight role.

The problem is, the state constitution calls for the UC system to be autonomous in order to provide some academic independence from political influence.

...If you don't want to eliminate that academic autonomy and independence by turning oversight over to the legislature, perhaps there's an opportunity for Governor Brown to appoint an independent commission, separate from the legislature to lead the investigation, in order to try to square this circle. 

Quotes edited for clarity. 

To hear the full interview with Dan Schnur, click on the blue Media Player above. 

Correction: An earlier version of this story misspelled Dan Schnur's name. KPCC regrets the error.

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