M.R.C. Greenwood, provost of the University of California system and a prominent figure in U.S. science policy, quit suddenly Friday amid an investigation into the role she played in two recent hires at the university.
A statement released by Robert C. Dynes, president of the university system, said that two recent decisions were being reviewed. One is the hiring of Lynda Goff, a professor who recently was named to run a new university program to improve math and science education in the state.
According to the Dynes statement, "It has been disclosed, in the wake of inquiries by the San Francisco Chronicle, that Provost Greenwood and Dr. Goff have until recently had jointly owned rental property. It appears that Provost Greenwood may have been involved in Dr. Goff’s hiring to a greater extent than was appropriate, given that her business investment with Dr. Goff had not been properly and fully resolved in accordance with conflict of interest requirements. This in no way reflects on Dr. Goff, her credentials, or the terms and conditions of her appointment. This involves only the appropriateness of Provost Greenwood’s role in her hiring."
The other hire being questioned was James Greenwood, the provost's son, who was recently hired as a senior intern at the university's Merced campus. Winston Doby, vice president of student affairs at the university, has been placed on paid leave while officials investigate whether he "acted improperly in any way in helping Mr. Greenwood secure his position," according to the Dynes statement. The president went on to say that James Greenwood "is reportedly making a valuable contribution" at the Merced campus.
The statement characterized the resignation as Greenwood's choice and said that the president wanted to stress that "there is no presumption of wrongdoing" and that Greenwood "has cooperated fully with the investigation." Greenwood maintained her position as a professor of biology at the university's Santa Cruz campus, where she was chancellor from 1996 to 2004.
The statement said that none of the officials involved would have any comment.
Greenwood has been a key figure in the university system and nationally. Prior to becoming chancellor at Santa Cruz, she served for two years as associate director of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. She is a former member of numerous boards affecting science policy, including the National Science Board. And she is a past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.