Q: Is it true UC Davis tried to “scrub” the Internet?
A: No. The external vendors referenced in The Sacramento Bee article on April 14 were brought in primarily to improve our capacity and expertise in digital communications. We recognize that it is not even possible to remove content from the Internet, and that was not our intention.
Q: Did the consultant try to influence search rankings?
A: Yes. Search engine optimization is standard practice in any organization that has an online presence that includes tagging of online content to improve search rankings.
Q. Was the $175,000 contract paid for by either state funds or student fees?
A. No taxpayer funds or tuition dollars were used to pay for these services.
Q: Why did the communications budget increase about $2.5 million since 2009?
Regarding a rise over six years in the campus’s communications budget, further reporting would have revealed $800,000 for increased health care and retirement costs, as well as a $1 million statewide campaign to increase awareness about our College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences and School of Veterinary Medicine, both rated the best in the nation. Campaigns such as these — as well as hiring more employees with social media and web management skills — have taken on more prominence at UC Davis as we strive to increase private fundraising and philanthropy.
Q: How does UC Davis respond to PRA requests?
A: UC Davis received over 1,200 requests for records last year and we reviewed hundreds of thousands of documents.It is a time-consuming task. For example, each relevant record must be reviewed to ensure we do not inadvertently disclose protected information, such as the personal information of our students, staff or faculty. We respond as quickly as possible.