Last year wasn’t the best in the ethics department for the University of California San Diego. The nadir was reached with release of an email by the university after a public records act request. It revealed social science dean Jeff Elman to be discussing the getting of cash from Qualcomm billionaire Irwin Jacobs to pay the professorial salary of ex-Republican assemblyman-turned-Democrat Nathan Fletcher, a once and future candidate for mayor.
“Those monies would have to come from development funds (e.g., Friends), or else we’d have to do some laundering,” wrote Elman. “However, my guess is that there are people like Irwin Jacobs and others who have contributed to Fletcher [redacted] and they might be willing to provide these monies — or even more.”
Whether or not the disclosure has anything to do with it, UCSD is now looking for a director of conflict of interest. Says a recent job notice: “This position conducts reviews of National Science Foundation and Public Health Service research as well as all privately sponsored research (non-profit, for-profit, etc.) and gifts for early identification and resolution of any issues that could be perceived as a Conflict of Interest.”