Nathan Fletcher was on the California Baptist University debate team
  • Nathan Fletcher was on the California Baptist University debate team
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Why did Nathan Fletcher graduate from California Baptist University five years after he was supposed to and what does UCSD know about it?

That's one of several major unanswered questions regarding the Democratic candidate for mayor and his hazy academic history in light of heavily redacted documents released by the University of California in response to a request under the state's public records act.

As previously reported, Fletcher had a tumultuous upbringing in Carson City, Nevada, and Smackover, Arkansas, before enrolling at California Baptist University in Riverside, California, in 1995.

Though the former Republican-turned-Democrat's biography doesn't mention it, his mother Sherrie had gone to school there and his maternal grandmother had been health-services director at the school, formerly known as California Baptist College.

By the summer of 2000, a newspaper clip shows, he was working as Southern California field director for a voter-initiative campaign to enact school vouchers, backed by Silicon Valley venture capitalist Timothy Draper.

But when Fletcher applied for a job as part-time “professor of practice” at UCSD last fall, following his defeat for mayor and before his impending departure from the state Assembly, a university staffer processing his so-called BioBib application form discovered something strange that caused her to send Fletcher an email.

Wrote the university’s Collette Isachsen to Fletcher on December 6:

We are (finally) ready to finalize all of your appointment paperwork and I just wanted to double check one thing with you. On the BioBib form you submitted, you indicate that you attended college from 1995-2000 and received your degree in 2005.

This caught my eye and just wanted to make sure the 2005 [is] correct.

“That is correct,” Fletcher responded ten minutes later. In the version of his email released by UCSD, the university blacked out multiple lines of the remainder of his explanation, leaving only the last sentence: “So the date on my diploma is 2005.”

Fletcher sought work at UCSD in October of last year, the records released by UCSD show. “I'm lining up things to do next and have been approached about teaching a class,” he emailed Thad Kousser, a political science professor at the university.

“State and local government, campaigns and elections, or something along those lines. If I do it, my first choice would be UCSD. I’m not looking for anything full time. Let me know if any possibilities.”

Less than two weeks later, a university executive was considering ways to use the appointment as an opportunity to raise money. Wrote social sciences dean Jeff Elman to assistant dean Joanna Mancusi in an email dated October 12:

Kristi [assistant vice chancellor Kristi Larsen] suggested that, since the campus now can move monies around much more freely than before, one might engage in creative financing.

The other strategy, which I'd like to pursue, is getting Fletcher and [redacted] to help us identify potential donors — people who have served as angels for them in the past — whom we could approach and who might cover their salary.

The salary range is from $80,100 to $281,000. The actual percent effort is adjusted to back into the amount we have available.

For example, if Fletcher were to teach 3 courses a year at the $7,500/course rate (just using the Lecturer scale for convenience), and he were appointed at the $80,100 base salary level, that would mean an annual % effort of 28% (and would cost us $22,500).

Those monies would have to come from development funds (e.g., Friends), or else we'd have to do some laundering.

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. For example, a gift of $50,000 would allow us to appoint the person at 28% effort with a base of $178,500.

Regarding Fletcher's future fundraising role for the university, Elman wrote:

He's quite enthusiastic about this and I think would be a very successful teacher. I will talk with him again about tapping possible donors to help fund this.

On October 13, Dominique Cano-Stocco, UCSD's director of Advocacy, State & Local Government Relations, weighed in with her own pro-Fletcher endorsement in an email to Elman and Steve Juarez, associate vice president and director of state governmental relations for the University of California system.

By the way, I'm meeting Nathan next week on a personal matter [redacted], but I won't discuss any of this with him. If he asks, I’ll just state that I'm aware of the process under way, supportive, & that I hope everything can work out.

By the way, from where I sit, I don't actually foresee complications or issues. I think [UCSD public relations official] Jeff Gattas & I would welcome [redacted] and Fletcher both in terms of their practical insight, which will be helpful in a variety of academic disciplines on campus, and for their strategic advocacy value.

Requests that the university remove its redactions regarding questions about Fletcher's academic history have been repeatedly rebuffed by the school, which maintained in a letter:

Confidentiality in the academic review process is essential to ensure candid assessments of candidates for appointment, promotion and tenure.

The evaluative materials are accordingly held to be exempt from disclosure under Govt. Code § 6255(a) on account of the strong public interest in protecting the quality of the academic review process.

Challenged by his opponents, Fletcher himself has declined to make his academic records public.

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Visduh Oct. 29, 2013 @ 8:58 a.m.

This whole situation creates a host of questions. That he graduated from Cal Baptist some years after his period of attendance there would be no big deal. That is not unusual, nor is it a disgrace. It could happen when a junior college course transfer or two were overlooked by the registrar, and had to be re-documented. Or a grade of "incomplete" needed to be cleared by the instructor by writing and submitting a term paper, or some such minor matter. But the redacting of what was really happening makes it obvious that something embarrassing is in the record, and that's the real news.

In a larger sense, I'd wonder who put him on to the idea that he could teach at UCSD with nothing more than a bachelors degree. Oh, I know that universities will occasionally bring some uniquely qualified people in to teach classes, but those instances are few and usually involve some very special experts in their field. Fletch didn't qualify for that sort of treatment, and it appears that he and his backers were buying his way onto that campus. Why they would do that isn't apparent, except perhaps to add some academic credentials to his resume.

It is also amusing that an institution like UCSD, with its sharp leftward tilt, would want this guy with his right wing political history, and with his education from something like Cal Baptist. The eagerness of UCSD to have him on the faculty had to be motivated by the promise of serious money. From where? Well, the Jacobs family and/or Qualcomm, of course. Verrrry interrresting!


Dennis Oct. 29, 2013 @ 12:24 p.m.

Also makes you wonder how someone with credentials that thin managed to get a #100+K job at Qualcomm. Oh, never mind, Mr. Jacobs owns that too!


Emory_Kendrick Oct. 29, 2013 @ 2:10 p.m.

Matt, Do you know if Jeff Gattas mentioned here is related to the Filner accuser who sits on the inewsource board partnered with KPBS:

I think [UCSD public relations official] Jeff Gattas & I would welcome [redacted] and Fletcher both in terms of their practical insight, which will be helpful in a variety of academic disciplines on campus, and for their strategic advocacy value. or


KLoEditor Oct. 29, 2013 @ 7:36 p.m.

All very sordid. And one can assume this is not the only instance of this sort of thing at the UC system. This whole thing makes their position re academic review laughable.


Burwell Oct. 30, 2013 @ 12:03 a.m.

This explains why Fletcher left the Marines as a Staff Sergeant instead of an officer: he couldn't qualify for officer because he lacked a college degree. It's likely that he tried to become an officer without a college degree, but couldn't pass the Marine I.Q. test. He probably has poor grades and low SAT scores. Faulconer's probably in the same boat.


photog921 Oct. 30, 2013 @ 2:12 a.m.

Confidentiality in the academic review process? How about a little INTEGRITY in the academic review process!


Wabbitsd Oct. 30, 2013 @ 6:12 a.m.

Assistant Kristi Larsen appears to have a handle on "Creative Financing".at UCSD. Wonder what changed so she could move money around easier? Maybe that option should be examined.


Wabbitsd Oct. 30, 2013 @ 6:14 a.m.

Wouldn't it be a "hoot" if the other name (the redacted one) turned out to be Filner?


Psycholizard Oct. 30, 2013 @ 9:26 a.m.

It's there, "LAUNDERING", Fletcher's "work" at UCSD and Qualcomm are laundered bribes for services rendered, and to be rendered. The obvious is now explicit. I'm ashamed of my University.


Curiousinmind Nov. 1, 2013 @ 10:58 a.m.

So it's not just those "evil" Republicans who fund & groom candidates in various ways for future political offices (e.g. teaching position at Democrat donor's alma mater & beneficiary of millions in donations).

Might this be an attempt to groom & buy a mayor to serve Q's interests today & groom him for future higher political office to secure Q's future interests?

Redaction occurred to protect the redacted (??) & redactor (UCSD/Larsen).

Are there any investigative reporters still here in San Diego or have they gone the way of Ron Burgundy???


Visduh Nov. 4, 2013 @ 4:36 p.m.

You've hit it squarely on the head. Fletch is being groomed by Irwin Jacobs and the Qualcomm cabal for greater things, and not things in their direct employ. It's political. In fact, if I didn't know better, I'd say they are trying to make him into a viable presidential candidate within a decade. Look at the resume. College grad, then a Marine war vet, then a state legislator, a try for mayor of SD, an "executive" slot at Qualcomm, a university "professor" at a prestigious campus, then a successful try for mayor of a major city. That's a hell of a lot more of a resume than the present occupant of the White House had prior to his election. Oh, and Fletch is fairly good looking, and not gray headed (not yet.) They're hoping to get him ready for better things, and in the meantime, he's firmly in Irv's hip pocket, all the way. As to your observation about parties, the Dem's have done this sort of thing at least as often as the GOP, and with more success.


David Dodd Nov. 3, 2013 @ 5:40 p.m.

But, but, Fletcher's driving record is spotless (this story has been changed since it was written to reflect that it isn't) and the U-T endorses Fletcher, and that's SO MUCH MORE IMPORTANT than other crap one might turn up on him...


Visduh Nov. 4, 2013 @ 4:57 p.m.

You have your "F's" mixed up. Dougie and his propaganda Mill want Faulconer, not Fletcher. Jacobs wants Fletcher along with a flock of Dems. I know, I know it gets confusing.


monaghan Nov. 7, 2013 @ 12:39 p.m.

F-Yes David, try to keep the puppeteers straight! Qualcomm's Irwin Jacob$ is running Fletcher. U-T's Dougla$ Manche$ter is running Faulconer. Working Families and Labor and regular people are supporting native son David Alvarez. You decide who will best represent your interests.


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