Wednesday, August 20, 2014
YOLO COUNTY NEWS
99 CENTS

As Katehi talks of ‘lessons learned,’ some faculty call censure wrong

By
From page A1 | May 10, 2012 |

UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi said Wednesday that relying on bad information and a flawed decision-making process caused her to be to quick to send in police to remove an Occupy Davis encampment.

The bungled police operation of Nov. 18 followed, with a dozen protesters pepper-sprayed and 10 more arrested.

The chancellor gave some of her most detailed comments yet on what went wrong during her first appearance before the UC Davis Academic Senate since its Executive Council voted to censure her for her actions.

“I should have, we should have, allowed the students to stay with the tents,” Katehi told the Senate’s representative assembly at the UCD Conference Center, adding, “It pays a lot more to get more engaged with the students, to have a greater discussion and to really assess whether taking action (will) benefit the university.”

The Senate’s Executive Council handed out the reprimand last week. It stopped short of doing what a special committee urged it to do: call for the resignation of Katehi and two vice chancellors.

Those moves have angered some faculty members, including 23 of the campus’ most decorated. Members of the National Academies penned a letter to The Enterprise calling the actions “not only unfair” to Katehi, but “deceptive, inappropriate and counterproductive to the mission of UC Davis.”

During a wide-ranging, two-hour discussion, Katehi said “there were failures in process, in decisions, in communication and there were failures in organization, both within the administration and the police” that led to the pepper-spraying.

In keeping with how things had been done “historically,” Katehi said that meetings of her ad hoc leadership team took place on conference calls. That already has changed, she said.

“If you are (meeting) in person, you can recognize who has the appropriate information and encourage (them) to come forward and be engaged. In a phone conversation, it’s very hard to do this — especially when there are many voices coming in,” she said.

In one such call, Griselda Castro, assistant vice chancellor of student affairs, disputed an incorrect police report that raised fears among campus leaders about non-students in the camp. She argued against police action, she told Kroll Associates Inc. investigators, but was met with silence.

Said Katehi, “The mistake … that I made is that I relied on information without questioning it.”

Investigators found that Katehi’s subordinates believed she had given an order to send in police on that Friday afternoon, because of her concerns about the camp remaining over a weekend.

Doing so flew in the face of what police had done elsewhere, removing Occupy camps at night. It also left open the legal question of how protesters could be cited for overnight camping in the afternoon.

“I made a tactical decision that was inappropriate,” Katehi said. “My lack of understanding (of) how the police (work) let me get there …  I personally never felt that I made an executive decision, but it was taken as such by a few — and that needs to be corrected.”

Another “lesson learned”: “There are very few events that may be life-threatening that require immediate action,” she said.

“What we’ve learned since then is that it’s better to give ourselves time and bring all of the voices to the plate as we make decisions.”

The administration has posted the first of what Katehi said are possible steps to prevent another such incident. It also will draw on both the recommendations of the Senate’s special committee and those of a report, released Friday, on the UC system’s policing of protests.

Katehi has taken heat for declining to discuss the pepper-spraying incident in detail. She said Wednesday she has remained quiet because she did not want to affect the probes that were under way, including a police internal affairs investigation.

“Did this hurt me personally? Absolutely,” she said, “because people took me as untruthful, or whatever, but I cannot violate that principle … I’m running the risk my own statements will bias a decision (and) invalidate the investigation.”

Some faculty criticized the committee and Executive Council for its actions.

Walter Leal, an entomology professor, said the committee “overreached” by urging a call for resignations, but Senate Chair Linda Bisson said the Executive Council asked it to address personnel matters.

Critics noted the narrow margins in committee votes calling for resignations (3-2 to ask for Katehi’s and 4-1 to ask for those of Vice Chancellors John Meyer and Fred Wood). Bisson said the Executive Council’s vote on censure ended with more than 20 of the 24 voting members on hand in favor.

Some professors said they were perplexed that the actions took place after the faculty at large in February voted down a no-confidence measure by a 2-to-1 margin.

“The issue was decided. I personally think we’re making a mockery of democracy,” said engineering professor Subhash Mahajan.

The chairwoman of the special committee, Julia Simon, a professor of French, said the recommendations were not meant to represent the views of the whole campus — but those “arrived at by a group of people representing various constituencies and interests who spent four months poring over documents.”

Another faculty vote on its confidence in the chancellor has been proposed, Bisson said.

Christopher Reynolds, chair of the music department, said that while he agreed with many committee conclusions, he believed its members should not have called for the resignations of Wood and Meyer.

Reynolds said they are among the campus’ best administrators: “It seems to me like one strike and you’re out.”

Neil McRoberts, a plant pathology professor, was among those who believed censure drew more unwelcome publicity. He said such a matter could have been handled privately.

Countered Simon, the committee chair, “It seems to me the height of hypocrisy to hold someone publicly accountable in a secret document.”

Online: http://demonstrationreviews.ucdavis.edu

— Reach Cory Golden at cgolden@davisenterprise.net. Follow him on Twitter at @cory_golden

Comments

comments

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
  • Recent Posts

  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this newspaper and receive notifications of new articles by email.

  • .

    News

    Summer jobs aren’t always in the bag

    By Spencer Ault | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Davis Arts Center gets a new look, thanks to Brooks

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A1 | Gallery

    More details emerge in Woodland officer shootings

    By Lauren Keene | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Report details the face of hunger in Yolo County

    By Anne Ternus-Bellamy | From Page: A1 | Gallery

     
    Bob Dunning: Taking on a Specktacular challenge

    By Bob Dunning | From Page: A2 | Gallery

    For the record

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A2

     
    Students can practice safe bike routes to junior highs

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A3

    ‘Monsters University’ to be screened in Central Park

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    California regulators approve PG&E rate hike

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B3

    America’s ‘it’ school? Look west, Harvard

    By New York Times News Service | From Page: B3

     
    School board preps for new academic year

    By Jeff Hudson | From Page: A3

    The big moveout, on ‘Davisville’

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Sunder campaign will be at Farmers Market

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

    Classic car show slated in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A3

     
    Public opinion sought about Nishi Gateway

    By Lily Holmes | From Page: A4

     
    Davis Art Garage honored; bench dedication set

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A8 | Gallery

    Woodland historical award winners announced

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A8

     
    .

    Forum

    Can’t understand this change

    By Creators Syndicate | From Page: B5

     
    Delta-friendly water bond is a win for all of California

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A6

    Bravo! The road diet works

    By Rich Rifkin | From Page: A6

     
    Support water bond in November

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

    Relay for Life team says thanks

    By Letters to the Editor | From Page: A6

     
    Tom Meyer cartoon

    By Debbie Davis | From Page: A6

    .

    Sports

    Hard hoops schedule features defending national champs at UCD

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Crisp’s big hit helps A’s

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B1 | Gallery

    Aggie QB is back to pass … Touchdown, Tina! Tina?

    By Bruce Gallaudet | From Page: B1 | Gallery

     
    Sacramento scores early to snap skid

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8

     
    Unplayable? Cubs, rain hand Giants a loss

    By The Associated Press | From Page: B8

    UCD roundup: Aggie gymnasts are awesome at academics

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: B8 | Gallery

     
    .

    Features

    Food that travels well for cooking out

    By Julie Cross | From Page: A5 | Gallery

     
    .

    Arts

     
    Visit Crawfish and Catfish Festival in Woodland

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

    Artists invited to paint at Yolo Bypass Wildlife Area

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7 | Gallery

     
    Goldberg, Milstein to play at Village Homes

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7 | Gallery

    The voice on the CD comes alive at Music Together concert

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A7

     
    Crowd funding campaign offers support for Art Theater of Davis

    By Special to The Enterprise | From Page: A7

     
    .

    Business

    .

    Obituaries

    Railroad museum will host Aberbach memorial

    By Enterprise staff | From Page: A4

     
    .

    Comics

    Comics: Wednesday, August 20, 2014

    By Creator | From Page: B6