UC Davis Police Lt. John Pike uses a can of pepper spray to move protesters who were blocking officers attempts to remove arrested protestors from the Quad on Friday afternoon. Wayne Tilcock/Enterprise photo
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ErikNovember 19, 2011 - 12:19 am
Below is the letter from the chancellor is response.
To UC Davis Campus Community,
I am writing to tell you about events that occurred Friday afternoon at UC Davis relating to a group of protestors who chose to set up an encampment on the quad Thursday as part of a week of peaceful demonstrations on our campus that coincided with many other occupy movements at universities throughout the country.
The group did not respond to requests from administration and campus police to comply with campus rules that exist to protect the health and safety of our campus community. The group was informed in writing this morning that the encampment violated regulations designed to protect the health and safety of students, staff and faculty. The group was further informed that if they did not dismantle the encampment, it would have to be removed.
Following our requests, several of the group chose to dismantle their tents this afternoon and we are grateful for their actions. However a number of protestors refused our warning, offering us no option but to ask the police to assist in their removal. We are saddened to report that during this activity, 10 protestors were arrested and pepper spray was used. We will be reviewing the details of the incident.
We appreciate and strongly defend the rights of all our students, faculty and staff to robust and respectful dialogue as a fundamental tenet of our great academic institution. At the same time, we have a responsibility to our entire campus community, including the parents who have entrusted their students to us, to ensure that all can live, learn and work in a safe and secure environment. We were aware that some of those involved in the recent demonstrations on campus were not members of the UC Davis community and this required us to be even more vigilant about the safety of our students, faculty and staff. We take this responsibility very seriously.
While we have appreciated the peaceful and respectful tone of the demonstrations during the week, the encampment raised serious health and safety concerns, and the resources required to supervise this encampment could not be sustained, especially in these very tight economic times when our resources must support our core academic mission.
We deeply regret that many of the protestors today chose not to work with our campus staff and police to remove the encampment as requested. We are even more saddened by the events that subsequently transpired to facilitate their removal.
We appreciate the substantive dialogue the students have begun here on campus as part of this week.s activities, and we want to offer appropriate opportunities to express opinions, advance the discussion and suggest solutions as part of the time-honored university tradition. We invite our entire campus community to consider the topics related to the occupy movement you would like to discuss and we pledge to work with you to develop a series of discussion forums throughout our campus.
I ask all members of the campus community for their support in ensuring a safe environment for all members of our campus community. We hope you will actively support us in accomplishing this objective.
Linda P.B. Katehi
so we are to expect that we are safe with men using pepper spray, battons and pellet guns that can cause internal bleeding in our brains. Hmmm...why not just have the Gandi classics: raise your arms and get arrested without getting your arms and shoulders dislocated? thanxs
This letter basically approves of the police officers' acts of violence against nonviolent protesters. She is pathetic and insensitive to the physical safety of UC Davis students and must resign to preserve the integrity of the university community.
What if the protesters were Communists and their peacefulness was a rouse and prelude to increasing their numbers and disrupting everyone's lives in order to threaten and force a kind of change the majority does not want.
Occupy Wall Street? Occupying Washington would suggest they are not clueless. The rampant corruption means we have to be Marxists? Corruption has no bounds under Marxism.
Occupying and disrupting Joe Blow is all they are doing.
dw you so totally do get this! They are disrupting Joe Blow--exactly what needs to happen, cause Joe Blow's butt is on the line too--whether he has realized it yet or not.
what if you are a communist? what if you are a fascist? writing comments meant to twist and confuse the issue for your own purposes? What if...what if?
UCD PROFESSOR'S OPEN LETTER, CALLING FOR KATEHI'S RESIGNATION IN LIGHT OF HER DECISION TO APPROVE THE USE VIOLENCE AGAINST HER OWN STUDENTS
18 November 2011
Open Letter to Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi
Linda P.B. Katehi,
I am a junior faculty member at UC Davis. I am an Assistant Professor in the Department of English, and I teach in the Program in Critical Theory and in Science & Technology Studies. I have a strong record of research, teaching, and service. I am currently a Board Member of the Davis Faculty Association. I have also taken an active role in supporting the student movement to defend public education on our campus and throughout the UC system. In a word: I am the sort of young faculty member, like many of my colleagues, this campus needs. I am an asset to the University of California at Davis.
You are not.
I write to you and to my colleagues for three reasons:
1) to express my outrage at the police brutality which occurred against students engaged in peaceful protest on the UC Davis campus today
2) to hold you accountable for this police brutality
3) to demand your immediate resignation
Today you ordered police onto our campus to clear student protesters from the quad. These were protesters who participated in a rally speaking out against tuition increases and police brutality on UC campuses on Tuesday—a rally that I organized, and which was endorsed by the Davis Faculty Association. These students attended that rally in response to a call for solidarity from students and faculty who were bludgeoned with batons, hospitalized, and arrested at UC Berkeley last week. In the highest tradition of non-violent civil disobedience, those protesters had linked arms and held their ground in defense of tents they set up beside Sproul Hall. In a gesture of solidarity with those students and faculty, and in solidarity with the national Occupy movement, students at UC Davis set up tents on the main quad. When you ordered police outfitted with riot helmets, brandishing batons and teargas guns to remove their tents today, those students sat down on the ground in a circle and linked arms to protect them.
What happened next?
Without any provocation whatsoever, other than the bodies of these students sitting where they were on the ground, with their arms linked, police pepper-sprayed students. Students remained on the ground, now writhing in pain, with their arms linked.
What happened next?
Police used batons to try to push the students apart. Those they could separate, they arrested, kneeling on their bodies and pushing their heads into the ground. Those they could not separate, they pepper-sprayed directly in the face, holding these students as they did so. When students covered their eyes with their clothing, police forced open their mouths and pepper-sprayed down their throats. Several of these students were hospitalized. Others are seriously injured. One of them, forty-five minutes after being pepper-sprayed down his throat, was still coughing up blood.
This is what happened. You are responsible for it.
You are responsible for it because this is what happens when UC Chancellors order police onto our campuses to disperse peaceful protesters through the use of force: students get hurt. Faculty get hurt. One of the most inspiring things (inspiring for those of us who care about students who assert their rights to free speech and peaceful assembly) about the demonstration in Berkeley on November 9 is that UC Berkeley faculty stood together with students, their arms linked together. Associate Professor of English Celeste Langan was grabbed by her hair, thrown on the ground, and arrested. Associate Professor Geoffrey O’Brien was injured by baton blows. Professor Robert Hass, former Poet Laureate of the United States, National Book Award and Pulitzer Prize winner, was also struck with a baton. These faculty stood together with students in solidarity, and they too were beaten and arrested by the police. In writing this letter, I stand together with those faculty and with the students they supported.
One week after this happened at UC Berkeley, you ordered police to clear tents from the quad at UC Davis. When students responded in the same way—linking arms and holding their ground—police also responded in the same way: with violent force. The fact is: the administration of UC campuses systematically uses police brutality to terrorize students and faculty, to crush political dissent on our campuses, and to suppress free speech and peaceful assembly. Many people know this. Many more people are learning it very quickly.
You are responsible for the police violence directed against students on the UC Davis quad on November 18, 2011. As I said, I am writing to hold you responsible and to demand your immediate resignation on these grounds.
On Wednesday November 16, you issued a letter by email to the campus community. In this letter, you discussed a hate crime which occurred at UC Davis on Sunday November 13. In this letter, you express concern about the safety of our students. You write, “it is particularly disturbing that such an act of intolerance should occur at a time when the campus community is working to create a safe and inviting space for all our students.” You write, “while these are turbulent economic times, as a campus community, we must all be committed to a safe, welcoming environment that advances our efforts to diversity and excellence at UC Davis.”
I will leave it to my colleagues and every reader of this letter to decide what poses a greater threat to “a safe and inviting space for all our students” or “a safe, welcoming environment” at UC Davis: 1) Setting up tents on the quad in solidarity with faculty and students brutalized by police at UC Berkeley? or 2) Sending in riot police to disperse students with batons, pepper-spray, and tear-gas guns, while those students sit peacefully on the ground with their arms linked? Is this what you have in mind when you refer to creating “a safe and inviting space?” Is this what you have in mind when you express commitment to “a safe, welcoming environment?”
I am writing to tell you in no uncertain terms that there must be space for protest on our campus. There must be space for political dissent on our campus. There must be space for civil disobedience on our campus. There must be space for students to assert their right to decide on the form of their protest, their dissent, and their civil disobedience—including the simple act of setting up tents in solidarity with other students who have done so. There must be space for protest and dissent, especially, when the object of protest and dissent is police brutality itself. You may not order police to forcefully disperse student protesters peacefully protesting police brutality. You may not do so. It is not an option available to you as the Chancellor of a UC campus. That is why I am calling for your immediate resignation.
Your words express concern for the safety of our students. Your actions express no concern whatsoever for the safety of our students. I deduce from this discrepancy that you are not, in fact, concerned about the safety of our students. Your actions directly threaten the safety of our students. And I want you to know that this is clear. It is clear to anyone who reads your campus emails concerning our “Principles of Community” and who also takes the time to inform themselves about your actions. You should bear in mind that when you send emails to the UC Davis community, you address a body of faculty and students who are well trained to see through rhetoric that evinces care for students while implicitly threatening them. I see through your rhetoric very clearly. You also write to a campus community that knows how to speak truth to power. That is what I am doing.
I call for your resignation because you are unfit to do your job. You are unfit to ensure the safety of students at UC Davis. In fact: you are the primary threat to the safety of students at UC Davis. As such, I call upon you to resign immediately.
Department of English
Program in Critical Theory
University of California at Davis
I encourage readers disgruntled by this article to contact/e-mail UC Davis' Police department, or institutional bureaus.
My letter to the UC Davis Police Department:
- - - - - - - -
To whom it may concern regarding the forced evacuation of 'Occupy Davis' protesters,
As a former student of UC Davis, I am appalled and horrified to see the actions of the Davis police department in light of recent events.
Although I do understand that the protesters were insubordinate in their refusal to leave the campus grounds, I simply cannot comprehend how the use of pepper-spray toward non-violent individuals can be warranted in such a context. In fact, I would even like to challenge the concept of 'insubordination' as applied to this case.
I have no personal ties to the "Occupy" movement, nor am I an explicit supporter, however I am an advocate for human dignity and the right to peacefully and democratically challenge the role of institutions.
I would like to make clear that despite my qualms regarding this incident, I have nothing but the highest respect for the hard working police officers that risk both their personal safety as well as professional credibility when handing the wide variety of cases brought upon them.
Truthfully, my only concern and criticism toward the UC Davis Police Department regards the handling of this case, and in consequence, I remain curious to the procedural criterion necessary for the use of such force.
Thank you Professor Brown for your inspiring letter. It should be required reading for each and every adult in America, both those who support and those who oppose the OWS protests.
Americans professed outrage when the protesters involved in Arab Spring movements across North Africa and the Arabian Peninsula were treated so outrageously by the police. Where is the outrage for the treatment of our own citizens during similar circumstances?
What must the Arab spring protesters think of our hypocrisy?
Lawyer up, Ms. Katehi, because many justifiably outraged parents will be filing suits against your for-hire thugs and your brainless response to non-violent protest. And the rest of the nation will take satisfaction in that.
As a parent of two college students, I can promise you that if one of my kids was treated like that on her own college campus, I would not rest until the Chancellor who authorized it was fired and drummed out of higher education entirely.
Thank you Ms. Welles for stating my own feelings so simply and elegantly.
To quote the chancellor's own words: " . . .we have a responsibility to our entire campus community, including the parents who have entrusted their students to us, to ensure that all can live, learn and work in a safe and secure environment."
By her actions the chancellor has shown that she is the biggest threat around to that secure environment.
Prof. Brown has you dead to rights, Madam. and I think I know one family who is seriously reevaluating the Davis Chancellor's Club and Parents Fund, pending your called-for resignation.
If you felt any sense of honor, you would station yourself in that selfsame quad, next to a can of pepper spray, while every person attacked yesterday filed past you... to look you in the eye.
All i can say is these kids need to grow up. They act like spoiled brats, and the adults that are 'outraged' at the cops behavior are the brat enablers. They were given a chance to remove the tents, they did not and they further provoked the officers by their words and actions. This 'occupy' movement is not winning the public who view them as disorderly anarchist disrepsectful of property rights and extremely rude and nasty to other people. Grow up.
FYI tents were removed by the time protestors got sprayed in the face. The tents were removed and the police escalated the situation by refusing to leave without arresting individuals who would not relinquish their tents.
Brats? The people are willing to stand up for a cause and get sprayed in the face for it. Many Americans have forgotten what that looks like. Most can not say they are capable.
"Spoiled Brats" ???
I'd like to see your reaction to being being pepper sprayed point blank in the face. They reacted with calm and stood their ground That is hardly the reaction of "spoiled" anyone, let alone "brats."
In the end, the police left the Quad, shamed.
And how does one perceive that he's entitled to speak for the public when outnumbered 16-1 in his opinion? Even the diehards who can get behind a government mace job don't appreciate having the government use their money to line already fat wallets of CEOs. This is America, we are entitled to a government of the people. Around 99% of the public agrees with that. It's why America is great. If you don't love America, get out. If you do, take a cue from these kids and start owning it.
Yeah, so this should really help with the Chancellor's goal of attracting more international and out-of-state students. Especially the international ones. They'll feel right at home with this sort of treatment, coming from countries where dissent can get you killed. This'd be a cake walk for them.
Good job, Katehi. Now go find yourself a new one.
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Professor Brown - thank you for the details. I am appalled and inspired. The police and school authorities have it wrong; they have lost credibility and trust, and they have have no respect for our Constitution. The kids, of which I have 3 college aged kids, have it right. They are leading us out of atrophy, hypocrisy and corruption. I am in solidarity with them. I will pray for them and remain open to supporting them.
I'm from Belgium, and I watched all this in disbelieve. In all it's oppressive actions, I definitely see the US regress into a police state. I support those people who strongly stand by their believes. Peacefully demonstrating and expressing opinions is a basic human right. Good leaders should listen to instead of violently oppressing those who want to take up their right to express an opinion.
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