Chancellor Katehi of UC Davis at first tried to blame the threatening actions of students for the justified response of police, who pepper sprayed kneeling, passive students directly in the face and mouth.
She had even tried to hold a press conference last night to continue her lies about the situation.
The students surrounded the building. For a couple of hours Chancellor Katehi cowered inside the building, claiming to be afraid of the students.
The students were organized and formed a silent corridor through which Katehi had to walk to get to her car when she finally emerged from the aborted press conference.
A pretty remarkable thing just happened. A press conference, scheduled for *4:00pm* between the UC Davis Chancellor and police with local press on campus, did not end in an hour, as planned. Instead, a mass of Occupy Davis students and sympathizers mobilized outside, demanding to have their voice heard. After some initial confusion, UC Chancellor Linda Katehi refused to leave the building, attempting to give the media the impression that the students were somehow holding her hostage.
A group of highly organized students formed a large gap for the chancellor to leave. They chanted “we are peaceful” and “just walk home,” but nothing changed for several hours. Eventually student representatives convinced the chancellor to leave after telling their fellow students to sit down and lock arms (around 7:00pm).
ME: Chancellor, do you still feel threatened by the students?
KATEHI: No. No.
Here is the video on YouTube of the Walk of Shame by Chancellor Katehi. I only hope she is as truly chastened at heart as she appears to be on the surface.
The Chancellor is suddenly singing a different tune hours later. Two police officers have been suspended. The absurd promised 90 day investigation has been shortened to 30 days.
DAVIS, CA. – Two UC Davis police officers involved in using pepper spray on protesters on campus Friday, have been placed on administrative leave.
“I spoke with students this weekend, and I feel their outrage,” said UC Davis Chancellor Linda P. B. Katehi. “I have also heard from an overwhelming number of students, faculty, staff and alumni from around the country. I am deeply saddened that this happened on our campus, and as chancellor, I take full responsibility for the incident. However, I pledge to take the actions needed to ensure that this does not happen again. I feel very sorry for the harm our students were subjected to and I vow to work tirelessly to make the campus a more welcoming and safe place.”
According to Claudia Morain, a UC Davis spokesperson, Katehi has also accelerated the timetable for a task force to investigate the incident. She has set a 30 day deadline for the task force to issue the report. The task force will be chosen this week and will include representatives from the faculty, students and staff.
The chancellor also plans to hold meetings and forums with the students, staff and faculty to listen to their concerns and ideas for restoring civil discourse on campus.
Of course anyone watching the video of the police officer in action would need about 30 seconds to understand exactly what happened, and what the truth of the matter is.
See earlier post on the incident: In Defense of UC Davis Protecting the 1%
Here is another angle on the incident. Just look how threatening those students were.
The article featuring this photo includes this statement from one of the victims.
He used military grade pepper spray on us. It’s supposed to be used at a minimum of 15 feet. But he sprayed us at point blank range. Another student, 20 years old, who was sprayed and then arrested—instead of receiving medical care for the pepper spray exposure, he was made to wait in the back of a police car. His hands were sprayed, and he had intense burning in his hands throughout the evening while he was being held. He asked a police officer what they could do to stop it, and they refused to give any advice.
President of all University of California campus, Yudof, issued the following statement.
University of California President Mark G. Yudof today (Nov. 20) announced the actions he is taking in response to recent campus protest issues:
I am appalled by images of University of California students being doused with pepper spray and jabbed with police batons on our campuses.
I intend to do everything in my power as president of this university to protect the rights of our students, faculty and staff to engage in non-violent protest.
Chancellors at the UC Davis and UC Berkeley campuses already have initiated reviews of incidents that occurred on their campuses. I applaud this rapid response and eagerly await the results.
The University of California, however, is a single university with 10 campuses, and the incidents in recent days cry out for a systemwide response.
Therefore I will be taking immediate steps to set that response in motion.
I intend to convene all 10 chancellors, either in person or by telephone, to engage in a full and unfettered discussion about how to ensure proportional law enforcement response to non-violent protest.
To that end, I will be asking the chancellors to forward to me at once all relevant protocols and policies already in place on their individual campuses, as well as those that apply to the engagement of non-campus police agencies through mutual aid agreements.
Further, I already have taken steps to assemble experts and stakeholders to conduct a thorough, far-reaching and urgent assessment of campus police procedures involving use of force, including post-incident review processes.
My intention is not to micromanage our campus police forces. The sworn officers who serve on our campuses are professionals dedicated to the protection of the UC community.
Nor do I wish to micromanage the chancellors. They are the leaders of our campuses and they have my full trust and confidence.
Nonetheless, the recent incidents make clear the time has come to take strong action to recommit to the ideal of peaceful protest.
As I have said before, free speech is part of the DNA of this university, and non-violent protest has long been central to our history. It is a value we must protect with vigilance. I implore students who wish to demonstrate to do so in a peaceful and lawful fashion. I expect campus authorities to honor that right.
Will that translate into action? Will those who need to be fired be fired?
Procedures are in place. The law in California is crystal clear on use of force, and that law was violated egregiously by UC Davis police.
As for pepper spray, California law classifies it under tear gas.
(g) Any person who uses tear gas or tear gas weapons except in
self-defense is guilty of a public offense and is punishable by
imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months, or two or three years
or in a county jail not to exceed one year or by a fine not to exceed
one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and imprisonment,
except that, if the use is against a peace officer, as defined in
Chapter 4.5 (commencing with Section 830) of Title 3 of Part 2,
engaged in the performance of his or her official duties and the
person committing the offense knows or reasonably should know that
the victim is a peace officer, the offense is punishable by
imprisonment in a state prison for 16 months or two or three years or
by a fine of one thousand dollars ($1,000), or by both the fine and