UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi authorized police action against peaceful political protesters – against her own students. Watch what she put in motion:
Faced with numerous calls for (<- sign the petition) her resignation, she initially responded by saying “I don’t believe it is appropriate for me to resign at this point, really.” That hasn’t satisfied the UC Davis community, whose students protested Katehi in what I think was the most eloquent and damning way possible – with silence.
Katehi is now calling the police action she authorized “chilling”. The police officers who sprayed the students have been placed on “administrative leave”. Personally, I think they should be in jail – I also think Katehi’s time is nearly over.
The President of the University of California, Mark G. Yudof, has finally spoken up:
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 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.
Frankly, I’m not sure this is strong enough a response. I guess we’ll see…