22 February 2012

Their day in court

Nineteen former and current UC Davis students who were pepper-sprayed on Nov. 18 filed suit in US District Court against UC Davis officials. The University officials named as defendant in the suit are 
LINDA KATEHI, Chancellor of the University of California at Davis; RALPH J. HEXTER, Provost and Executive Vice Chancellor of the University of California at Davis; FRED WOOD, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs at the University ofCalifornia at Davis; JOHN MEYER, Vice Chancellor of Administration and Resource Management at the University at California at Davis; ANNETTE SPICUZZA, Chief of the University of California at Davis Police Department; JOHN PIKE, Lt. in the University of California at Davis Police Department; and DOES 1 – 50, officers of the University of California at Davis Police Department.
The plaintiffs seek 
a declaration from the Court that campus policies and practices that led to the abuse of the plaintiffs and others offend both the state and federal constitutional guarantees of the rights to free speech and assembly and that the pepper-spraying and arrests of plaintiffs violated their state and federal constitutional rights; an injunction to prevent repetition of such a response to a non-violent protest; and compensatory and punitive damages against the individual perpetrators of the illegal acts and their  superiors who ordered, directed and/or condoned this outrageous conduct.
As to the question of whether Chancellor Katehi and her co-defendants had any direct responsibility for the events of Nov 18 (a notion that a majority of UC Davis apparently reject, as witnessed by the confidence and no-confidence motions), the suit points out:
Defendants KATEHI, HEXTER, WOOD, MEYER and SPICUZZA had an affirmative duty to properly screen, train and supervise defendants PIKE and DOE Defendants 1 through 50, but failed to do so, resulting in the actions and violations of the rights of Plaintiffs and others described herein.
 The suit alleges violations of the plaintiffs' rights as laid out in the First, Fourth and Fourteenth Amendment of the US Constitution (freedom of speech; illegal search and seizure; due process; respectively), as well as several articles of the California Constitution.

The plaintiffs demand a trial by jury.

18 February 2012

Vote of Confidence

As expected, UC Davis faculty have defeated a no-confidence motion questioning Chancellor Katehi's leadership, and they have done so by a large margin (70% of the votes cast). Nothing new, especially faculty in the applied sciences have been supporting the Chancellor for a long time, and she has been particularly good to them, pushing forward with the plan to collect increased funding in grants support and private donations (not to mention student tuition, especially from international and out of state students – although nothing on the scale pursued by Berkeley and UCLA).

What is surprising is that the third motion – which condemned police responses to the November 18 protest – carried by a large but not nearly unanimous margin. The motion
  1.  condemns both the dispatch of police and use of excessive force in response to non-violent protests on November 18, 2011;
  2. opposes violent police response to non-violent protests on campus;
  3. demands that police deployment against protestors be considered only after all reasonable efforts have been exhausted and with direct consultation with Academic Senate leadership. 
These are all pretty straightforward points, which in very similar form have all been endorsed by the Chancellor herself and her supporters. And yet 343 senate faculty decided to register their opposition by voting against the motion. One has to wonder, what were they thinking?