Following an infamous November 2011 incident where a University of California-Davis police officer was caught on video casually pepper spraying students who were peacefully protesting, university officials spent at least $175,000 on consultants in hopes of scrubbing the internet of negative posts about the school and Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi, the Sacramento Bee reports.
I go to UC Davis. I am not very involved in political matters here, but some shit is going down right now that I really feel the need to talk about.
The story, copied from the movement’s website:
“The recent discovery of [UC Davis Chancellor] Katehi’s positions on the board of DeVry University, King Abdulaziz University, and Wiley & Sons textbook company are not only a conflict of interest, but an indication of Katehi’s insatiable drive for money and power that have consistently come at the expense of UC Davis students and community, and most specifically from black and brown folks both on and off campus. These recent board positions that have associated her, and the University as a whole, with controversial and problematic institutions have also augmented her current salary of $414,000 annually to include an additional $420,000 from 2012-2014 from Wiley and Sons and are reflective of a longer history of problematic behavior by Chancellor Katehi.” Linda Katehi has been moonlighting on boards at corrupt, for-profit universities like DeVry (which is currently being investigated for fraud) to increase her salary, which was already insanely high. Meanwhile, students are so far in debt and struggling with multiple jobs on top of classes. It is clear that Katehi’s interest lies not with the students, but in her own personal profit. Two California lawmakers, Kevin McCarty and Evan Low, have even called for her resignation.
Additionally, in 2011 there was an incident where several students were peacefully protesting when they were pepper-sprayed by campus police. Over 116,000 people demanded Katehi resign for allowing this to happen. All of this, plus her failure to appropriately address anti-black and Islamophobia, ignoring hate crimes on campus, and the increase of police presence as well as the militarization of their weapons have led to several students marching into Mrak Hall and setting up camp in front of her office on the fifth floor. This is day 6 of the protest, and students have been getting much-needed support from fellow students, several Davis organizations, and even other universities who have sent letters of solidarity.
Yesterday, one student posted on their personal Facebook page that members of the UC Davis Administration have been tearing down signs that label restrooms in Mrak Hall as gender inclusive. Several of the protestors are members of the LGBTQIA+ community, and when they explained to the perpetrator that tearing down the signs makes trans* people unsafe, her response was, “I don’t care about transgender people,” and that she doesn’t want to “pee in the same bathroom with a man.” This is unacceptable. Not only is it transphobic and hateful, it’s completely inappropriate to say to a student as an administrator of a university. These women have yet to be identified, but students are working on it and plan to expose them.
Many news stations have covered the story, and the San Francisco Chronicle has even voiced their support. But this needs to go viral. Nothing that is happening here is okay, and it needs to be stopped.