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Some press reactions to the Reynoso report below.

Obviously as one of the report’s authors, I don’t have much of substance to say; I think the thing speaks for itself. Some people seem disappointed that the report didn’t call for anyone’s head. The task force was specifically charged not to recommend disciplinary action, just to assign responsibility. It’s up to the university and community to do something with it.

Sacramento Bee: UC Davis pepper spray debacle belongs to Katehi

San Francisco Chronicle: UC Davis’ failure of leadership

Los Angeles Times: Pepper spray report sharply criticizes UC Davis leaders, police

NPR’s The Two-Way: Report Faults UC Davis Administrators, Police In Pepper Spray Incident

Kansas City Star: CA university slammed for pepper-spraying students

News10: Task force releases report on UC Davis pepper spray incident

For those with an interest in the findings of the commission on the UC Davis pepper-spray incident of November 18, 2011, the report is now available.

Sara Robinson asks of Rick Santorum’s false claims about the UC and US history, “Did Rick Santorum just declare the next right-wing crusade?”

The thing to remember is this: Even though right-wing narratives are often factually wrong, they are absolutely never content-free. Stories like this are always about something. And the weirder and more factually challenged they sound to liberal ears, the more important it probably is for us to know what that something is.… This is almost always a clear sign that conservatives are lining up their artillery — in this case, for an open assault on America’s public colleges and universities.

The thing is, the artillery have already been lined up and firing for years. The UC has already been drastically cut. Student tuition and fees are, notoriously, “hella high” – and rising. There’s no sense in which this is the “next” crusade. It’s ongoing.

That’s a shocking infographic.”

Rick Santorum:

I was just reading something last night from the state of California. And that the California universities – I think it’s seven or eight of the California system of universities don’t even teach an American history course. It’s not even available to be taught. Just to tell you how bad it’s gotten in this country, where we’re trying to disconnect the American people from the roots of who we are, so they have an understanding of what America should be.

I suppose that narrowly speaking, he might not be lying: he might have read “something … from the state of California” that said this. That something might of course have been scrawled in green crayon on a crumpled paper bag.

But there is certainly no substantial truth in this statement, especially the notion that either of the “California system[s] of universities” is “trying to disconnect the American people from the roots of who we are”.

Someone is trying to make Santorum look like a profoundly ignorant man.

I was able to find US history courses at the CSUs:

Bakersfield
Channel Islands
Chico
Dominguez Hills
East Bay
Fresno
Fullerton
Humboldt
Long Beach
Los Angeles
Maritime
Monterey Bay
Northridge
Pomona
Sacramento
San Bernardino
San Diego
San Francisco
San Jose
San Luis Obispo
San Marcos
Sonoma
Stanislaus

As for the UC’s:

Berkeley
Irvine
Los Angeles
Merced
Riverside
San Diego
Santa Barbara
Santa Cruz

Here at UC Davis, of course, American history is part of the General Education requirement of all students.

And UCSF is of course exclusively a medical school. But even it offers a history of Psychiatry in the United States as part of its History of Health Sciences program.

Spoiled for quadrangles by my past college experience, I could not help note on first study that the quad at UC Davis has no campanile or carillon; its clock chimes come from some hidden electronic facsimile. Its oldest buildings are the prosaically named North and South Hall, of 1908-12 vintage; most of what surrounds it are hunkering mid-century hit-or-miss structures.
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UPDATE: Berkeley’s Academic Senate has amended its proposed resolution to exclude the “no confidence” provision.

Further on up the road, at Berkeley, Michael O’Hare has these things to say about Occupy in the context of the Academic Senate taking up a resolution of no confidence in the Chancellor there.
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I’ve been listening to The Now Show on BBC Radio 4 since it began, which happened to be the first autumn I lived in England. Devoted readers of this blog will remember the time Mitch Benn showed up here, much to my delight.

So it was with mixed feelings I discovered that this week was the first time UC Davis cleared the Now Show threshold (in Josie Long’s bit, starting at 21:21).

To be honest, not so mixed: mostly deep unhappiness; this is also the first week I’ve seen UC Davis show up in a BBC headline. After all this time, with so many people working so hard to get UC Davis identified with serious research, this is what puts the campus on the international radar.

Average annual tuition and fees for California resident undergraduates at the UC.

Source.

David Simpson of the UC Davis English Department (you know, that English Department) in the London Review of Books blog.

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No, seriously.

John Quiggin writes about Chancellor Katehi’s role in the legacy of November 17, 1973.

Among the legacies of the uprising was a university asylum law that restricted the ability of police to enter university campuses. University asylum was abolished a few months ago, as part of a process aimed at suppressing anti-austerity demonstrations. The abolition law was based on the recommendatiions of an expert committee, which reported a few months ago….
Fortunately, my friend has translated the key recommendations

University campuses are unsafe. While the [Greek] Constitution permits the university leadership to protect campuses from elements inciting political instability, Rectors have shown themselves unwilling to exercise these rights and fulfill their responsibilities, and to take the decisions needed in order to guarantee the safety of the faculty, staff, and students. As a result, the university administration and teaching staff have not proven themselves good stewards of the facilities with which society has entrusted them.

The politicizing of universities – and in particular, of students – represents participation in the political process that exceeds the bounds of logic. This contributes to the rapid deterioration of tertiary education.

Among the authors of this report – Chancellor Linda Katehi, UC Davis. And, to add to the irony, Katehi was a student at Athens Polytechnic in 1973.

Nick Perrone is a PhD candidate in the Department of History at UC Davis. This is the speech that he gave on the Quad earlier today.

My name is Nick Perrone and I am a graduate student in the history department here at UC Davis. I am also the recording secretary for the UAW Local 2865, the union that represents the majority of graduate student employees across the UC system. So I am a student here, I am a worker here, and I am a union representative for my colleagues across campus, and I want to make a couple quick points.

First of all, the movement to occupy the Quad here at UC Davis is not an attempt to replicate Occupy Wall Street or any other movement. Students here at UC Davis and at universities across the country have been occupying administrative buildings and open spaces in response to injustices both on and off university campuses for decades. Chancellor Katehi has worked hard to try and characterize this current occupation as being influenced by “non-UC Davis affiliated individuals.” Let me be clear, THIS IS OUR MOVEMENT. Look around you, these are UC Davis students, faculty members and workers. Chancellor Katehi, just because our movement is growing, that does not mean that it must be the result of some outside influence, some “rogue element”. You and the regents that you work for have provided the fuel that drives the movement that you see today.

The second point that I want to make is that the police brutality we have witnessed over the past two weeks at Cal State Long Beach, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis is only a symptom of the privatization of these universities. Chancellors Katehi and Birgeneau want safe and inviting spaces on campus, but not for students, for private companies and corporations. When they suppress dissent on our campuses it is in the interest of privatization and clearly not student safety. We must be careful not to treat the symptom alone, but attack the disease itself, the disease of privatization.

Chancellor Katehi, we will not allow you, President Yudoff, the regents or anyone else to strangle the students at this university with debt and mediocrity while you simultaneously direct police to suffocate any remaining dissent. It is clear to us that you are no longer an advocate, you are no longer an ally. We need a chancellor who will stand with students against police violence. Our struggle is not your struggle. We want the rich to pay their fair share. We want to lower tuition, not raise it. We want to end the privatization of our university. And we want to stop the use of police to remove peaceful protesters on college campuses. Chancellor Katehi, you have lost the confidence of the students, the faculty and the workers on this campus and it’s time for you to go.

Sometimes you learn from your students rather than teaching them.

Everything happens in Time.
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Some notes and photos from today’s demonstration on the UC Davis quad.
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Chancellor Katehi on Good Morning America:

I don’t feel GMA wants to do the Chancellor any favors.

Cathy Davidson makes excellent points about the UC Davis situation and how higher education should respond in general:

I keep hearing the arguments that universities have to call in the police to protect the students, that the Occupy encampments are unsanitary, unsafe, and insecure. That’s almost comical when you teach at Duke where “tenting” is one of our most venerable student traditions. A tent-city called K-Ville has been thriving since 1986. Krzyzewskiville (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Krzyzewskiville) is an encampment of students staying in tents, in winter, for weeks at time in order not to lose priority getting into Duke basketball games. Read the rest of this entry »

If you want to know why tuitions at American universities are rising, don’t look at the likes of me: faculty compensation isn’t going up. Felix Salmon explains what you might guess:

spending on faculty compensation is never more than 40% of total spending, and “has remained steady or decreased slightly over time”. Then have a look at the numbers.

Overall, if we exclude for-profit schools, which were a tiny part of the landscape in 1999, we have seen tuition fees rise by 32% between 1999 and 2009. Over the same period, instruction costs rose just 5.6% — the lowest rate of inflation of any of the components of education services. (“Student services costs” and “operations and maintenance costs” saw the greatest inflation, at 15.2% and 18.1% respectively, but even that is only half the rate that tuition increased.)

The real reason why tuition has been rising so much has nothing to do with Baumol, and everything to do with the government. Page 31 of the report is quite clear: “except for private research institutions,” it says, “tuitions were increasing almost exclusively to replace losses from state revenues or other private revenue sources.”

In other words, tuition costs are going up just because state subsidies are going down. Every time there’s a state fiscal crisis, subsidies get cut; once cut, they never get reinstated. And so the proportion of the cost of college which is borne by the student has been rising steadily for decades.

This is a better video of Chancellor Katehi exiting a campus building after her impromptu press conference yesterday. I post this not only to highlight, once again, the extraordinary discipline of the students, but also to share this letter, “Why I walked Chancellor Katehi out of Surge II tonight”. The letter was written and posted to Facebook by Reverend Kristin Stoneking, the director of CA House. Kristin is the woman you see walking with the chancellor in the video above.

At 5pm, as my family and I left Davis so that I could attend the American Academy of Religion annual meetings in San Francisco, I received a call from Assistant Vice Chancellor Griselda Castro informing me that she, Chancellor Katehi and others were trapped inside Surge II. She asked if I could mediate between students and administration. I was reluctant; I had already missed a piece of the meetings due to commitments in Davis and didn’t want to miss any more. I called a student (intentionally not named here) and learned that students were surrounding the building but had committed to a peaceful, silent exit for those inside and had created a clear walkway to the street. We turned the car around and headed back to Davis.

When I arrived, there was a walkway out of the building set up, lined on both sides by about 300 students. The students were organized and peaceful. I was cleared to enter the building along with a student who is a part of CA House and has been part of the Occupy movement on campus since the beginning. He, too, was reluctant, but not because he had somewhere else to be. For any student to act as a spokesperson or leader is inconsistent with the ethos the Occupy movement. He entered as an individual seeking peace and resolution, not as a representative of the students, and was clear that he had called for and would continue to call for Chancellor Katehi’s resignation.

Once inside, and through over an hour of conversation, we learned the following:

– The Chancellor had made a commitment that police would not be called in this situation

– Though the message had been received inside the building that students were offering a peaceful exit, there was a concern that not everyone would hold to this commitment

– The Chancellor had committed to talk with students personally and respond to concerns at the rally on Monday on the quad

– The student assistants to the Chancellor had organized another forum on Tuesday for the Chancellor to dialogue directly with students

What we felt couldn’t be compromised on was the students’ desire to see and be seen by the Chancellor. Any exit without face to face contact was unacceptable. She was willing to do this. We reached agreement that the students would move to one side of the walkway and sit down as a show of commitment to nonviolence.

Before we left, the Chancellor was asked to view a video of the student who was with me being pepper sprayed. She immediately agreed. Then, he and I witnessed her witnessing eight minutes of the violence that occurred Friday. Like a recurring nightmare, the horrific scene and the cries of “You don’t have to do this!” and students choking and screaming rolled again. The student and I then left the building and using the human mike, students were informed that a request had been made that they move to one side and sit down so that the Chancellor could exit. They immediately complied, though I believe she could have left peacefully even without this concession.

I returned to the building and walked with the Chancellor down the human walkway to her car. Students remained silent and seated the entire way.

What was clear to me was that once again, the students’ willingness to show restraint kept us from spiraling into a cycle of violence upon violence. There was no credible threat to the Chancellor, only a perceived one. The situation was not hostile. And what was also clear to me is that whether they admit it or not, the administrators that were inside the building are afraid. And exhausted. And human. And the suffering that has been inflicted is real. The pain present as the three of us watched the video of students being pepper sprayed was palpable. A society is only truly free when all persons take responsibility for their actions; it is only upon taking responsibility that healing can come.

Why did I walk the Chancellor to her car? Because I believe in the humanity of all persons. Because I believe that people should be assisted when they are afraid. Because I believe that in showing compassion we embrace a nonviolent way of life that emanates to those whom we refuse to see as enemies and in turn leads to the change that we all seek. I am well aware that my actions were looked on with suspicion by some tonight, but I trust that those seeking a nonviolent solution will know that “just means lead to just ends” and my actions offered dignity not harm.

The Chancellor was not trapped in Surge II tonight, but, in a larger sense, we are all in danger of being trapped. We are trapped when we assent to a culture that for decades, and particularly since 9/11, has allowed law enforcement to have more and more power which has moved us into an era of hypercriminalization. We are trapped when we envision no path to reconciliation. And we are trapped when we forget our own power. The students at UC Davis are to be commended for resisting that entrapment, using their own power nonviolently. I pray that the Chancellor will remember her own considerable power in making change on our campus, and in seeking healing and reconciliation.

Kristin’s courage and commitment to non-violence, coupled with the dignity of the protestors, serve as a reminder that the brutal tactics of the police are not the only inheritance we still have with us from the long and ongoing struggle for civil rights.

UC President Mark Yudof (the President is the head of the system of UC campuses) is “appalled,” and he is interested to know what these investigations will turn up. But he also wants to chat.

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.

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