As the a former ASUCD President and a proud UC Davis Alum, I am sickened and disturbed by what I witnessed happen to students on the UC Davis campus on Friday. During my tenure at UCD we had ample issues with UCPD; but under your direction, the treatment of students by police is the worst I’ve ever seen.
The essence of a non-violent protest is just that—non-violent. The health and safety of students was not at risk until you ordered the police to attack them. It is your actions, not those of the students, that created the harm.
As Chancellor, you have been entrusted to protect the students and ensure they have a safe environment. College campuses should be a safe space for expression of ones beliefs. UC Davis has struggled with community-police relations for years. Your efforts have reversed whatever progress that has been made through our tireless efforts. Hiding behind the so-called concerns of the parents who have entrusted their students to us, to ensure that all can live, learn and work in a safe and secure environment” seems misplaced, in that parents had nothing to worry about until you ordered their children attacked. If anything, parents will now feel less secure in sending their children to UC Davis knowing that if—gasp—they speak out and take action—the Chancellor will condone such brutal treatment.
Whether or not you requested that the students remove their encampment is immaterial to the amount of force used. Ordering that students be pepper-sprayed and allowing officers to force the spray down their throats is beyond reason.
Not only did your actions violate the constitutional rights of the students, they violated the peace-of-mind all students should have on their campus. The quad was a safe place to express idea, debate the issues, and engage with fellow students on many levels. It is the home of some of our most famous celebrations, including Multi-Cultural Week, Picnic Day, and Diversity Days. What you have done has turned this symbol of student freedom and expression into a nationally recognized symbol of police brutality and suffering. The nation’s introduction to the UC Davis quad could not be less appealing. You have marred the reputation of our campus in the eyes of the students, their parents, the Davis community, and the entire United States of America.
You were a questionable choice for Chancellor to begin with. It’s obvious today that the selection committee made a mistake. And for that, the students have suffered.
I stand with the calls for your resignation, and I hope your immediate exit will partially remove the foul stench associated with the campus that was produce by your pepper-spray and the blood and tears of the students.
I hope you will resign immediately.
UC Davis, Class of 2006
ASUCD President, ‘05-‘06