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Monday, November 21, 2011

UC Davis Controversy

Warning: This video may be disturbing to some viewers.

So I'm sure many of you have heard about the incident that occurred at The University of California, Davis on November 18th. The video went viral on the internet after the incident occurred. Students at the college, in solidarity with the Occupy Wall Street protests going on around the country, were also protesting tuition hikes at the college and another incident of alleged police brutality that had occurred at the University of California, Berkeley on November 9th. Students had set up tents on the campus grounds during the protests, against campus policy. This is when the UC Chancellor Linda Katehi called in armed campus police officers.

Which is the first problem. After reading faculty member Nathan Brown's letter-which was extremely well-written, by the way-I was moved. There are multiple videos of this incident, and the actions of these officers is indefensible and heinous. Two of the officers have been suspended to this point, which is a good start, but there should be more to come, and I hope public pressure makes it so. Those who wield authority like these cops do and then exercise unnecessary power by spraying chemicals into the face of peaceful protesters as casually as someone waters their lawn need to be reevaluated. Immediately. 11 protesters had to receive medical treatment from this. Two were hospitalized. This wasn't some harmless slip.

The UC Davis Police Chief was also put on leave two days after the incident. After defending the officers in question. Annette Spicuzza, the chief, claimed that the officers had been circled and tried to leave but could not. Bullshit. Pure bullshit. I realize you have to defend your own, but do it without telling outright lies. Those officers could have left at any point. They're in riot helmets, for god's sake. Those kids were sitting, passively, with their arms linked. They could have walked around them. They could have disassembled the tents and left. None of this was warranted. One of the students was even shown coughing up blood after pepper spray was forced down his throat when he tried to close his eyes.

In the letter I referenced earlier from faculty member Nathan Brown, he calls for the immediate resignation of UC Davis Chancellor Linda Katehi. I applaud him fully for this. Mrs. Katehi, you need to go. In a statement, Mrs. Katehi said that ,"she takes full responsibility for the incident." But guess what? She's not resigning. Big surprise. Mrs. Katehi is going to fight like hell to hang on to that $400,000+ salary.

Mrs. Katehi, you clearly do not hold the opinion that the Davis Faculty Association holds, or that many of the students hold. Too bad. You are unfit to do your job. For the chancellor of a university that claims to uphold Constitutional rights, your actions imply that you do nothing but the opposite. You do not support free speech or the right to protest. Free speech and protest do not only apply for things you agree with and support, but for all things. Thus why America is great. Anyone has the right to voice their opinion and peacefully assemble, no matter how wrong or misinformed their opinion is. You took away these fundamental rights in the worst way, by calling in armed police to a peaceful student protest on your university. You are unfit to do your job and clearly do not hold the moral character needed for a university administrator. You hold up the Constitution and declare your praise and support. But when it comes right down to it, you do nothing but piss on it, to be frank. As the protesters said to the cops that day, I say to you. Shame on you.

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